USS Intrepid Former Crew Member UPDATE

Intrepid Former Crew Member
Decommissioning Ceremony Invitation
Invitation to the decommissioning ceremony of the USS Intrepid. (Collection of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Gift of Charlie Kampton.)
Dear Former Crew Member,
Forty years ago — on March 15, 1974—the crew of Intrepid gathered on the hangar deck to mark a historic occasion: the ship’s decommissioning. The ceremony at Naval Air Station Quonset Point, Rhode Island, marked the end of Intrepid’s three-decade naval career. The ship’s last commanding officer, Lee Levenson, praised the men who served on board the ship over the past three decades. Intrepid’s commissioning pennant was lowered, and the crew of nearly 700 men—far fewer than the 3,000-plus of a typical World War II crew—left their ship for the last time.Intrepid was one of 24 ships of the Essex class. While frequent modernizations extended their lifespans, these vessels became outdated by the 1960s. A number of Essex-class carriers served during the Vietnam War, but they could not handle the U.S. Navy’s most modern aircraft, such as the F-4 Phantom. As newer, larger aircraft carriers joined the U.S. Navy fleet, the Navy began to retire its Essex-class ships in the late 1960s. Intrepid was one of the last Essex-class carriers to leave active service.Most Essex-class ships were scrapped, but—as you well know—Intrepid avoided that fate. After the ship’s decommissioning, Intrepid joined the reserve fleet in Philadelphia. In 1975-76, Intrepid was a highlight of the U.S. Navy’s bicentennial celebrations in Philadelphia. New York City developer and philanthropist Zachary Fisher spearheaded a campaign to save Intrepid, and the ship opened as a museum in 1982. Intrepid is one of only four Essex-class ships that survived, all of which are preserved as museums.

And it is not only the ship that has been preserved—it is also the history of those who served aboard. As a result, the Museum is always looking for memorabilia and artifacts relating to Intrepid. There is a significant lack of artifacts—including photographs—relating to the ship’s final years of service, and we would love to hear from anyone who has kept anything from that time period. The Museum is also always keen to discover first-hand accounts from all periods of Intrepid’s service, through personal letters or diaries kept while on board. You never know how these objects might shed light onto a previously unknown piece of Intrepid’s history. If you have anything you’d like to share, we encourage you to reach out to Rachel Herman, Collections Manager, at or 646-381-5235.

Commemorative coin
Commemorative coin from Intrepid’s decommissioning. (Collection of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Gift of R.K. Zimmerman.)
Intrepid’s storied journey from the Norfolk Navy Yard to the west side of Manhattan is one that no one could have predicted, and we thank you for all that you do to continue the legacy of this great ship. Though Intrepid’s years of active duty are now 40 years behind us, we look forward to continuing the ship’s service as an educational institution for generations to come.

JW signatureJessica Williams
Curator of History
CG signatureCarly Goettel
Director of Institutional Advancement
Commemorative coin
Intrepid Logo
Intrepid Museum | Pier 86 | W 46th St and 12th Ave | New York NY, 10036

If any former crew member would like to be added to the Director of Institutional Advancement’s email list,

just send your request to Ms Carly Goettel at


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