USS Intrepid CV-11 – History

USS Intrepid CV-11 – History

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Intrepid Remembered

A Website for former USS Intrepid (CV-11) Crewmembers (FCMs)

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Major Steam Casualty Incident

USS Intrepid (CVA-11) Major Steam Casualty Incident

of 25 April, 1961 as remembered by:

Former crew member, YN2, David E. Benedict, USN, “R” Division,

Leading Yeoman of the Engineering Department

   I reported aboard the Intrepid in October 1958 and transferred in July 1961. My initial assignment in the Engineering Department was “B” Division, No. 2 Fire Room. I worked in the Fire Room for a short while when I was asked to become a Log Room Yeoman, replacing a Yeoman for the Damage Control Assistant. I was given a typing test, filing skills test, etc. and interviewed by LCDR T.E. Craig, USN, the DCA. It turned out in my favor as I was now out of the Fire Room. I was Seaman in late 1958 and left in July 1961 as a YN2. I was reassigned to “R” Division for mustering purposes when I left the fire Room.

The events of 25 April 1961 began at 1817 hours as entered into the ship’s Deck Log as “Casualty in number two (2) fireroom”. The ship was in the Virginia Capes Operating Area conducting flight ops and recovering aircraft at the time. The incident was caused by a broken shaft from the main feed pump which caused additional damage to other components in the fire room.

A 600 psi steam line carrying 850 degree superheated steam ruptured that led to multiple steam casualties. The hatch on the 3rd deck going into No. 2 Fire Room was open at this time and this was the path for the steam to rise to the decks above the fire room. I was in the Log Room when the incident occurred, as were several other Log Room yeomen and a few others from the Engineering Department. As soon as the steam built up in our area I escorted some of the new yeoman out of the Log Room (on our hands and knees) to the hangar areas on the main deck. I went back to the Log Room and began removing five gallon foam cans from the passageway across from the Log Room for fear of them exploding. This area was near an opening about 12’ wide on the 2nd deck going to the 3rd deck where the hatch to No. 2 Fire Room was located, so we were in the path of this very hot steam.

Everyone on the 2nd deck near the Log Room were told to vacate and get to safe areas topside. On one of my trips into the passageway to retrieve the fog foam cans I heard a call for help.  I asked the shipmate in distress for his location and he responded “…in the Admin Office”.  I told the others that I was going to attempt to rescue this sailor.  I crawled on my hands and knees, past the 12’ opening and into the Admin Office and found a shipmate behind a desk. I half dragged him out and as we got in front of the 12’ opening he stood and I stood up too to pull him back down. SN Skousgard was the shipmate I saved that night and he received 2nd and 3rd degree burns. I suffered 1st degree burns, seam inhalation and heat exhaustion. There were a total of 12 crew members injured as a result of this incident – all admitted to sick bay, treated and remained overnight for observation, perhaps some transferred to Portsmouth Naval Hospital, while the rest of us were returned to duty the following day, the 26th after being released from sick bay.

YN3 Francis Krhovsky was one of the Log Room Yeomen and he took over my GQ station in Main Engine Control and he told me he remembers watching the paint peeling off the bulkhead between Main Control and No. 2 Fire Room and thinking that here were probably some shipmates who sustained injuries during this incident…We had a real hot time that night! By the time the 850 degree steam reached us on the 2nd deck it had to be at least 300-500 degrees.

I went back to the Log Room and I couldn’t believe the mess I saw inside our office space. All the deck tiles had popped off the deck (as did the surrounding area offices and passageways), water filled paint bags were hanging from the overhead and vent ducts. We cleaned up the mess and the “R” Division personnel came in and retiled our decks and repainted our Log Room. In a matter of days we looked great again.

On 20 Sept 1961, Captain J.L. Abbot, Jr., USN, our Commanding Officer, signed a Letter of Commendation addressed to me for my actions during this incident. It was presented to me on 13 Oct 1961 at my new duty station in New York City.

I remained in the Navy until 30 June 1975 when I transferred to the Fleet Reserve after completing 20 years active service.  I retired a Chief Yeoman.  Prior to my Naval career I served in the Army first with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC and then with the 7th Infantry Division in South Korea.

FCM David Benedict, YNC (Ret)



12 Men Hurt As 2 Carriers Are Damaged:

NORFOLK, VA. (AP) – an aircraft carrier and a Navy ammunition ship collided in the Caribbean yesterday and a boiler blew up aboard a 2nd carrier off the Virginia coast Tuesday, the Navy said…(No date(s) were provided with this information that came to this editor). Twelve men were injured in the two accidents.

The ammunition ship USS Diamond Head and the carrier USS Independence collided while replenishing, causing extensive damage to the Diamond Head. Crewmen quickly confined damage on the Diamond Head. Crewmen extinguished a fire in the ship’s forecastle and the forward magazine was flooded.

A 20-ft long hole was punched in the Diamond Head’s right side 12 ft above the waterline. One crewman received minor injuries. The ship proceeded to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the Independence resumed operations. No one was injured aboard the Independence.

The boiler ruptured aboard the carrier USS Intrepid Tuesday, the Navy said, injuring 11 men. One man, Airman Steven J. Yhlean of Blue Island, Ill., suffered serious burns. Three others were hospitalized and seven were treated.

A Navy spokesman said the accident occurred in the No 2 fire room when a shaft broke in a water pump feeding the boiler. The feed pump disintegrated, scattering metal parts, some of which broke the boiler casting.

The Intrepid was en rout from Norfolk for sea operations. A spokesman said it would not be necessary for the ship to enter a shipyard for repairs.”

Article submitted by FCM Joseph Salinarco, V-3 Division, 1959-1963

Let Us Not Forget Those Who Have Gone Before Us


As a proud former crew member of the WWII/Vietnam era U.S.S. Intrepid (CV-11), I want to mention that I recently unearthed, by way of the Internet, some very interesting information regarding the actual first (1st) Intrepid (1804) and her crew.

I hope to provide in proper order the story of ‘The INTREPID 13’ as follows:


The first INTREPID was a bomb ketch armed with four guns of unknown size. She had a length of 60′, a beam of 12′ and displaced 64 tons. Built in France in 1798 for Napoleon’s Egyptian expedition, she was subsequently sold to Tripoli and renamed MASTICO.

The MASTICO was one of several Tripolitan vessels which captured the frigate PHILADELPHIA on 31 October 1803 after running fast aground on the uncharted Kaliusa reef about five miles east of Tripoli. On 23 December 1803k while enroute from Tripoli to Constantinople, the MASTICO was taken as a prize by the schooner ENTERPRISE and frigate CONSTITUTION and renamed INTREPID.

In February 1804 the INTREPID, in company with the brig SIREN, set out to destroy the PHILADELPHIA before the Tripolitans could fit her out for use against the U.S. squadron in the Mediterranean. At 1900 hours on the evening of 16 February the INTREPID entered the harbor at Tripoli while the SIREN took up station outside the harbor to stand by for rescue or assistance.

Since the INTREPID could pass as a North African vessel, she was able to enter the4 haror unnoticed and two and a half hours later she was alongside the frigate PHILADELPHIA. The Americans, under the command of Stephen Decatur, boarded and, after a brief struggle with cutlasses and scimitars ( a backsword or sabre with a curved blade ), gained control of the frigate. The PHILADELPHIA was set ablaze and the INTREPID managed to escape during the confusion.

Because the INTREPID was able to enter the harbor at Tripoli with relative ease, the commander of the American squadron, Edward prele, decided to outfit her as a fire ship. The plan was to send the INTREPID into the harbor in the midst of the corsair fleet. The men were to set fuses and evacuate the ship where she would be blown up close under the walls of Tripoli. Conversion work was completed on 1 September and on the evening of 4 September the INTREPID, with a volunteer crew of three officers and ten men under the command of Lt. Richard Somers, entered the harbor at Tripoli. At 2130 hours, sometime before expeced, there waa a violent explosion which destroyed the INTREPID.

Commodore Preble reasoned that the Tripolitans must have suspected and boarded the INTREPID prompting the crew to blow her up to prevent the Tripolitans from seizing the valuable powder and explosives. All on board were lost.

Moving forward to the 21th century:

Families to U.S. Navy: Reconsider Intrepid Repatriation


Guest Post by William Wadsworth and Dean Somers
Mr. Wadsworth is a state representative in Connecticut and a relation of Henry Wadsworth who was killed on board the USS Intrepid in 1804. Mr. Somers is a resident of Somers Point, New Jersey and a relation of Richard Somers, also killed on the Intrepid.

This week, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives is discussing an amendment that requires the Department of Defense to repatriate the remains of 13 sailors of the USS Intrepidburied in Libyan mass graves. When passed, the U.S. Navy’s first heroes would be brought home.

One of those heroes is Master Commander Richard Somers, who hailed from the humble seaside city of Somers Point, New Jersey. Another is Lieutenant Henry Wadsworth of early Massachusetts, uncle to poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Both are celebrated forbears of our families, and we have worked to bring our ancestors home for 207 years.

For two centuries the Navy has opposed repatriating its earliest heroes. Today, it has been quietly lobbying Congress to stop our contemporary effort. Its arguments against repatriation are incorrect and no excuse for leaving these heroes interred unceremoniously on the shore of Tripoli.

The Pentagon insists the Navy did not follow the “no man left behind” policy in the 18th and 19th centuries. Instead, casualties were buried at sea. In fact, Somers and his men were not buried at sea. Their bodies washed ashore after their ketch exploded in Tripoli harbor on 4 September 1804. They were then dragged through the streets, fed to a pack of wild dogs and then recovered, identified, and buried. American prisoners of war they were fighting to free had been forced at gunpoint to dig two mass graves.

Clearly, our ancestors did not receive an honorable burial.

The Navy also claims the graves of these heroes in Tripoli are similar to American military cemeteries at Flanders, Normandy, or Tunisia, where thousands of Americans are buried under rows of white crosses and flags. These pristine cemeteries are owned by the United States government and maintained by the American Battlefield Monument Commission, which does not maintain the graves of the men of the Intrepid now buried at the Old Protestant Cemetery in Tripoli.

