Intrepid Fallen Heros Fund

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is a leader in supporting the men and women of the Armed Forces and their families. Begun in 2000 and established as an independent not-for-profit organization in 2003, the Fund has provided close to $150 million in support for the families of military personnel lost in service to our nation, and for severely wounded military personnel and veterans. These efforts are funded entirely with donations from the public, and hundreds of thousands of individuals have contributed to the Fund.

Family Support
From 2000 to 2005 the Fund provided close to $20 million to families of United States and British military personnel lost in performance of their duty, mostly in service in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Fund provided unrestricted grants to each spouse and dependent child; and to parents of unmarried service members. The payments were coordinated with the casualty offices of the Armed Forces, to ensure all eligible families received these benefits. In 2005 federal legislation substantially increased the benefits granted to these families. With that mission accomplished, the Fund redirected its support toward the severely injured.

The Center for the Intrepid
In January 2007 the Fund completed construction of the Center for the Intrepid, a $55 million world-class state-of-the-art physical rehabilitation center at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. The Center serves military personnel who have been catastrophically disabled in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and veterans severely injured in other operations and in the normal performance of their duties. The 60,000 square foot Center provides ample space and facilities for the rehabilitation needs of the patients and their caregivers. It includes modern physical rehabilitation equipment and extensive indoor and outdoor facilities.

National Intrepid Center of Excellence
Following the opening of the Center for the Intrepid, the Fund turned toward another critical issue faced by our wounded troops: the treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  The Fund addressed this need by constructing the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE). NICoE is a 72,000 square foot, two-story facility located on the Navy campus at Bethesda, Maryland, adjacent to the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, with close access to the Uniformed Services University, the National Institutes of Health, and the Veterans Health Administration. NICoE provides the most advanced services for advanced diagnostics, initial treatment plan and family education, introduction to therapeutic modalities, referral and reintegration support for military personnel and veterans with TBI and psychological health conditions. Further, NICoE conducts research, tests new protocols and provides comprehensive training and education to patients, providers and families while maintaining ongoing telehealth follow-up care with patients across the country and throughout the world. NICoE was dedicated on June 24th, 2010 and has now begun its critically important work.
Intrepid Spirit
In 2013 the Fund launched a new campaign to extend the care provided at NICoE to more service members suffering TBI and psychological health conditions. The Fund will build up to nine “Intrepid Spirit” centers at major military bases around the country. These centers will act as satellites to the central NIcoE facility and will allow urgently-needed care to be brought to more troops and closer to home. Construction of all nine centers will cost $100 million. Over $40 million has been raised to date and the first three centers at Fort Belvoir, VA, Camp Lejeune, NC, and Fort Campbell, KY are now in operation. The fourth and fifth centers are now under construction and raising the remaining $60 million will guarantee that additional centers can be built and put into operation to support our wounded heroes in uniform.

Intrepid Spirit Centers

Hundreds of thousands of military personnel have been diagnosed with some level of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the past decade, many as a result of combat injury. TBI and psychological health (PH) conditions can have long-term and sometimes severe effects on service members’ lives, affecting their ability to work, interact with others, manage basic living tasks, and even interact with their own families. Depression, inability to work or live normal lives, and more tragic consequences including suicide can result. Proper and immediate diagnosis and early treatment are crucial to addressing this critical need among America’s military personnel and veterans.

The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is addressing this critical need. Following the opening of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) in 2010, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund launched its current effort: building “Intrepid Spirit” centers to serve as satellites to NICoE and extend the care provided at NICoE out to the home bases of many of the troops suffering the effects of TBI and PH.

Each Intrepid Spirit center is approximately 25,000 square feet and costs approximately $11 million to build and equip. While much of the operation at NICoE involves research about TBI and PH conditions, Intrepid Spirit care focuses on diagnosis and treatment. Patient care in each center is approached in a manner similar to NICoE, with each Intrepid Spirit center incorporating the following facilities:
Intake/Clinic area including psychiatric testing, chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, neuro psych testing rooms, and typical exam rooms.

Physical Therapy with open gym layout with standard physical therapy equipment.

