Fire, Fire, Fire on the Flight Deck Aft; This Is Not a Drill

TITLE: Fire, Fire, Fire on the Flight Deck Aft; This Is Not a Drill: An Inconceivable Story of Brave Men Battling Raging Fires and High-Order Explosions to … and the World’s First Super Aircraft Carrier
AUTHOR: Kenneth V. Killmeyer
PUBLISHER: Authorhouse
ISBN-10: 1546248587
ISBN-13: 978-1546248583
GENRE: Non-Fiction
PAGES: 898

The only thing I could think about when reading this book was the bravery the crew members of the Forrestal showed after the tragedy. An inferno occurred aboard the aircraft carrier USS Forrestal because of an electrical fault. The fire was huge and caused a lot of panic and losses. Over 100 people died in the fire and more injured. This book tells the story of victims of the 1967 USS Forrestal fire, how their lives were pre the accident and how things changed for some.
The author starts from the beginning. He introduces us to the ship Forrestal and shares a few fun facts. The author stated that USS Forrestal was the largest ship to ever be constructed in 1955. The ship was built to operate jet aircrafts of the atomic age. It was designed in a modern way and even labeled the pride of the United States Navy. It would protect the country both at home and overseas. I enjoyed reading about the missions USS Forrestal went to. The author wrote about them, with dates, and clearly indicated why each was important. The author also wrote about the training they went through, and how Navy officials and crew members are ranked. When reading through, I imagined myself on board the world’s first super aircraft carrier on her combat mission. I pictured Kenneth and his shipmates go about their duties. I could see the passion and joy they shared as they worked.
I like the author’s writing style. Kenneth Killmeyer was a crew member during the naval disaster, and he was able to document his and other members’ experiences when the accident happened. This book mostly tells a sad story. There is nothing as sad as reading about a historical tragedy which had as many casualties as USS Forrestal fire. I broke down several times while reading the book because I could not imagine the pain everyone went through.
This book is a tribute to everyone who was on board the USS Forrestal on that fateful day. By piecing information from different crew members together, Kenneth V. Killmeyer ensured that the victims’ stories would not be forgotten. I love how the survivors didn’t want to be identified as heroes. Everyone who shared their story made me emotional. Through this book, I got an insight into how ships get to be assigned to missions and the good work the Navy does for the country. I appreciate the author for taking his time and using his resources to write a good book.
I commend Kenneth V. Killmeyer for how he approached his colleagues to narrate their stories. I was touched that some of them told him things that they had never shared with even the closest family members. The author has a good listening ear and an empathetic heart. He understands what such a tragedy can do to one’s mental condition, and knows how to gather vital information. This book was such a great read.

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