In fact, all evidence backs up historical indications that the remains of most of these great American heroes now lie together in that Tripolitan cemetery, where they are regarded as “American Invaders.” The cemetery is owned by Libya and was left squalid, untended, and in disrepair for over a century. Even though the collapsing walls of the place were recently shored up, we worry what will happen to their unkempt graves in the years ahead – and so should the Navy.

The families of servicemen killed during World War II were given a choice: their remains could be returned home or buried with their comrades. The Somers and Wadsworth families have continuously asked for the return of the remains of Richard, Henry, and their men. We found support among a large and growing bipartisan group of congressmen and senators not satisfied with the Navy’s position. The American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars also back our effort full-force.

Today, the families of the Intrepid heroes find hope in the House-Senate conference on the National Defense Authorization Act. We were thrilled in May when the House unanimously passed a bipartisan amendment to bring our family members home. Unfortunately, the Navy stepped up its lobbying efforts in the Senate to stop it dead.

In 2007, the U.S. Air Force quietly exhumed the bodies of 72 Americans from Tripoli’s Hammangi Cemetery and returned them to the United States. All but two were infants; all were unknown civilian relatives of American military stationed there in peacetime from 1958 to 1969. No family sought their repatriation. Still, they are home. Yet our brave sailors lie in anvil chorus.

The Navy’s case against repatriating our fallen heroes rings hollow, informed by outdated and incorrect research. We speak for the families of these sailors and plead for Admiral Greenert to reconsider the position he inherited. Instead of blocking our families’ request of two centuries, we ask the service to help honor the valorous service of the 13 heroes of the USS Intrepid and bring our boys home, at long last, for the respectful and dignified burial they earned on the shore of Tripoli.

Recently discovered information:

The Intrepid Project

Why did the Navy Commander leading the POW-MP office contact families of the original USS Intrepid in mocking emails and yet never identify herself?

Below are two emails sent by US Navy Commander Renee Richardson, head of the Department of Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel office – the operation in charge of repatriating the remains of US military combat fatalities – to the family of Master Commandant Richard Somers.

In the first email (2008), she never identified herself as being in the Navy. In the second email (2011), Richardson admitted she was in the Navy but never identified herself as head of the Department of Defense POW-MP office. She also got downright insulting to the families.

As one of the Navy’s foremost experts on repatriation, Richardson provides briefings on repatriation to superior officers and is a primary resource informing the Navy’s opposition to the Intrepid repatriation. The emails she sent to the Intrepid families exhibit that she is ill informed and incorrect – a reflection of the Navy’s lack of interest and contemporary information on the topic of the heroes of the USS Intrepid.

— EMAIL2 – 22JUN11 —

From: “Renee Richardson”
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 1:39:37 PM
Subject: Cost of HR 1479

Dear Mr. Gregory, Ms. Hastings and Mayor Glasser,

I watched with wonder as HR 1497 was approved. I am sure that all of you are very pleased. The information that abounds on the various websites dedicated to the mission of repatriation for the crew of INTREPID (lost 4 September 1804) is mostly right, but not completely. On your own site you should ask Mr. Kelly to properly annotate the chronology for the events below (taken from your site and presumably taken from his blog or his book):

“After decisively defeating the enemy in a number of skirmishes, Decatur sailed the Intripid [sic] into the harbor disguised as an Arab trader. He recaptured and sank the Philadelphia without firing a shot and without any casualties. Then Somers, with a dozen volunteers, reentered the harbor, having filled the Intripid [sic] with combustibles. Unfortunately, during the daring nighttime raid the Intrepid prematurely exploded in the harbor. The bodies of Somers and his crew washed ashore the following day and were buried in a nearby cemetery by prisoners from the Philadelphia. An unkempt memorial marks their graves.”

First this chronology suggests that the action taken by Decatur and that of Somers was within a similar time period. Decatur burned the frigate U.S.S. PHILADELPHIA in February of 1804, Somers failed fire-ship mission took place on September 4, 1804. Second the bodies were not buried in “a nearby cemetery.” Rather after being exposed todogs, the elements and the ire of Tripoli’s residents, Bashaw Yusuf Karamanli allowed the bodies to be buried in a communal grave area by some enlisted from PHILADELPHIA along with the Ship’s Surgeon, Dr. Cowley; all of whom were the Bashaw’s hostages.

Nowhere on the miscellaneous sites dedicated to this cause does anyone annotate the fact that in the 1790s and the 1800s the captive European slave population in Tripoli of people taken from pirated ships, was at a minimum (the ones whose names were officially recorded) 600 people. Most of them (unlike the surviving crewmembers from PHILADELPHIA), where never ransomed or returned to their native lands, rather they were worked to death and buried in the same communally designated area as the sailors from INTREPID.

Additionally the remains uncovered during construction by the Italian road crew in the 1930’s were not readily or properly identified as being Americans or from INTREPID. There is no evidence (except the political expediency of post WWII Relations) to suggest that the remains were not merely those of other unfortunate wretches who died in Tripoli. The only anecdotally evidence we have is from 1949, when it was in the best interest of the government of Tripoli to cement relations with the U.S., and suddenly those five unmarked graves are alleged to contain the remains of American sailors from INTREPID. Thus on April 2, 1949 during a ship visit by U.S.S. SPOKANE a memorial service was performed, a plaque erected and the graves marked as being those of sailors from INTREPID. The ceremony was attended by the Commanding Officer of SPOKANE, Captain William Marshall; Rear Admiral Cruzen, Commander Cruiser Division Two; Mr. Orray Taff, U.S. Consul at Tripoli, and Prince Taher Bey Karamanli of Libya. But at the end of the day there is no definitive evidence that suggests that the five graves contain any remains of Americans, let alone remains from the dead of INTREPID.

But let us for the moment set all that aside and leap into the presumption that in fact the graves contain at least some of five of INTREPID’s thirteen dead. And let us imagine that HR 1497 passes and DoD (because the Navy has regularly and wisely said “nay” to exhumation) is forced to repatriate the remains in those five graves–and no doubt sundry other remains outside Tripoli’s original walls just for good measure–do you anticipate that these remains should jump to the front of the line?

Perhaps you did not realize there is a line and that the DoD organizations responsible for recovery and accounting of the Missing-in-Action already have a massive load to deal with. The dead of INTREPID, just for clarification are not MIA, they are buried andaccounted for. And by the way the MIA that are currently being looked for (WWII to Date) still have family members who were ALIVE when their loved one went missing. I did not see any additional funding or resources attached to HR 1497, which means the Bill, if passed, selfishly takes limited resources from modern losses. For WWII there over 73,000 missing in action, for Korea there are nearly 8000, Southeast Asia still has about 1,700 missing and there are some 125 from the cold war.

Not only is the endeavor of this bill selfish in the theft of resources (because it is political and noisy) from extant missions for families who still remember the missing (not as a historic footnote of family lore–but fremembered fathers and husbands and brothers and sons ) but it is potentially also a precedent setting bill that opens liability and government obligation for repatriation from 1804 forward: the First and Second Seminole Wars, the War of 1812, The Mexican-American War, The Civil War, The Spanish-American War, including losses in Cuba and the Philippines, The Philippine-American War, The Boxer Rebellion, the Great War (WWI) and the Banana Wars.

I do not dispute the desire of the descendants (217 years removed) to return their beloved. I dispute that our government (except in assisting permissions and access) is in anyway responsible, or obligated to repatriate these 13 sailors from a failed mission, who are accounted for and buried, not missing. If ten years ago, when Mr. Kelly first started his agitation for their return, all of you had formed a 501 C 3 Not-for Profit, not only would you have already raised enough money to have brought them back, and paid for the DNA testing and Family Reference Samples and genealogy to find all the living relatives, but there would likely have been enough left over to be providing Master Commander Somers’ scholarships to all the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandsons-daughters-neices-nephews. BUT, more importantly you would not now be detracting from the real POW/MIA mission.

As a commissioned Navy officer from a Navy family (Grandfather, father, husband, father-in-law and son) I find it repugnant that this measure should take away from the current MIA/POW recovery missions, whether all of you intended it or not, that will be the consequence.

Respectfully in disagreement over this measure,

Renee Richardson

—EMAIL1 – 7SEP08 —

Questions on Repatriation of Intrepid Crew

TO: William Kelly [Intrepid Project] – Go to:


I recently came upon your site concerning the “Intrepid”. Having just finished “Six Frigates”, “Jefferson’s War” and “The Pirate Coast” I was looking about on the internet for additional information, what a very interesting bit of history.

I am curious about the repatriation however, as the responsibility for repatriation prior to WW II usually seems to fall to the Service, unless the individual(s) have already been interred–in which case the Service will decline the request (as the mariners have been interred, it is likely the Navy should and will say “no”. Additionally the Navy/Libyans had a dedication ceremony in 1949 indicating the Service considers Tripoli to be the final resting place of these brave souls). Or the cost of repatriation falls to the individual family(ies) of the deceased.

1) That being the case who would bear the cost of this repatriation?

2) Assuming the US Government/Service might choose to absorb the cost, why should these remains (which are properly buried) receive a priority of exhumation/transportation over the 80,000 plus remains around the world awaiting excavation, and identification from WW II, Korea, the Cold War and the Southeast Asia conflict? The families of the “Intrepid” crew, know exactly what happened, they blew up, and they were buried. We even know where some/most/all are buried “Tripoli” in the Protestant Cemetery, along with several Italians and Dutch. That is not the case with so many of the lost from WW II, Korea and Southeast Asia, while the team at Dover is no doubt very good as you put it, they are a limited and costly resource that is engaged in the work to identify and repatriate those who had no real resting place, no grave, no identity even of the remains–and living immediate or at the least first and second generation family members awaiting disposition.

3) Do all 13 families desire the disinterment of the comingled graves?