Sleep Lab equipped with a sleep system and ambient therapy music and a control room equipped with a computer monitoring system.

Central Park, a calm atmosphere for patient and family member relaxation and family education, with a meditative feel and including ambient therapy music.

Family Room, centrally located and adjacent to the outdoor patio, providing a space for patients and family to spend time together, a critical part of the healing process.

The network of Intrepid Spirit centers will provide the most advanced care possible to returning military personnel suffering from TBI and PH conditions; enhance the means of properly identifying and diagnosing these conditions; ensure the continued care of individual patients as they move through NICoE, military medical, VA and potentially external medical systems; and continuously research the causes and effects of these conditions to better understand them and develop the best care and treatment possible.

Intrepid Spirit Center program progress:

Completed Centers:
Fort Belvoir, Virginia, opened August 2013
Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, opened August 2013
Fort Campbell, Kentucky, opened August 2014

Centers under construction:
Fort Bragg, North Carolina, completion projected in 2015
Fort Hood, Texas, completion projected in 2015
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, completion projected in 2017

Three additional Intrepid Spirit centers are planned. Once complete, the Intrepid Spirit centers will treat thousands of patients annually, providing them and their families the most advanced care possible.

For in depth details, go to:


Some may not have been aware that the ‘Guest Book’ found on the Website found at … … was established in 2007 by a volunteer non-former Intrepid crewmember, Mr. Norman Drechsel,  to help promote – at the time – the USS Intrepid Association, Inc. (… recently renamed The USS Intrepid Former Crewmember Association). Some  may have noticed the lack of information being posted regarding ANY information coming from or regarding the USS Intrepid Former Crewmember Association on Mr. Dredhsel’s Website or in his Guest Book.

Going back a few years now, the Association opted out of utilizing Mr. Drechsel’s Website without the courtesy of any prior notification to Mr. Drechsel (except only that they were planning their on Website), but he has since opted to maintain the Guest Book as a courtesy to and in respect of ALL Former USS Intrepid (CV, CVA, CVS-11) Former Crewmembers (FCMs).

In appreciation to Mr. Drechsel and on behalf of ALL FCMs, I thank him for the many years and personal time he has devoted in supporting the USS Intrepid Association, Inc. by way of providing access to his Website and Guest Book for all who showed interest. And, I add, his Guest Book will still be available for those who still may be interested. – LET US NOT FORGET THOSE WHO HAVE GONE BEFORE US

John Simonetti, AMS3, V6 Div, Past President, USS Intrepid Association, Inc.,’03-’05,


USS Intrepid Former Crew Member UPDATE

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

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

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

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

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

just send your request to Ms Carly Goettel at


>>> The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund <<<







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.

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.




The Story of Fleetweek


Fleetweek really started out on the West Coast in San Francisco in the late 70’s or early 80’s.

One of the New York Navy League Council directors, Richard Scheuing was visiting in California & experienced the wonderful public relations that was generated. 

Upon his return he tried for a considerable time to generate the enthusiasm but encountered resistance.    A few years later, Dick became President of the Council & made it his goal. 

The first Fleetweek in New York occured in April, 1988. Initially the Navy committed six small ships. 

The Navy League could not do it alone so the New York Maritime headed by Paul Preus joined to sponsor the event.   The 88 & 89 celebrations were run by both organizations & then in 1990 the New York Council, Navy League took over. 

Another Director, Art Ward (succeeding Scheuing as president) had influential friends in Washington. 

Ward & Scheuing went to Washington & sat down with then AIRLANT,  VADM Richard Dunleavy.  Hoping to get either a Battle Ship or an Aircraft carrier.  To their surprise,  AIRLANT offered both a Battle Ship & an Aircraft Carrier…thus Fleetweek was born. 

The 1988 Fleetweek was led off by the USS America (CV-66) & the USS Iowa battleship. 

Terry Dougherty was the first to run Fleetweek followed by Bill White and Kristen Kelly (married to one of the Fishers).  

Representing the US Navy was Patrick Burns who was involved for several years.  His Successor was Maggie Sweeney.   Today and for the past few years the baton was passed to Victor Martinez. 

