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The Tailhook Educational Foundation

2017 Scholarships

Brendan Switts

Brendan Switts


The generous donations from Hook 2007 Reunion Attendees and The Gold Wings Foundation

Sponsored by

Awarded To

Brendan Switts

Chesapeake, Virginia

Scholarship Description

Sponsored by generous donations from Hook 2007 Attendees and The Gold Wings Foundation Nicknamed “Mighty O”, and occasionally referred to as the“O-boat, USS.”, USS Oriskany was one of the few Essex-class aircraft carriers completed after WW II for the United States Navy. The ship was named for the Battle of Oriskany during the Revolutionary War. Originally designed as a “long-hulled” Essex-class ship (considered by authorities to be a separate class, the Ticonderoga class), she eventually was commissioned in 1950 after conversion to an updated design called SCB-27 (“27-Charlie”), which became the template for modernizing 14 other Essex-class ships. Oriskany was the final Essex-class ship completed. She operated primarily in the Pacific into the 1970s, earning 2 battle stars for service in the Korean War, and 5 for service in the Vietnam War. In 1966 one of the worst shipboard fires since World War II broke out on Oriskany when a magnesium flare was accidentally ignited; 44 men died in the fire. Decommissioned in 1976, she was sold in 1995, but was repossessed in 1997. In 2004 it was decided to sink her as an artificial reef off the coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. In May 2006, she was finally sunk settling in an upright position at a depth accessible to recreational divers. Oriskany has been featured in films such as ’Men of the Fighting Lady‚ and ’The Bridges at Toko-Ri‚ from 1954 and ’What Dreams May Come‚ (1998).

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