4) If not, is the encouragement of that disinterment not potentially repugnant to present-day descendants of the deceased and should their wishes not also be respected? As a mother, I for one would not desire that my loved ones remains be disturbed or removed from the finalresting place. As a tax-payer, I can think of better uses for those funds as well.

5) The graves have no names, they merely annotate that these are sailors lost in the explosion of the “Intrepid”, thus we know not who is in what grave and the potential cost to discover that is prohibitive and of a much lesser priority than the identification of more recent losses.

6) Although these are indeed brave men who died engaged in the war to thwart the Beshaw and the Barbary Pirates–an enormously significant and formative action in our nation’s history, what exact purpose is served in digging up, and dragging home the mixed and unspecified bones of these worthy seamen?

On a different note I have your well done book “300 Years at the Point” did not realize you were the same person (blog and book) until I was reading along on your site. Wonderfully enjoyable work.

Renee Richardson


Congressman wants remains of 13 sailors buried in Tripoli returned

By Jeff Schogol – Published, April 26, 2011

WASHINGTON – For more than 200 years, the remains of 13 U.S. sailors have been interred in Tripoli, and now a congressman is calling on the Defense Department to bring them home.

The USS Intrepid exploded and sank in 1804 while on a mission during the First Barbary War to destroy the Tripolitan Fleet. The captain and 12 volunteer officers were killed.

When their bodies washed ashore, they were fed to dogs, dragged through the streets and dumped into holes, said U.S. Rep Mike Rogers, R-Mich.

Rogers said it is only a matter of time before Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi is deposed, so it is important to get ready to work with a new Libyan government to bring the Intrepi’ crew back to the United States. He has been working on this since he saw some of their graves during a visit to Libya in 2004.

“One of the places there is right by the square where they regularly protest the United States of America – hardly a place that you would like to call your final resting place when you’ve sacrificed so much for your country,” said Rogers, an Army veteran.

After feeling the Navy was unwilling to pursue the issue, Rogers introduced a bill earlier this month that would require the Defense Department to exhume the sailors and bury them in the United States. The bill, which is still in committee, requires those remains that could not be identified to be transferred to the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

“If it’s one day, if’s one hour, if it’s 100 years, we have the obligation and the responsibility —and I argue the dignity and the honor –to say that we will leave no fallen member of our military behind,” Rogers said. “I look it this way: If that were me, I’d want someone to try to bring me home.”

For the full story and specific details, go to:

For additional information, CLICK on the ‘American Legion Video’ LINK at the top of the screen and look for additional LINKS entitled…Battle of Tripoli 1805 Parts 1, 2, 3 & 4


Again, as a former Intrepid crew member…it makes one wonder!


1967 Intrepid ‘Trap Record’

I was a rather naive 20 year old (I turned 20 the day I arrived) when I went to boot camp and pretty much took everything they told me seriously and to heart.  It was drilled onto us that “loose lips sink ships” and we were never to tell anyone where we were or what we were doing.  This included writing home, and keeping diaries or journals being a big no-no.  So the event I am about to relate is lacking detail for dates or specific numbers…This is how I remember it:

We were on our second scenic cruise of the tropical Gulf of Tonkin in 1967.  Working in V-3 Division, pushing planes and brooms, kept everyone on the hangar deck busy. Sometime during the cruise I was trained to operate the center-line aircraft elevator located forward also known as Elevator #1 or El-1.

During launches, El-1 was secured and locked in place on the flight deck.  During recoveries, if there was room on the hangar deck, the first planes trapped would be taxied to El-1 and brought down to the hangar before flight deck blue shirts started stacking planes on the bow.  This was the standard operating procedure and happened on most recoveries. And then there was the standard respotting between flight ops.

One warm and muggy morning, we had launched almost every capable bird on the ship, save the angels and “Operation Bear Claw” ready aircraft.  I don’t know what the number of aircraft were given that designation, but it was a very low number.  And, of course the queens were left behind.  Neither do I know how long it took to launch everything but there didn’t seem to be a big rush to get them off the deck.  I do know, from the cruise book, we had (4) A-4 squadrons, (2) A-1 squadrons, (2) F-8 squadrons, plus an E-1 and some UH-1 Angels.  This is 90+ aircraft as the Navy likes to say in ship specifications.

After the launch was complete, the hangar deck crew was assigned the normal “busy” duties.  It would never do to have an NCO or above see a blue shirt idle for more than five minutes.  We all had a trusty broom or rag and Brasso in hand and either pushing dust and salt around or polishing everything made of brass.  And there was a lot of brass.

After the deck was swept a couple of times, word came down that the squadrons were returning all together and some of the planes were pretty low on fuel.  We had to do some major shuffling to get ready for them.  Everything on the hangar deck was moved as far back into Bay 3 as possible.  What was left on the hangar deck did not fill Bay 3.  I was told to man my elevator all three hangar deck blue shirt crews were told to stand by in Bay 1.

aircraft trap‘Trapped’ Aircraft

 As the first recovered aircraft was released from the wire, it was directed ‘hot’ to El-1. Once on, Fly-1 raised the flight deck stanchions and gave the all clear through our sound powered phones for me to drop the elevator.  With the elevator at hangar level, Crew 10 climbed on and started pushing the plane to Bay 3.  As soon as they cleared the elevator, it was on its way up for the next bird.  Before Crew 10 had gotten the first one to Bay 3 and tied down, Crew 11 was climbing on the elevator to push the second one off.  Crew 10 was on their way back when Crew 12 was pushing the third one off.  Until we were about mid fill in Bay 2, as soon as each crew had the current plane tied down, they were at a dead run to return to El-1 for the next one.  This continued until the entire hangar deck was completely filled.  A lot of hustling…I mean a lot of hustling.  The flight deck blue shirts took over from there and stacked the bow.

Once we secured from flight ops, the 1MC came alive with the bos’n’s pipe and a “Now hear this!”.  The skipper (I don’t recall if it was still Captain Fair or Captain McVey who took command in June) came over the speakers and congratulated us for a job well done and I have a vague recollection of him saying he was proud to be commanding such a fine crew. We had broken a service wide record.  He went on to tell us how many aircraft we had ‘trapped‘ in whatever the time frame was.  No other carrier in the past had accomplished such a feat.  But keeping with my training, I did not write down the specifics.  Perhaps someone out there who was on that cruise has a better memory than I or maybe kept a journal (as I am now aware that others did) and can fill in the blanks.

FCM Fred Woods, AN, AMS striker, at the time of the event, CVS/A 11.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 8 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Zachary Fisher began working in construction when he was 16. He and his brothers formed Fisher Brothers, today one of the building industry’s leaders, contributing some of the most prestigious international corporate office buildings to the New York City skyline. Over the past years Fisher has been a key part of the business’ success.

Fisher and his wife, Elizabeth, both always felt strongly about the young men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. During WWII Elizabeth served in the USO, entertaining thousands of troops while they were away from home. Zachary, unable to serve because of a leg injury sustained in a construction accident, assisted the U.S. Coast Guard in the construction of coastal defenses.

When still active in Fisher Brothers, Fisher decided to devote more of his time and energy to his country. In 1978 he founded the Intrepid Museum Foundation, hoping to save the historic and battle-scarred aircraft carrier Intrepid from scrapping. Through his efforts the vessel became the foundation of the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum, which opened in New York City in 1982. To this day Mr. Fisher has contributed millions of dollars to the establishment and operation of the Museum.

Intrepid hosts close to 1,000,000  visitors each year, of all ages and from all parts of the world. Numerous educational programs are hosted aboard her. 10,000 New York City schoolchildren receive supplemental science and history lessons there; hundreds more participate in Cadet Corps and Sea Cadet after school and summer programs; and at-risk high school youth are offered vocational training and counseling in the tremendously successful VoTech program.

Saddened by tragedies which cost the lives of military personnel who often leave behind spouses and children, the Fishers, through the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Armed Services Foundation, have made numerous contributions to their families. These began with a $10,000 contribution to each of the families of the 238 victims of the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. Since then they have given $25,000 contributions to many families who have lost a loved one in accidents involving the military. Hundreds of  families from all branches of the armed services have received this support. Each of these contributions was sent within days of the tragedy, accompanied by a letter from the Fishers. They wrote that while nothing can compensate for the loss of a loved one, it is hoped that they can take comfort in knowing that others care enough about them and their families to help them through a difficult time. The Fishers have given million of dollars in such contributions.

Believing too in the valuable and dedicated services of firefighters, who like our military place themselves in harm’s way to protect us, the Fishers have made similar contributions to the families of New York City firefighters lost in the line of duty.

The Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Armed Services Foundation also provides scholarship funds to active and former service members and their families. Since 1987 more than 700+ students have received scholarships of between $500 and $,2000, assisting in education which otherwise might not have been affordable.

In early 1993, the Fishers donated $500,000 for the establishment of The Fisher Rowing Center in Hubbard Hall, the Naval Academ’s new athletic facility. They also contributed $1.5 million for the creation of the Academy’s Family & Conference Center.

In 1990, the Fishers began the Fisher House Program, dedicating over $15 million to the construction of comfort homes for families of hospitalized military personnel. The houses, built by a leading architectural firm, are spacious and airy, with lots of outdoor space in addition to private bedrooms and common living and dining room and kitchen space. The houses are designed to provide all the comforts of a “home away from home,”, and to allow the families to support one another through their difficult times. More than 23 Fisher Houses are now open, and the Fishers were committed to opening a total of 26 by the end of 1996. In a similar effort, the Fishers have pledged $1.4 million for the establishment of a child care center at Camp Pendleton Marine Base in California.

The Fishers’ newest effort, then, was the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Medical Foundation, founded to fund research in, and work towards a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. In partnership with David Rockefeller, Chairman of the Board of Rockefeller University in New York, a new research center was founded to help develop a cure for this debilitating disease. Mr. Fisher and Mr. Rockefeller joined in a $4 million contribution to begin this center. Through the Fishers’ millions have been dedicated  to date toward this effort, and will continue  in the future.