I was involved since 1988 by taking sailors and Marines out to dinner.   This started as a small group and eventually grew to my hosting two hundred Sailors and Marines to dinner every year. 

I bought fifty tickets to ‘Phantom of the Opera’  for three or four years for the troops  and the theatre gave an equal number or more.  Finally the Shubert Organization came to the rescue and provided free Broadway Theatre tickets since 1991 to the present.  In 2011, the Shubert Org. arranged for 560 tickets, more than half were orchestra seats. To date, they are responsible for providing more than 10,000 tickets… and THAT’S THE STORY.


 FCM Ralph Slane

The Real Story of How Intrepid Was Saved

It all started in 1973 when a team of enthusiastic people got together in an attempt to save aircraft carriers from the scrap heap.

With the idea of ‘establishing’ a STOL (Short Take Off Landing) Airport utilizing the former WWII carriers, USS Essex (CV-9) and USS Randolph (CV-15) the idea progressed. By removing both bow sections and welding the balance of the carrier hulls and flight decks together (i.e.: bow-to-bow), the combination of their flight decks could then be used as a landing strip to be located in the area of Pier 76, on the Hudson River, supporting special aircraft that can take off and land within limited runway length. One of the original enthusiasts, Mr. Michael Piccola, with a group called ‘Odysseys in Flight’, created a STOL‘diaorama’ aboard the Essex which proved to be an unsuccessful venture .

With the failure of the ‘Odysseys in Flight’ project, Piccola and his group, endeavored to obtain a ‘carrier’ for a somewhat similar purpose of utilizing it to display actual aircraft and other sea and space displays, thus establishing what would be called, for the lack of a better term, a Floating Naval Aircraft Museum.

The first attempt, prior to 1978, by ‘Odysseys in Flight’ to save a carrier was the USS Lexington (CV-16) – decommissioned on November 26, 1991- but the Lexington was already committed to become a museum and  now rests in Corpus Christi, TX. The second attempt was to gain access to the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42) which at that time, was promised to a private company. A third attempt was for the USS Shangri-La (CV-38), which, at that time, was pier side at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. And, by happen-stance, the USS Intrepid (CV-11) was moored on the opposite side of the Shangri-La. By the time enough backing was secured by ‘Odysseys in Flight’ for a carrier, the Shangri-La was too far gone to save.

Odysseys in Flight’ originally consisted of six members and in 1976 the group recruited Mr. James Ean and Mr. Larry Sowinski to assist in acquiring an aircraft carrier, for the purpose of converting it to their Museum.

The idea to do a make-over of an aircraft carrier to be a Museum in New York City was an idea that floated around for a couple of years, but it soon became apparent that in order to accomplish this considerable feat, the group had to acquire a berth along the Hudson River and also be able to show some financial viability and backing in order to have a vessel donated by the U.S. NAVY.  Thus, ‘Odysseys in Flight’ embarked on a pilgrimage. Before their quest was over, they had secured the approval of two Presidents of the United States – Carter and Reagan; Secretaries of the Navy Woolsey, Hildalgo, and Lehman; Mayors Beame and Koch; and four Port and Terminal Commissioners Mastriani, Gliedman, Heilbron and Seale.

In securing the interest of the Navy the group progressed up a ladder of friends who became enthusiasts for their undertaking. Advertising executive Mr. Michael Gillespie introduced them to Captain Ted Wilbur, editor of Naval Aviation News.  Wilbur, a former Navy fighter pilot and renowned aviation artist, had been part of the team that created the great Navy Air Exhibit in the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum. With his help ‘Odysseys in Flight’ climbed the Navy chain-of-command, ending with Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Hayward.

In New York, where the group had to secure a berth and financing – ultimately, over $20 million – the National Maritime Historical Society’s Chairman, the late Admiral John M. Will, led them to the late Rear Admiral John Bergen, a retired Naval Reserve officer prominent in the hotel business and dedicated to the project.  Mr. Dick Shortway, editor and publisher of VOGUE Magazine, arranged and set up a breakfast meeting, inviting some of the most influential people in the Big Apple.  It was then, a shy retiring type, Mr. Zachary Fisher, wearing a New York Yankee tie, was befriended by James Ean. The next morning a surprise phone call came to Ean from Mr. Fisher, an unassuming individual and business partner of New York based Fisher Brothers.

