I posted either on this thread or another about how shipboard fires were handled by enlisted rather than officers. I just did a look up. Five officers died that day including CMDR White whose plane was hit & the rest were enlisted. http://www.virtualwall.org/units/forrestal.htm The ORANSKY fire was about 75% officers but a very different cause and type of fire. I suspect their location when explosion hit had a lot to do with a high count. A fireball went through Officers Country https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Oriskany_fire. If a person reads about the Enterprise fire they might see what looks to me like events got combined and twisted erroneously into the Forestall tragedy as both involved Zuni’s.
I finally found Enterprise death info. Three officers were lost of 28 crewmembers. http://www.gendisasters.com/hawaii/13475/pearl-harbor-hi-uss-enterprise-fire-jan-1969?page=0,2 I really think persons blaming McCain about Forestall should read about Enterprise fire.
True the way I remember it...Damage control parties were all enlisted IIRC.
The Oriskany fire was awful. If there was ever an object lesson in just how mundane shipboard life can go from mundane to hair-raising, that would be it. One can easily imagine the young guy throwing the flare back into the compartment in panic. Probably seemed like a reasonable thing to do in the moment.
Funny, I know a lot about the Forrestal and Oriskany fires, but for some reason, I have never got around to learning much about the Enterprise fire. I can see how some would conflate the Forrestal and Enterprise fires.