The ESSEX (CV 9) Class

The USS INTREPID (CV 11), was the third ship of the ESSEX class fleet carriers. During World War II they became the backbone of the fast carrier task forces which played a decisive role in the Pacific campaigns of 1944 and 1945 and the ultimate destruction of the Japanese Navy.

The INTREPID returns to Hampton Roads 25 November 1943 after her training cruise in the Caribbean. She recieved monor repairs/adjustments to equipment at the Norfolk Navy Yard prior to leaving for the Pacific on 3 December 1943.

Only after five years after WWII Essex class carriers provided the greater part of naval air support in Korea and some were deployed for active service during the war in Vietnam (INTREPID served three tours in Vietnam). Seventeen of the original twenty-four ships were still active as late as 1967 although some had been reclassified for special service i.e., ASW, LPH and CVT. The ESSEX class played a major role in three of the most successful and eventful decades of U.S. Naval aviation.

The design of the CV 9 class was based on operatons in the Pacific and they were expected to be used against Japan. This required different sea-keeping characteristics than if they were intended for operatons in the North Atlantic. One of the most important considerations was endurance – having to be able to steam at least 15,000 nautical miles at 15 knots.

The INTREPID had a moderate bulbous bow to reduce resistance at high speed, a nearly square bilge to provide maximum volume for the side protection system, and a cruiser stern with a single counterbalanced rudder. There was no need for an extensive side protection system well aft, therefore, the twin-skeg arrangement adapted for the new battleships was not necessary. In the battleships, the additional underwater breadth permitted by the twin skegs allowed the side protection system to be carried past the after barbette and magazines.

The main, or hangar deck, formed the top of the hull girder. The gallery and flight decks were actually part of the superstructure and did not contribute to the strength of the girder. The flight deck surface was wood laid over light steel plate which served as a fire break. A large portion of the hangar deck was open along the sides which was the result of the requirement for aircraft to warm up their engines before being lifted to the flight deck. The hangar deck could be closed to the weather and/or made light tight for night operations by large roller curtains.

Within the hull proper, there were four continuous decks numbered from the hangar deck down. the 2nd and 3rd decks were mainly used for accommodation and stores and had nearly free fore and aft access. Access on the 4th deck was limited to within the main watertight transverse bulkheads and covered the eight large machinery spaces in the midships section of the hull.

At the end of WWII in 1945, the Navy had the largest fleet in the world and, without doubt, the most powerful carrier force. Rapid technological developments made during the war produced newer, heavier and more sophisticated aircraft and weapons. Many, such as jet aircraft, guided missiles and atomic devices, threatened the fleet and, in particular, the carrier force with obsolescence.

In mid 1946, the newly formed SCB (Ship’s Characteristics Board) began a series of projects to modenize the existing fleet.

Projects SCB 27 ( ), SCB 125 ( ) and the FRAM project ( ) took place.   FRAM was the final modernization for the INTREPID and seven of her sister ships. the program began in October 1960 and was completed in November 1965. The INTREPID was the last of the ESSEX class, and the only SCB-27C conversion, to receive a FRAM modernization which included the installation of a C-11 steam catapult, under license from the Royal Navy.

The ESSEX class was designed to operate an air group of four squadrons consisting of 18 planes each, with space for a fifth squadron, 9 reserve aircraft and a scout bomber. By the time INTREPID entered service, she carried the full five squadrons.

The original CV 9 class design featured three aircraft elevators, two on the centerline and one on the deck-edge.

The INTREPID was equiped with arresting gear forward as well as aft. This provided for landing aircraft over the bow in the event the after porton of the flight deck was damaged and could not be used to receive incoming aircraft. During overhauls beginning in 1944, the forward arresting gear was removed.

ESSEX Class Data/Name/Hull No./Commissioned/Decommissioned

  1. Essex                                      CV 9               12/31/42               6/30/69
  2. Yorktown                            CV 10               4/15/43               6/27/70
  3. Intrepid                                CV 11                8/16/43               3/30/74
  4. Hornet                                   CV 12             11/29/43               6/26/70
  5. Franklin                                CV 13                1/31/44                       *    
  6. Ticonderoga                       CV 14                  5/8/44                   9/1/73
  7. Randolph                             CV 15               10/9/44                 2/13/69
  8. Lexington                            CV 16               3/17/43                 CVT in 1976
  9. Bunker Hill                          CV 17               5/24/42                        *
  10. Wasp                                      CV 18             11/24/43                  7/1/72
  11. Hancock                               CV 19               4/15/44                1/30/76
  12. Bennington                         CV 20                 8/6/44                1/15/70
  13. Boxer                                     CV 21               4/16/45                12/1/69                                                                                    
  14. Bon Homme Richard       CV 31            11/26/44                  7/2/71 (Recommissioned for Korea in her original form)
  15. Leyte                                      CV 32              4/11/46                 5/15/59
  16. Kearsarge                             CV 33                3/2/46                 2/13/70
  17. Oriskany                               CV 34              9/25/50                 5/15/76
  18. Reprisal                                CV 35                      –                                  –         (Never completed. Hulk used for tests)
  19. Antietam                              CV 36               1/28/45                   5/8/63
  20. Princeton                             CV 37             11/18/45                1/30/70
  21. Shangri-La                           CV 38               11/7/44                7/30/71
  22. Lake Champlain                 CV 39                 6/3/45                 1/19/66 (Rebuilt but never received an angled deck)
  23. Tarawa                                  CV 40               12/8/45                        5/60
  24. Valley Forge                       CV 45               11/3/46                 1/15/70
  25. Iwo Jima                              CV 46                       –                                  –        (Cancelled/broken up on the shipway)
  26. Philippine Sea                    CV 47               5/11/46                      12/58

                                                                           Source: Pictorial Histories Publishing Company


Intrepid – The Beginning


The aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (CV-11) was authorized by the Congressional Act of 14 June 1940. She was the fourth ship in the U.S. Navy to bear the name INTREPID and was built by the Newport News Ship-building & Dry Dock Company of Newport News, VA. Constructed in No. 10 Graving Dock, she was launched on 26 April 1943. On 16 August she was commissioned with Captain thomas L. Sprague in command.

The “Fighting I” served the Navy during three wars and was finally decommissioned on 30 March 1974 at Philadelphia and placed in the reserve fleet. She was acquired by the Intrepid Museum Foundation on 23 February 1982 and is now berthed in the Hudson River in Manhattan where she is currently serving as the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum.

The Beginning

The first INTREPID was a bomb ketch armed with four guns of unknown size. She had a length of 60′, a beam of 12′ and displaced 64 tons. Built in France in 1798 for Napoleon’s Egyptian expedition, she was subsequently sold to Tripoli and renamed MASTICO.

The MASTICO was one of several Tripolitan vessels which captured the frigate PHILADELPHIA on 31 October 1803 after running fast aground on the uncharted Kaliusa reef about five miles east of Tripoli. On 23 December 1803k while enroute from Tripoli to Constantinople, the MASTICO was taken as a prize by the schooner ENTERPRISE and frigate CONSTITUTION and renamed INTREPID.

In February 1804 the INTREPID, in company with the brig SIREN, set out to destroy the PHILADELPHIA before the Tripolitans could fit her out for use against the U.S. squadron in the Mediterranean. At 1900 hours on the evening of 16 February the INTREPID entered the harbor at Tripoli while the SIREN took up station outside the harbor to stand by for rescue or assistance.

Since the INTREPID could pass as a North African vessel, she was able to enter the4 haror unnoticed and two and a half hours later she was alongside the frigate PHILADELPHIA. The Americans, under the command of Stephen Decatur, boarded and, after a brief struggle with cutlasses and scimitars ( a backsword or sabre with a curved blade ), gained control of the frigate. The PHILADELPHIA was set ablaze and the INTREPID managed to escape during the confusion.

Because the INTREPID was able to enter the harbor at Tripoli with relative ease, the commander of the American squadron, Edward prele, decided to outfit her as a fire ship. The plan was to send the INTREPID into the harbor in the midst of the corsair fleet. The men were to set fuses and evacuate the ship where she would be blown up close under the walls of Tripoli. Conversion work was completed on 1 September and on the evening of 4 September the INTREPID, with a volunteer crew of three officers and ten men under the command of Lt. Richard Somers, entered the harbor at Tripoli. At 2130 hours, sometime before expeced, there waa a violent explosion which destroyed the INTREPID.

Commodore Preble reasoned that the Tripolitans must have suspected and boarded the INTREPID prompting the crew to blow her up to prevent the Tripolitans from seizing the valuable powder and explosives. All on board were lost.

The second INTREPID was an experimental, torpedo ram built by the Boston Navy Yard and launched on 5 March 1874. She was an iron hulled, screw steamer 170′ long, with a beam of 35′, displaced 438 tons and was armed with four 24-pound howitzers.

In August 1882, work began to convert her to a light-draft gunboat. Still unfinished, work on the conversion was suspended in 1889. A survey in 1892 found the INTREPID unserviceable and she was stricken from the Navy List and sold on 9 May 1892.

The third INTREPID, built by the Mare Island Navy Yard was launched on 8 October 1904. She was a bark-rigged sail training ship with a length of 211′, a beam of 45′ and a displacement of 1,800 tons.

After her commissioning on 16 August 1907, the steel hill bark was assigned to the Yerba Buena Training Station at San Francisco until 1912 and then became a receiving ship for that station. In 1914, the INTREPID was moved back to her birthplace a Mare Island to serve as that station’s receiving ship for about a year and a half. She then became the barracks ship for submarines F-1 through F-4 of the Pacific Fleet. In 1920, she again became the receiving ship for Mare Island until her decomissioning on 30 August 1921. The INTREPID was sold to M. Parker of San Francisco on 20 December 1921.