Note: Fisher, with his wife Elizabeth, eventually funded a campaign to turn the WWII aircraft carrier USS Intrepid into America’s largest naval museum, to memorialize the distinguished aircraft carrier and to honor the men and women of the armed forces and their families. The Museum, now known as The Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum is now one of America’s leading historic, cultural and educational institutions and has hosted more than 10 million visitors since first opening in 1982. The entire Fisher family is still the museum’s largest supporter and maintains seats on its Board of Directors.

In 1978, in need of a first rate; well known and accessible place for ‘Odysseys in Flight’s’ first major press conference, they were fortunate in obtaining a location.  As fate would have it, the top representative of the U.S. Customs Office in New York, Mr. Edward ‘Ed’ Coyne, provided ‘Odysseys in Flight’ with a first rate site at the U.S. Customs House that was, at that time, connected to the World Trade Center. Incidentally, Ed Coyne is a former WWII USS Intrepid crewmember, and no doubt, didn’t have a problem providing ‘Odysseys in Flight’ a suitable meeting place. Also present at this meeting was another enthusiastic and interested citizen – and film starMs. Maureen Ohara.

According to former Intrepid crewmember, Mr. Ralph W. Slane – ‘That’s the story.’

Anyone who thinks there is another version, please contact Ralph Slane at . Ralph has  original letterheads of ‘Odysseys in Flight’ and the original first formation of the Intrepid Museum Foundation, Inc. letterheads which lists the names of all the foundation’s Board Advisors and  Trustees.

Growth of the Intrepid

Navy VIPs gathered for the keel laying of the 3rd USS Intrepid, a steel *bark, at Mare Island Navy Yard on January 2, 1904. She was the first all steel ship constructed at the yard. Building 112 with the Navy Band on hand for the occasion.

                       The 4th USS Intrepid began its career as aircraft carrier CV-11.

                                            Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding

                                            Laid down:: December 1, 1941

                                            Launched: April 26 1943

                                            Commissioned: August 16, 1943

                                            Decommissioned: April 9, 1952

                                            Recommissioned: June 18, 1954

                                            Decommissioned: March 15, 1974

                                            Reclassified: CV to CVA – October 1, 1952

                                                                       CVA to CVS – March 31, 1962

It was commissioned only eighteen months later in 1943 and since has become a cultural icon for America and one of the most popular tourist’s sites in New York City…The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

It exists as a living memorial of the past and a tribute to the courage and bravery of the thousands who served aboard. Its interior has been renovated and preserved, creating of a multitude of exhibits that provide insight into Intrepid’s diverse past. Part of these exhibits boast a digital display of three cruise books, designed by the crew for the crew, memorializing the ships activity through World War II, the Jet Age and Vietnam.

In 1943, Intrepid was commissioned to serve in World War II, but she went on to become the primary recovery vessels for NASA. In the later years of her commissioning she also served three tours of duty in Vietnam, and provided submarine surveillance in the North Atlantic during the Cold War. These missions provide for a wide and diverse history, which is presented on the ship using various mediums to the satisfaction of its diverse audience that range from kindergarten students to older academic scholars. Its existence as a museum is a testament to history and American perseverance in warfare.

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is one of America’s leading historic, cultural and educational institutions. Its mission to honor heroes, educate the public, and inspire youth is an ambitious undertaking that is supported by a dedicated staff, a devoted Board of Trustees, and the continued patronage from the surrounding New York community. All have contributed to Intrepid’s long history of success, from its creation as a warship to its rehabilitation into a museum in 1982. The Fighting I, as it became known to its crew, served thirty-one years with the United States Navy and became one of America’s most decorated warships. After its decommissioning in 1974 it was destined for the scrap yard, until it was purchased for the purpose of creating a museum. Since its doors opened in 1982 the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum has seen ten million people come aboard. It served its mission in the Navy in the years of its commissioning, and continues to service the nation with its newly designed exhibits and refurbished interior.

