The Forrestal Fire
The missile accident on the Galactica was a reference to the tragic accident aboard the USS Forrestal on July 29, 1967. While stationed in the Gulf of Tonkin, the planes of Attack Carrier Air Wing 17 had flown 150 missions against targets in North Vietnam over a four-day period. At about 10:50 a.m. (local time) on July 29, a Zuni rocket accidentally fired from an F-4 Phantom II, striking the fuel tank of an A-4D Skyhawk preparing for launch. (The Skyhawk was piloted by Lt. Cmdr. John McCain, the future U.S. senator and Republican presidential candidate.) Leaking fuel on the deck set off several subsequent explosions. Burning jet fuel poured into the interior of the ship. The deck fire was contained by 11:47 a.m. The interior fires continued to burn until 12:20 a.m. on July 30. The accident resulted in the deaths of 132 crewmen, 62 more injured, and two missing and presumed dead.
After the fire, the Navy emphasized fire fighting and fire prevention. Video footage from the accident was incorporated into basic training. Co-executive producer Ronald Moore watched the video as part of his training when he was enrolled in Navy ROTC as a student at Cornell University.