On 23 August 1941, the Navy acquired the hull of the ex-INTREPID from her owner at that time, the Hawaiian Dredging Company. She was placed in service as the unnamed YF 331, a non-self-propelled lighter and assigned to the 14th Naval District at Pearl Harbor. Her designation was changed to YR 42 on 7 August 1945 and she served as a sludge removal barge until placed out of service on 20 November 1945. The YSR 42, ex-INTREPID, was finally struck from the Navy List on 8 May 1946.

The fourth INTREPID (CV-11), was commissioned in August 1943, and was also known as The FightingI”. She was one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II for the United States Navy.

Source: Warship’s Data – Pictorial Histories Publishing Company



Founder – Intrepid Museum

Founder – Intrepid Museum

Zachary Fisher (September 26, 1910 – June 4, 1999) was a prominent Jewish American philanthropist in the New York real estate community and a major philanthropic benefactor for the men and women in the United States Armed Forces and their families, as well as numerous other not-for-profit organizations.

In 1978, Fisher founded the campaign to save the historic and battle-scarred World War II aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (CV-11) from the scrapyard and transform it into America’s largest naval museum. The ship became the center of New York City’s Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, which hosts nearly one million visitors annually. 

He founded the Fisher House Foundation, which builds “homes of comfort” at or near military and Veterans Administration hospitals. These Fisher Houses provide free temporary lodging to the families of veterans and service members who are receiving medical care.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Mr. Fisher began working in construction at the age of 16. Shortly thereafter, he and his brothers, Martin and Larry, joined forces to form Fisher Brothers, which grew into one of the real estate industry’s premier residential and commercial developers, owning more than five million square feet of office space.

From the earliest days of his construction career, Mr. Fisher was a strong supporter of the U.S. Armed Forces. Prevented from active service in World War II due to a leg injury, Mr. Fisher drew on his building skills to assist the U.S. Coastal Service in the construction of coastal fortifications. His patronage of the Armed Forces became an ongoing concern from that time, evolving to occupy increasing amounts of his energies.

In the 1970s, while remaining active in Fisher Brothers, Mr. Fisher’s commitment to both the Armed Forces and other philanthropic causes intensified still further through his leadership role in a number of major projects.

In 1982, the same year as the Museum’s opening, Mr. Fisher established the Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Armed Services Foundation. Through the Foundation, he made significant contributions to the families of the victims of the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. Since then, the Foundation has made contributions of $25,000 to numerous military families who have lost loved ones under tragic circumstances.

Mr. Fisher has also supported the families of New York City firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty. His Armed Services Foundation also provides scholarship funds to active and former service members and their families.

In 1990, Mr. Fisher and his wife, Elizabeth, founded the Fisher House Foundation, after Pauline Trost, wife of Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Carlisle Trost, presented to Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher the need for temporary lodging facilities for families at major military medical centers. The Fishers personally dedicated more than $20 million to the construction of comfort homes for families of hospitalized military personnel.

More than 50 Fisher Houses now operate at military bases and Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers throughout the nation. More than 183,000 days of lodging are provided by Fisher Houses every year, saving families an estimated $5 million annually. Since the program’s inception, more than 50,000 families have stayed in Fisher Houses.

These temporary living facilities served as “homes away from home” for families of military personnel who were undergoing treatment at military or VA hospitals.

In April 1995, Zachary Fisher was presented with the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton.

In 1997 Mr. and Mrs. Fisher were given the Naval Heritage Award from the U S Navy Memorial Foundation for their efforts on the development of Fisher House.

In 1998, Mr. Fisher received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Clinton in honor of his wide-ranging contributions on behalf of the young men and women in the US Armed Forces.

He also received the Horatio Alger Award, the Volunteer Action Award, the Senior Civilian Award from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense, as well as the top awards a civilian can receive from each branch of the military.

In 1999 the U. S. Senate introduced a bill that would confer upon Fisher the status of honorary veteran of the Armed Forces. Fisher had attempted to enlist in the military during World War II but was disqualified due to a pre-existing medical condition. The bill, Public Law 106-161, was signed on December 9, 1999. Only Bob Hope shares the status of honorary veteran of the Armed Forces.

Separately, Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Clinton, as well as Margaret Thatcher and the late Yitzak Rabin, recognized Mr. Fisher for his support of charitable organizations throughout the United States.

In 1994, Mr. Fisher, in partnership with David Rockefeller, established the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, which funds Alzheimer’s disease research with the goal of finding a cause and cure. The Foundation operates the nation’s largest and most modern Alzheimer’s research laboratory, housed at The Rockefeller University in New York City.

Throughout his life, Mr. Fisher held a number of posts on a variety of charitable and arts organizations and military charities throughout the country. He served as Honorary Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Marine CorpsLaw Enforcement Foundation and was a supporter of the Coast Guard Foundation, the Navy League and other military charities. Mr. Fisher also established the annual Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Award for Excellence in Military Medicine.

He was a major supporter of the Metropolitan Opera, Temple Israel, the Jewish Institute of National Security Affairs, the George C. Marshall Foundation, the Margaret Thatcher Foundation, the Reagan Presidential Library, the United Jewish Appeal and many other organizations. Mr. Fisher also served on the boards of Carnegie Hall and several other institutions and received honorary doctorate degrees from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences.




CVS-11 Nuclear Policy/Ops

The Visit by USS Intrepid (CVS-11) to Copenhagen, 1971

The USS Intrepid (CVS-11) arrived in Copenhagen in July 1971, only three years after Denmark’s non-nuclear policy was tested by the crash of a nuclear-armed bomber in Greenland. The visit created little controversy and the Danish government turned a blind eye to what appears to be one of the clearest violations of Denmark’s prohibition against nuclear weapons in its ports.

The USS Intrepid was converted from an attack carrier (CVA) to an anti-submarine carrier (CVS) in 1969 following operations against North Vietnam. The ship was transferred to the Atlantic Fleet and home ported in Quonset Point, Rhode Island, then the center of all carrier-based anti-submarine forces in the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. As an anti-submarine carrier the mission of USS Intrepid was to hunt down and destroy Soviet submarines. In the North Atlantic training for this mission brought the ship deep into the Baltic Sea and high up into the Norwegian Sea in 1971 and 1972 on exercises.

The 1971 Deployment

The USS Intrepid formed the center of Task Force 83.2, which during the extended overseas deployment encountered “considerable Soviet surveillance.” Embarked on the USS Intrepid during the 1971 deployment were Air Antisubmarine Squadron TWENTY-FOUR (VS-24) and Air Antisubmarine Squadron TWENTY-SEVEN (VS-27) wings. The task force also included several other nuclear-capable warships, including the diesel submarine USS Greenfish (SS-351) which also carried nuclear weapons during the deployment and visited Århus, Denmark, while the carrier was in Copenhagen. The extensive deployment reached from the Mediterranean to the Baltic Sea and Barents Sea.

USS Intrepid (CVS-11) Operations – April-Octobeer 1971

The task force left Quonset Point on April 16 for a visit to Lisbon, Portugal, after which it steamed north for NATO exercise Rusty Razor and a port visit to Plymouth in the United Kingdom. After Plymouth, USS Intrepid and part of Task Force 83.2 entered the Kattegat, transited the narrow Danish Straits on May 16 to became the first U.S. aircraft carrier to conduct operations in the Baltic Sea.

During the operations in the “Sea of Peace,” the USS Intrepid conducted flight operations and sailed to within only 20 miles of the Soviet coastline. Continuous anti-submarine operations were conducted and “numerous Soviet submarines were detected, prosecuted and kept under surveillance.” An anti-submarine warfare demonstration was performed for Kontra-Admiral Kierkegaard and visiting Swedish dignitaries. The operations in the Baltic were later heralded by U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Zumwalt to be “superb in a situation that demanded no less.”

After the Baltic operations and a four-day visit to Kiel, West Germany, USS Intrepid left the Baltic and sailed south to the Mediterranean Sea where it conducted port visits in France, Italy, and Spain. During an anti-submarine exercise with the USS Greenfish, an “intruder submarine contact was detected, prosecuted for 3 hours, photographed and evaluated as a Soviet Victor Class SSN.”

On July 6, the USS Intrepid sailed north again to Hamburg, West Germany, after which the carrier continued to Copenhagen where it arrived on July 21 for a week stay.

On July 28, the USS Intrepid departed Copenhagen enroute Greenock, Scotland, and after a week in port the carrier sailed north into the Norwegian Sea for NATO exercise Alert Lancer. During the exercise, the carrier’s anti-submarine squadron gained numerous contacts with Soviet November class and diesel submarines.

Following a visit to Portsmouth in the United Kingdom and Bergen in Norway, USS Intrepid  steamed far north into the Norwegian Sea for NATO exercise Royal Night. This was an advanced strike fleet exercise where USS Intrepid joined forces with two other aircraft carriers (USS Independence and HMS Ark Royal). USS Intrepid’s mission was to “sanitize” the waters for enemy submarines to enable the strike carriers to sail far enough north for their aircraft to strike the Kola Peninsula.

B57 Nuclear Strike/Depth Bomb

The light-weight B57 nuclear strike/depth bombs carried onboard USS Intrepid (CVS-11) during its port visit to Copenhagen in 1971 each had a yield of 15-20 kilotons


Nuclear Weapons Operations

After the visit to Copenhagen and the completion of the extended deployment deep into the Baltic Sea and Norwegian Sea, the USS Intrepid returned on October 15 to its homeport in Quonset Point, Rhode Island, on the U.S. East Coast. Two more nuclear weapons security exercises were held inport before the ship sailed to Naval Ammunition Depot (NAD) Earle in New Jersey to offload all weapons prior to a shipyard period. The weapons offloaded at Earle included the ship’s complement of nuclear weapons, an operation that took approximately three hours to complete. The ship’s deck log explicitly mentions that the offload included nuclear weapons and that it was the Chopsticks team that carried out the operation: “12:15 Went to CHOPSTICKS stations for offload of NucWeapons. 15:12 Secured from CHOPSTICKS.”

