On July 29th, 1967, the USS Forrestall (CV59), a United States Navy carrier, had a major fire off the coast of North Vietnam, killing 134 crewmen and injuring 62. The deck camera footage is required viewing when you attend Fire Fighting school on the 32nd Street Naval Base in San Diego, CA.

To this day, some folks offhandedly refer to the Forrestall as the Forest Fire. When I first saw the deck footage in class, it left me with a sick feeling in my stomach. In one scene, you could see a group of men running towards the fire with charged firehoses when several 500-pound bombs cook off. After the flash, all you see are the hoses flailing wildly. The personnel have just vanished in less than a tenth of a second.

I personally avoid the title Forest Fire out of respect for those that died, but a lot of naval personnel still use it. Hopefully some of those folks will think twice about using the term, if only in deference to those shipmates that didn't make it home.