LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — An aircraft carrier used in “Top Gun” may face a final voyage to the scrap yard if a local group’s last-ditch effort to save it sinks.
Built in 1957, the USS Ranger served the United States in the Vietnam and Gulf wars, as well as several humanitarian missions.
The 56,000-ton ship is was decommissioned by the Navy in 1993 and is now scheduled to be towed from a Washington state storage yard to Texas to be scrapped.
A petition, posted on Change.org by Top Gun Super Carrier of Long Beach, is asking the Navy, Naval Sea Systems Command and President Barack Obama to save the ship.
They want the carrier’s final journey to be to the Port of Long Beach where it would join the USS Iowa as a tourist attraction.
“Right now, we just want a stay of execution,” said Michael B. Shanahan, AIA. “As a brand new team charged with repurposing the USS Ranger, we want to work with Navy, NAVSEA and City of Long Beach for the best possible outcome. We know that saving the USS Ranger would have significantly more far-reaching economic, historic and social benefits than scrapping it. This is our last chance to stop the loss of an irreplaceable cultural and historic asset.”
To date, the petition has more than 550 online signatures, including many from former sailors who stationed on the ship. A total of 1,000 are needed.
“I served on her. Don’t want to see her destroyed,” Terry Francis of Covington, Kentucky wrote.
“My father served on the Ranger, and I took a tiger cruise from Hawaii to San Diego. The Ranger inspired me to become a pilot, it can inspire lots of young people to pursue the thousands of career paths this ship represents. Let’s make her a Museum,” said Vincent Amman of Van Nuys.
Top Gun Super Carrier has raised $14 million in committed funds for the project and has told they Navy the will pay the $200,000 in annual costs to maintain the ship until a plan is figured out, the Long Beach Post reported.