USS Intrepid (CVS-11) Nuclear Weapons Offload After Copenhagen
Excerpt from USS Intrepid (CVS-11) Deck Log documenting offload of nuclear weapons after an extended overseas deployment and port visit to Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1971. Click the image to download high-resolution PDF-version of deck log pages (requires Adobe Acrobat).

Even if one believe that the USS Intrepid offloaded the nuclear weapons in another port before arriving in Copenhagen and then picked them up again after the visit — something retired U.S. Navy officials have always insisted the U.S. Navy never did, the route of the USS Intrepid rules out that possibility: None of the ports visited prior to Copenhagen were re-visited after Copenhagen . There is also no mentioning in the documents that the weapons were offloaded to another warship — something retired U.S. Navy officials also have insisted the U.S. Navy avoided — prior to the arrival in Copenhagen.

The nuclear operations of the USS Intrepid around the time of its 1971 port visit to Copenhagen, as recorded in the ship’s command history, deck log, and other official documents, are listed in the following table:

USS Intrepid Nuclear Operations Around Denmark Visit, 1971
Date Description & Remarks
01/07/71 Following a brief shipyard period to repair storm damage, a nuclear weapons accident exercise was held onboard while inport Quonset Point, RI.
Deck Log: 14:37 Broken CHOPSTICKS drill. Material condition ZEBRA set.
01/18-02/01/71 Conducted antisubmarine training against the nuclear submarines USS Nautilus (SSN-571) and USS Skate (SSN-578).
02/08/71 Inport Quonset Point, RI. Designated nuclear weapons personnel returning to the ship included Gunner’s Mate Technician (GMT) Greenovich, D B160924. [The Deck Log entry is listed on 9 February.]
02/18/71 An ammunition onload took place while inport Quonset Point, RI.
Deck Log: 14:00 Secured pier to automobile traffic while loading ammunition. 14:45 Ammunition load complete.
02/25/71 Nuclear weapons handling was conducted onboard while the ship was underway off the U.S. East Coast.
Deck Log: 12:30 Called away CHOPSTICKS stations. 12:55 Commenced operation CHOPSTICKS.
02/28/71 Underway as before. More nuclear weapons handling conducted.
Deck Log: 8:30 Called away CHOPSTICKS.  10:13 Secured from CHOPSTICKS.
03/04/71 Another 28 degree roll is suffered during a storm following an exercise off the East Coast. The roll “caused considerable damage throughout the ship.”
03/22/71 Inport Quonset Point, RI, where ammunition was loaded onboard.
Deck Log: 8:20 Commenced taking on ammunition.15:45 Secured from taking on ammunition.
03/30/71 Another ammunition onload occurred while inport Quonset Point, RI.
Deck Log: 10:00 Commenced loading ammunition. 11:30 All ammunition on deck. Ammunition onload complete.
04/05/71 More ammunition was loaded onboard.
Deck Log: 13:40 Commenced loading ammunition. 14:10 Completed ammunition on load.
04/13/71 A nuclear weapons accident exercise was held while inport Quonset Point, RI.
Deck Log: 11:00 Commenced CHOPSTICKS operation. 13:45 Commenced Broken CHOPSTICKS and general quarters. 14:20 Secure from CHOPSTICKS.
04/16/71 Departed Quonset Point, RI, for a six-month deployment of extended overseas operations in the Mediterranean, Eastern Atlantic, and Baltic Sea operations IAW COMASWGRU FOUR OPORD 4-71.
During this cruise, the ships Weapons Department included a Special Weapons (W) Division team of 19 personnel. Air Antisubmarine Squadrons TWENTY FOUR (VS-24) and TWENTY SEVEN (VS-27) were embarked. The escort includes the conventionally powered submarine USS Greenfish (SS-351).
04/16/71 A nuclear weapons accident exercise was conducted onboard while underway from Quonset Point, RI, enroute Portugal.
Deck Log: 14:03 Commenced Broken CHOPSTICKS drill. Sounded general quarters. 14:23 Set CIRCLE WILLIAM throughout the ship. 14:56 Relaxed CIRCLE WILLIAM. 15:09 Set material YOKE. 15:20 Secured from general quarters.
04/17/71 Another nuclear weapons security exercise while underway enroute from Quonset Point, RI, to Lisbon, Portugal.
Deck Log: 7:00 Called away CHOPSTICKS stations. 9:19 Penetration. 9:23 Secure from penetration drill. 15:26 Secured from CHOPSTICKS.
05/03/71 After Lisbon, Portugal, the ship departed for Plymouth, England, in company with units of Task Group 400.1. Transit IAW RUSKY RAZOR Joint Exercise OPORD 1-71.
05/16/71 Following a visit to Portsmouth, England, the ship continued to a port visit to Kiel, West Germany, and operations in the Baltic Sea. The transit to Kiel was done IAW COMASWGRU FOUR OPORD 4-71.
The USS Intrepid become the first U.S. carrier to conduct flight operations in the Eastern Baltic.  Escorted by three other U.S. warships, the operations brought the ship to within only 20 miles of the Soviet coastline. Soviet surface, submarine and air surveillance was considerable. Admiral Zumwalt, U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, subsequently praised the ship’s performance as “superb in a situation that demanded no less.” Numerous Soviet submarines were detected, prosecuted and kept under surveillance. During operations in the Baltic the ship passed through the Bornholmsgat from the Baltic Sea.
When transiting the Danish Straits, the Danish pilots Captain Jørgensen and Hansen were brought onboard by helicopter.
05/26/71 Following the visit to Kiel, West Germany, the USS Intrepid was dispatched to the Mediterranean Sea where a Soviet Victor class SSN was detected and photographed. The transit occurred IAW COMASWGRU FOUR LOI 4-71.
During passage out through the Danish Straits, the Danish pilots Captain Thesmer and Captain Nielsen embarked.
07/21-28/71 In Copenhagen, Denmark, following a transit from the Mediterranean. Also present was USS N. K. Perry (DD-883).
Danish docking pilot was Captain Jacobsen, and Channel Pilot was Captain Petersen.
Upon arrival the ship received visits from several high-ranking officials, including the U.S. Ambassador to Denmark, Danish Chief of Defense, Commander of Copenhagen Captain Kisum and Captain Prause.
The inport period only lasted until 25 July, when the ship was moved outside port and anchor was dropped at Middelgrund, still in Danish territorial waters. This move occurred while the U.S. Ambassador was onboard.
When departing, Danish pilots were Captain Thodsen and Captain Albertsen.
09/22-25/71 Inport Bergen, NorwayAlso present were USS Kennedy (DD-850) and USS Taussig (FF-1030). During the port call the ship was visited by Norwegian Minister of Defense and the German Minister of Defense.
The visit took place following operations in the Norwegian Sea against the submarines USS Bluefish and USS Sirago and “Soviet vessels of opportunity.” Numerous contacts were made with Soviet November class and diesel submarines. The U.S. Ambassador to Norway and Norwegian Minister of Defense officials visited the squadron during this period.
Following the visit the ship participated in NATO exercise Royal Knight.
10/15/71 Returned to Quonset Point, RI.
10/16/71 While inport Quonset Point, RI, the ship offloaded ammunition.
Deck Log: 13:06 Commenced offloading ammunition. 14:19 Completed offloaded ammunition.
10/20/71 A nuclear weapons security drill was held while inport Quonset Point, RI.
Deck Log: 1137 Conducted penetration drill. 11:41 Secured from penetration drill.
10/28/71 Another nuclear weapons security drill was conducted. Inport Quonset Point, RI.
Deck Log: 14:02 Held Penetration drill. 14:07 Secured from penetration drill.
11/30-12/01/71 At NAD [NWS] Earle, NJ, for ammunition offload prior to shipyard period. Weapons offloaded included nuclear weapons.
Deck Log: (11/30) 9:50 Commenced offload of ammunition. (12/01) 00-04 Ammunition off-load is in progress. 12:15 Went to CHOPSTICKS stations for “offload of NucWeapons.” 15:12 Secured from CHOPSTICKS. 15:15 Completed offloading of ammo, 283 tons total.

Operations in 1972 and 1973

The USS Intrepid returned to Europe and to Copenhagen in 1972, and the documents strongly suggest that the ship was once again nuclear armed. The Chopstick deck handling crew was drilled in how to respond to a nuclear weapons accident. The drill was preparation for a subsequent nuclear weapons certification inspection which the ship must pass in order to have nuclear weapons onboard.

The Nuclear [Navy] Technical Proficiency Inspection (NTPI) was passed in May 1972 “with the Squadron’s loading teams performing their loads satisfactorily.” Yet the documents reveal that part of the carrier’s response to a simulated nuclear weapons accident was not sufficient, so before USS Intrepid was allowed to leave for Europe with nuclear weapons onboard, the crew underwent additional training to pass the certification. Finally, in late June, only a month before the ship arrived in Copenhagen, the USS Intrepid passed its certification inspection. While underway to Denmark, a nuclear weapons security practice was held onboard. USS Intrepid arrived in Copenhagen on July 25 for a week long visit.

After the visit, USS Intrepid steamed north into the Norwegian Sea to conduct anti-submarine operations. During the operations in the Norwegian Sea, the carrier crossed the Arctic Circle and sailed as high north as 75N 27.16E and as far east as 72.25.2N 31-40.8E, the farthest east a U.S. aircraft carrier had ever been in that region up to that time. “Needless to say, Soviet interest in the ship’s activities was extremely high,” the ship’s Command History stated.

USS Intrepid (CVS-11) Underway
During operations in the Noregian Sea in 1972, the USS Intrepid (CVS-11) sailed farther east toward the Soviet Kola Peninsula than any other U.S. aircraft carrier until that time.

After a visit to Bergen in Norway, USS Intrepid returned to its home ports in Quonset Point, RI. During the transit, more nuclear weapons training was held onboard. Once back in the United States, the USS Intrepid began upgrading from anti-submarine carrier to strike carrier. The air wing was added more A-4E Skyhawk strike aircraft which “gave the INTREPID a strike capability and enabled her to subsequently commence phasing into the ‘CV’ concept.” The anti-submarine mission was retained as well.

