Intrepid Commanding Officer – J. F. Bolger

An Educational Venue

 for former U.S.S. Intrepid (CV, CVA, CVS-11) Crewmembers

Chapter XIII

Intrepid Commanding Officer

Capt. Joseph F. Bolger (Vice Admiral (Ret) – May 30, 1944 – Feb 15, 1945



Joseph Francis Bolger was born in Adams, Massachusetts on May 25, 1898. He attended the U.S. Naval Academy in 1917 as a Midshipman. He graduated U.S. Naval Academy in 1920, commissioned Ensign on June 3, 1920, class of 1921 (one year early due to the World War).  He was designated Naval Aviator (Ltjg) #3150 in 1924.

He had World War I service during the summer of 1918 aboard the USS Wisconsin. Commissioned Ensign on June 3, 1920, he subsequently advanced in rank to that of Rear Admiral. On September 1, 1953 he was transferred to the Retired List of the U.S. Navy and was advance to the rank of Vice Admiral on the basis of combat awards.

He served consecutive duty aboard the Black Hawk, McCook and Charles Ausburne, being detached from the latter vessel in 1923 for instruction at the Naval Torpedo Station, Newport. In February 1924 he began flight training at NAS, Pensacola, and was designated Naval Aviator on August 1, 1924. In November 1924 he was assigned to Torpedo and Bombing Plane Squadron 1, attached to Wright Field.

Between May-November 1926 he was assigned to the staff of the Commander Aircraft Squadrons, Scouting Fleet, Wright flagship. For three years he worked with experimental aircraft torpedoes at Naval Torpedo Station, Newport. In September 1919 he joined Torpedo Squadron 9-S, attached to Wright and served there until May 1931. He next was assigned to NAS, Anacostia, doing flight test work.


In June 1934 he joined Scouting Squadron 3-B aboard the USS Lexington and commanded it until June 1936. He was then transferred to command of Scouting Squadron 11 aboard the USS Louisville and later aboard the USS Minneapolis. He returned to NAS, Anacostia, in June 1937 as Flight Officer, and in June 1939 became Commanding Officer of Observation Squadron 4 aboard the USS West Virginia.

In January 1940 he was Staff Air Officer for Commander Battle Force, Fleet, California, flagship; and in February 1941 reported as Staff Operations Officer for Commander Aircraft, Scouting Force.

From May to October 1942 he was Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander Replacement Patrol Squadrons, Pacific Fleet. He then reported as Aide to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air, Washington, DC. He assumed command of the USS Intrepid on May 30, 1944 during World War II, earning two Navy Crosses.

Detached from command of the Intrepid, he assumed command on the USS Midway on September 19, 1945. In December, he reported as Commander Fleet Air Wing 1.

In August 1946 he was ordered to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air), Washington, DC, and in November was designated Chief of the Aviation Personnel SubDivision of that Office. He reported in October, 1948 as Chief of the Joint Planning Staff, Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces, Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean, and served as such until April 1951, when he became Assistant Chief of Naval Operations (Air). In October 1951 he was designated Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel and Assistant to the Chief of the Bureau of Naval Personnel, and served as such until his retirement.

Following the war, he was the commissioning commanding officer of the new large fleet carrier USS Midway (CVB-41).  He retired in 1953, with the rank of Vice Admiral.

He died on January 21, 1985 and was buried on January 23rd in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 6, Site 9208-A.



This Educational Venue is for former Intrepid Crewmembers

who served …’with pride and dedication’

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