October 26

This Day in History

Vietnam War

Oct 26, 1966:

Fire breaks out on U.S. aircraft carrier

A fire breaks out on board the 42,000-ton U.S. aircraft carrier Oriskany in the Gulf of Tonkin. The accident occurred when a locker filled with night illumination magnesium flares burst into flame. The fire spread quickly through most of the ship, resulting in 35 officers and eight enlisted men killed and a further 16 injured. The loss of life would have been much higher except for the valor of crewmen who pushed 300 500-pound, 1,000-pound, and 2,000-pound bombs that lay within reach of the flames on the hangar deck overboard. The fire destroyed four fighter-bombers and two helicopters, but it was brought under control after three hours. The fallen were returned to the United States for burial.

Also on this day: President Lyndon Johnson flies to South Vietnam after attending a meeting in Manila for a surprise two-and-a-half-hour visit with U.S. troops at Cam Ranh.

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