The new strike mission was practiced during an overseas deployment to the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea beginning in November 1972. A few days before arriving in Athens, Greece, the crew practiced bringing nuclear weapons up from the Special Weapons Magazine to the strike aircraft on the flight deck. During the Mediterranean deployment, the USS Intrepid conducted “two launch Sequence Plans and numerous single aircraft special weapons loads.”

The 1973 Mediterranean cruise would be USS Intrepid’s last overseas deployment. The carrier returned to the U.S. East Coast in May 1973, but before it arrived in its homeport the USS Intrepid conducted a unique offload of nuclear weapons and other ammunition at sea to the ammunition ship USS Santa Barbara (AE-28). The nuclear portion of the weapons transfer took three and a half hours. It is unclear why the navy decided to conduct this risky nuclear operation at sea, a procedure the U.S. Navy normally tried to avoid, rather than offloading the nuclear weapons at NAD Earle as it was done in 1971.

The USS Intrepid finally returned to NAS Quonset Point, RI, two days later where it began  preparations for transferring to the reserve fleet and eventually decommissioning a year later on 15 March 1974.

© Hans M. Kristensen | | 2004-2005

General Quarters…Hit the Deck

USS INTREPID (CV-11)S24/00-redm 28 March 1944Ser: 051C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-T-I-A-L

From: The Commanding Officer
To  : Commander Air Force, Pacific Fleet.
Subject: USS INTREPID – handling of after Battle Damage.

1. At 0011, 17 February 1944, Zone plus 12 Time, the USS INTREPID was hit, by an aircraft torpedo, just forward of the rudder post. The night was clear but dark. The resultant damage presented various problems which may be of interest in handling similar damage in the future.

2. At the time the torpedo hit the INTREPID was in a left turn using 15° left rudder and at 25 knots.

The detonation ruptured the bottom of the steering engine ram room and motor room, immediately flooded these two compartments and jammed the rudder. Propellers and engines sustained no damage. The crosshead and the rams of the steering gear were completely wrecked.

The rudder was severely distorted and the fin which fills in over the counterbalance of the rudder was blown off. The detonation opened a hole in the starboard side which extended from near the keel to above the fourth deck. The fourth deck in way of the explosion was completely missing. The third deck in the Chief Petty Officers’ country was pushed up to the overhead of the second deck, and missiles penetrated the hangar deck. Complete details of the damage are contained in the Action Report. The net result of this damage insofar as ship control was concerned was to create the permanent effect of approximately 6½° left rudder. The INTREPID had the advantage of having made the standardization trials for the CV-9 class.

One of the tests conducted was to lock an outboard shaft on one side, go ahead full power on the two shafts on the other side and determine the rudder angle necessary to maintain a steady course. This rudder angle during the trial proved to be approximately 6½°. After the torpedo hit it was found that the combination needed to maintain a steady course approximated the condition found during trials.

 The continuous backing, coupled with the hull damage aft, however, created so much vibration that numerous steam and water leaks began to develop in the engine rooms. The rapid increase of make up feed required began to approach the capacity of the evaporators and some other means of controlling the vessel became a necessity. It was then decided to tow the vessel with the seagoing tugs which had been made available. A 2½” wire was taken from the towing engine of the tug USS MUNSEE, and secured to the port anchor chain. The chain was veered to place the 60 fathom shackle on the forecastle and about 240 fathoms of wire was put out by the tug. This rig worked very well towing into the wind, with a good catenary. The tug worked up to 14 knots and the INTREPID made 5 knots for a net speed made good of about 8 knots. An attempt was then made to reverse the course. It was found that the tug could not pull the ship out of the wind. The tug immediately got in stays and worked back to a position on the port quarter in spite of stopping the INTREPID’s engines. A 2ndtug then passed a line to the 1st tug to assist in holding up the head of the tug. This tandem combination worked satisfactorily and the vessel was turned through 180° in about 1¼ hours. For the remaining three days of the wait outside Pearl, during the storm, the tandem towing arrangement worked very well, making good about 5 knots, the tug making turns for about 14 knots and the INTREPID’s engines stopped. The tugs would find a position of about 45° on the lee bow. In this connection it is worthy of note that the tugs used in this operation have their towing engine too far aft and their rudder appears to be of insufficient area. Tugs designed for towing heavy ships should have the towing engine located near the pivot point of the tug.5. Upon returning to the dry dock at Pearl a jury fin was installed to restore a fin area equal to that of the original rudder.

One hundred square feet of this fin was hinged. This hinged portion represented about one-fifth of the area of the original rudder. (See enclosures). It had a maximum angle of 20° right or left and was controlled by wire cables brought up outboard to the fan tail. The ends of the rudder cables were secured to three-fold wire jiggers, the running ends of which were taken to the after capstan.

 The large hole in the skin of the ship on the starboard side was filled in to reduce the drag on that side although the patch was not watertight.     6. It was the intention of the designers of the jury rig that the movable part of the fin would be used to overcome the effect of the wind and that steering would be done primarily with the engines. Upon sortie from Pearl, however, it was found that steering by engines was extremely difficult and the yaw to each side could not be reduced below an average of about 40°. The jury rig to the capstan worked so smoothly that the final combination, which proved very satisfactory, was to adjust engine revolutions to overcome the effect of the wind and use the jury rudder to steer. The effect of the jury rudder when hard over, appeared to bo equivalent to about 4° to 5° of the designed rudder. The yaw, using the jury rudder to steer, averaged from 10° to 15° on either side. Winds of 15 to 25 knots were encountered. The passage from Pearl was made at speeds of 14 to 16 knots without any further difficulty. The starting panel of the capstan is not designed for continuous service, such as that required for steering, but frequent cleaning of the contacters prevented shorting due to arcing. Special arrangements were necessary to provide lubrication for the capstan shaft, because the pump did not provide sufficient lubrication during the short starts and stops necessary.

7. Upon arrival at the Parallon Islands the vessel was met by four tugs and a line was taken from a single tug.

The vessel was towed to the entrance of the dredged channel over the bar at a speed of about 10.5 knots, the INTREPID making turns for about 7 knots and the tug making turns for about 14 knots. 150 fathoms of wire and 30 fathoms of the port chain were used.

The weather was perfect – no sea and very light wind. At the entrance to the dredged channel the ship slowed down and four additional tugs were taken alongside, two on each side. At slow speeds the ship was very difficult to control because of insufficient rudder effect. It was planned to arrive at the Golden Gate at high slack before ebb.

Due to local conditions the ebb actually commenced about half an hour earlier than shown in the current tables. The result was that the ship was caught in some very erratic tidal currents and at times was almost completely out of control.

 It was frequently necessary to use the engines at high powers to correct a sheer to the right or left. After passing under the Golden Gate Bridge the scope of the towing tug ahead was shortened to 100 fathoms. A towing speed of about 7 knots was used, which in certain places, gave a speed of advance of about one knot due to strong ebb current.CONCLUSIONS     8. The steps taken to maintain steering control of the ship as described in the proceeding narrative, were as follows:

(a) Trim the ship by the stern.
(b) Slow down, stop or lock shafts on one side.
(c) Move aircraft on the flight deck forward to act as a headsail
(d) Rig a sail between flight dock and forecastle, Additional canvas could have been rigged, with some difficulty, on the radio masts forward, from a stay leading forward from the island structure, or on palisades arranged fore and aft.

9. Further steps which could have been taken but which proved to be unnecessary during the INTREPID’s voyage are as follows:

(a)   Rig a paravane on one side. A paravane creates a very considerable pull on its towing cable and would materially assist in keeping the bow out of the wind, if rigged on the leeward bow.

(b)   Tow a small vessel (an escort destroyer or, preferably, a tug) with a short scope astern. This scheme was successfully employed in the Pacific some years ago in the case of a large passenger vessel that was unlucky enough to have lost her rudder, The towed tug, in this case, stopped her engines and used her rudder to steer the heavy vessel which provided the motive power.

Speeds as high as 18 knots were maintained. A little consideration will indicate that the tug’s rudder was put right when the heavy vessel desired

Intrepid Post War History

                                                     Intrepid Post War History

  • February 4, 1948: Intrepid shifted to San Francisco Bay.
  • August 15th: Her status was reduced to “In commission in reserve.”
  • March 22nd: Decommissioned and joins the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
  • February 9, 1952: Intrepid is re-commissioned at San Francisco.
  • March 12th: Intrepid gets underway for Norfolk, VA. 
  • April 9, 1952: She is decommissioned in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for her SCB-27C modernization.
  • June 18, 1954: Intrepid is re-commissioned in reserve.
  • October 1, 1954: Intrepid is reclassified CVA-11
  • October 15th: She went into full commission as a unit of the Atlantic Fleet.
  • 1955: Shakedown out of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
  • May 28th: Intrepid departed Mayport, FL, for the 1st of 2 deployments in the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet.
  • September 5, 1956: She returned to Norfolk from her 2nd cruise.
  • September 29th: Intrepid entered New York Navy Yard for her SCB-125 modernization until April 1957, which included an enclosed bow and an angled flight deck. This was followed by refresher training out of Guantanamo Bay.
  • September 1957: She departed the U.S. for NATO’s Operation Strikeback, the largest peacetime naval exercise up to that time in history.
  • December 1957: Operating out of Norfolk, VA she conducted Operation Crosswind, a study of the effects of wind on carrier launches. Intrepid proved that carriers can safely conduct flight operations without turning into the wind and even launch a/c while steaming downwind.
  • 1958-1961: Intrepid alternated Mediterranean deployments with operations along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and exercises in the Caribbean. 

Intrepid operating as an attack carrier in the early 1960s

The Mission of Intrepid – 1958-1962

United States Ship INTREPID (CVA-11), the name itself stands for valor, courage, integrity, and dauntlessness. The ship confirmed that definition with definiteness as her record shows

For better and for worse she sailed forward on her missions as an Attack Carrier to carry the Defense of our Nation and Freedom of Mankind close to the aggressors’ boundaries. As a mobile elusive target she was capable of launching nuclear weapon attacks at a moment’s notice. 

An instrument of tremendous Air Sea Power she would launch day and night attack bombers, to protect her existence with radar equipped supersonic fighter interceptors, photograph target areas, and fill the overhead skies with Anti-Aircraft explosives.

Through efficient organization and teamwork she operated independently in the oceans fueling and replenishing at sea. She housed her 3,000 officers and men and provided abundant food supplies and services, a completely self-supporting floating home.

Intrepid was an ambassador of good will in every port she visited.  Thousands of her men poured into exotic Mediterrean seaports and spread goodwill and friendship wherever they went. Hundreds of equally friendly and warmhearted visitors came aboard to get acquainted with her crew and see her planes and equipment. The people of the Free Nations rested more easy and those of captive states kept hope alive knowing that night and day INTREPID and other ships of the Sixth Fleet were only minutes away.

  • December 8, 1961: Intrepid was reclassified to an anti-submarine warfare carrier, CVS-11
  • March 10, 1962: She entered the Norfolk Navy Yard to be overhauled and refitted for her new antisubmarine warfare role.
  • April 2nd: Intrepid left the shipyard with Carrier Antisubmarine Air Group 56
  • After training exercises, Intrepid was selected as the principal ship in the recovery team for astronaut Scott Carpenter and his Project Mercury space capsule Aurora 7.
  • May 24th: Shortly before noon, Scott Carpenter splashed down in Aurora 7 several hundred miles from Intrepid. Minutes after he was located by land-based search a/c, 2 helicopters from Intrepid, carrying NASA officials, medical experts, Navy frogmen, and photographers, were airborne and headed to the rescue. One of the choppers picked Carpenter up over an hour later and flew him to the Intrepid which safely returned him to the United States.
  • 1962 (Summer): Training midshipman at sea.
  • 1962 (Autumn): A thorough overhaul at Norfolk
  • January 23, 1963: Intrepid departed Hampton Roads for warfare exercises in the Caribbean. 
  • February 1963: She interrupted these operations to join a sea hunt for the Venezuelan freighter Anzoategul, whose mutinous 2nd mate had led a group of pro-Castro terrorists in hijacking the vessel. The Communist pirates had surrendered at Rio de Janeiro.
  • March 23rd: Intrepid returned to Norfolk.

Intrepid operated along the Atlantic Coast for the next year from Nova Scotia to the Caribbean perfecting her antisubmarine techniques.

  • June 11, 1964: She left Norfolk carrying midshipmen to the Mediterranean for a hunter-killer at sea training with the 6th Fleet.
  • While in the Mediterranean, Intrepid aided in the surveillance of a Soviet task group. En route home her crew learned that she had won the coveted Battle Efficiency “E” for antisubmarine warfare during the previous fiscal year.
  • 1964 (Autumn): Intrepid operated along the East Coast of the U.S.
  • September 1964: She entertained 22 NATO statesmen as part of their tour of U.S. military installations.
  • October 18-19: Intrepid was at Yorktown for ceremonies commemorating Lord Cornwallis’s surrender 183 years before. The French Ambassador attended the ceremony and presented the U.S. with 12 cannon cast from molds found in the Bastille, replicas of those brought to American forces by Lafayette.
  • November 21st: During a brief deployment off N. Carolina, swift and efficient rescue procedures saved the life of an airman Jenner Sanders who fell overboard while driving an a/c towing tractor.
  • Early 1965: Intrepid began preparations for a vital role in NASA’s 1st manned Gemini flight, Gemini 3.
  • March 23rd: Lieutenant Commander John Young & Major Gus Grissom in their space capsule Molly Brown splashed down 50 miles from Intrepid after history’s 1st controlled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere after their 3-orbit flight. A Navy helicopter lifted the astronauts from the spacecraft and flew them to the Intrepid for medical examination and debriefing. Later, Intrepid retrieved the spacecraft and returned it and the astronauts to Cape Kennedy.

                                Ref: Mediterranean Cruise Book – 1961-1962

USS Intrepid 1965-1974 History

                                         – INTREPID (CVS/CVA-11)-1965-1974 –

  • September 1965: Intrepid, was in her final Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) job performed by the New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, NY, which was slated to close after more than a century and a half of service to the nation.
  • With her work approximately 75% completed, she eased down the East River to moor at the Naval Supply Depot at Bayonne, NJ, for the completion of her multi-million dollar overhaul. After builder’s sea trials and fitting out at Norfolk she sailed to Guantanamo on shakedown.  

Mid-1966 found Intrepid with the Pacific Fleet off Vietnam. Nine A-4 Skyhawks and six A-1 Skyraiders, loaded with bombs and rockets, were catapulted in seven minutes, with only a 28-second interval between launches. A few days later planes were launched at 26-second intervals. After seven months of service with the 7th Fleet off Vietnam, Intrepid returned to Norfolk having earned her Commanding Officer, Captain John W. Fair, the Legion of Merit for combat operations in Southeast Asia.

Intrepid operating as an auxiliary attack carrier off Vietnam, in 1966

  • October 9, 1966: Ltjg William T. Patton of VA-176 from the Intrepid, flying a propeller driven A-1H Skyraider, shot down one MiG-17. For his action, Ltjg Patton was awarded the Silver Star.

In June 1967, Intrepid returned to the Western Pacific by way of the Suez Canal just prior to its closing during the Israeli-Arab crisis. There she began another tour with the 7th Fleet.

  • In 1968, she won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award for the Atlantic Fleet.
  • In 1969, Intrepid was home ported at Quonset Point, Rhode Island,  relieving the carrier Yorktown as the flagship for Commander Carrier Division 16. In the fall, the ship was run aground by Captain Horus E. Moore, but was freed within two hours.

 Intrepid operating in the Mediterranean in the 1970s.

From April–October 1971, Intrepid took part in NATO exercises, and made calls in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean ports of Lisbon, Plymouth, Kiel, Naples, Cannes, Barcelona, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Greenock, Rosyth, Portsmouth, and Bergen.

During this cruise, submarine detection operations were conducted in the Baltic and at the edge of the Barents Sea above the Arctic Circle, under close scrutiny of Soviet air and naval forces. She subsequently returned to her homeport to be refitted and then, beginning in July 1972, Intrepid participated once again in NATO exercises, visiting Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Bergen, Brussels, Portsmouth and Gourock. Once again Intrepid found herself in the Barents and made round the clock flight operations as she was once again above the Arctic Circle.

She cut her North Atlantic cruise short, returned to Quonset point for a mini-overhaul and was designated, once again, as CV-11 and made her final cruise in the Mediterranean, stopping twice in Barcelona and Malaga Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Nice, France; Naples, Italy; Palma, Majorca; and Piraeus, Greece once. Due to fuel limitations Intrepid spent as much time in port as she did underway.

  • March 15, 1974: Intrepid was de-commissioned for the final time.
  • In 1976, Intrepid was moored at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia, PA and hosted exhibits as part of the United States Bicentennial celebrations.
  • Plans originally called for Intrepid to be scrapped after decommissioning, but a campaign led by real estate developer Zachary Fisher and the Intrepid Museum Foundation saved the carrier, and established it as a museum ship.
  • In August 1982, the ship opened in New York City as the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum. Four years later, Intrepid was officially designated as a National Historic Landmark. 
  • Over the years, Intrepid has, and still hosts many special events  including wrestling events, press conferences, parties and the FBI operations center after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

2006–2008 renovation

Throughout these several years, the Intrepid museum operated a fund it’s  restoration, raising over $60 million to refit Intrepid, to improve its exhibits for visitors, and improve Pier 86. 

USS Intrepid docked at Pier 86 on the Hudson River in NY

In early July 2006, it was announced that Intrepid would undergo renovations and repairs, along with Pier 86 itself. It closed on 1 October 2006, in preparation for its towing to Bayonne, New Jersey for repairs, and later Staten Island, New York, for renovation and temporary docking.

On 6 November 2006, an attempt to remove the aircraft carrier from the pier for restoration was temporarily put on hold by the Coast Guard. Despite the use of several tugs with a combined 30,000 hp (22,000 kW), officials said the ship was stuck in 24 years worth of accumulated silt and would not move. 

On 11 November 2006, the United States Navy announced that it would spend $3 million to dredge the mud and silt from under Intrepid. The effort was led by the United States Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving with assistance from the United States Army Corps of Engineers, United States Coast Guard, and contractors. The teams operated for three weeks to clear the site of mud and silt.

On 5 December 2006, after the removal of 39,000 cu yd (30,000 m3) of muck from under the ship and around its four giant screws, Intrepid was successfully removed from its pier and was towed to Bayonne.

Intrepid made a D-Day “landing” on Staten Island, 6 June 2007, after being towed from a slip at Bayonne Dry Dock & Repair Corp.

While in Staten Island, Intrepid underwent the next phase of her refurbishment, and received an $8 million interior renovation. Never-before-seen areas of the ship including the forecastle (fo’c’sle, commonly known as the anchor chain room), general berthing quarters and the ship’s machine shop were opened to the public for the first time. The hangar deck now features a new layout and design including new interactive exhibits. Total cost of the renovation was $120 million — $55 million for the ship and $65 million for Pier 86.

The carrier was towed back into place on the Hudson River on 2 October 2008 and reopened to the public on 8 November. 

The story of the Intrepid‘s move was featured on the History Channel’s Mega Movers’s program. The episode was titled “Intrepid: On the Move” and premiered 5 July 2007.

The ship has been featured in blockbuster films, including Aftershock: Earthquake in New York, the 2004 film National Treasure and the 2007 film I Am Legend, as well as Bordello: House of the Rising Sun.

The ship can be seen briefly in a shot of New York in the last few seconds of the series finale of The Suite Life on Deck, next to the SS Tipton being dismantled.