Since its opening in the 1980s, 750,000 people visit the museum each year and 50,000 of them are children, k-12, whose schools have partnered with Intrepid for many of its various programs. The co-founders of the Museum, Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, looked at the aircraft carrier as a landmark in America’s vast military history, which could be used as an important educational tool.

Since the Fisher’s successfully saved the Intrepid from the scrap yard in the late 1970s it has served its mission of teaching America’s youth. The establishment of the Michael Tyler Fisher center for Education in 2005 has given a home to meetings, conferences, workshops and seminars for teachers, administrators and students associated with the NYC Public Schools and beyond. Intrepid’s mission to educate the public is at the heart of the Museum’s success as a historic institution and it hopes to continue that mission by expanding into the digital media world.

For the curators and staff at the Intrepid, displaying the hardware used on an aircraft carrier wasn’t enough. To honor those that fought for American freedoms, visitors have to understand the men’s lives in the context of their experiences on board. It’s important to display the humanity of the men who worked on the air craft carrier, most who were no older then nineteen years of age. It is hard to identify with the sailors and marines, if their individual stories are lost among displays of the evolution of flight. Thus, the Intrepid has put a great importance on displaying both artifacts that belonged to the crew and the stories that bind them to the Intrepid and the brotherhood it fostered.

The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is hoping to preserve the memory of this brotherhood by digitizing the collection of cruise books. It will then hope to create a website dedicated to portraying an accurate image about what life was like onboard from the perspective of its crew. The website will portray, in its first phase, three of the thirteen cruise books along with additional resources for scholars, young students and teachers. The long-term goals are to completely digitize all thirteen cruise books and incorporate them into the provided resources.

Too often in military narratives, the individuality of those who have served our nation and continue to serve is lost. What life was like for the men who served six to nine months on the Intrepid, is often lost in the greater context of war. Although preserved by the Museum, the exhibits can only reach those who visit. Creating a digitized collection and website honors the sacrifices the men made for the freedoms of Americans. With this free site, their experiences can be brought into classrooms and homes all over the world. There is no better way to display gratitude then honoring them by preserving the memories they cherished enough to record.

The cruise books were compiled by sailors who served onboard the Intrepid and like any yearbook have an assortment of photographs and text, which describe the events of the time period. Printed and bound on the home front, usually on the west coast, the crew members could purchase the book from the years they were deployed to remember their experiences and each other.

The books emerge today as an amazing primary resource, especially since the men were uncensored in there descriptions of events and could provide firsthand accounts of over thirty years of active military service. As an unparalleled educational tool for students of all ages, the cruise books can honor the memory of those who served the nation and teach important lessons about America’s past. Students often learn more from personal stories then they can ever hope to learn from a text book, which isolate them from history and the men and women who lived it.

In 2005 Mayor Giuliani stood on the Intrepid’s flight deck to proclaim that you “can’t stand on this deck without being an optimist”. After surviving the Second World War, three tours in Vietnam, becoming a primary recovering vessel for NASA, and looking for submarines in the cold war Intrepid took on its mission of becoming a Museum with pride. The Intrepid will continue to give back to the military community with digitizing the cruise books, hoping to continue its ambitious mission of honoring our heroes, educating the public and inspiring our youth.


The Story of Fleetweek in New York


Fleetweek really started out on the West Coast in San Francisco in the late 70’s or early 80’s.

One of the New York Navy League Council directors, Richard Scheuing was visiting in California & experienced the wonderful public relations that was generated.

Upon his return he tried for a considerable time to generate the enthusiasm but encountered resistance.    A few years later, Dick became President of the Council & made it his goal.

The first FLEETWEEK in New York occurred in 1988.   Initially the Navy committed six small ships and the first FLEETWEEK happened in April.

The Navy League could not do it alone so the New York Maritime headed by Paul Preus joined to sponsor the event.   The 88 & 89 FLEETWEEKS were run by both organizations & then in 1990 the New York Council, Navy League took over.

Another Director, Art Ward (succeeding Scheuing as president) had influential friends in Washington.

Ward & Scheuing went to Washington & sat down with then AIRLANT,  VADM RICHARD DUNLEAVY.  Hoping to get either a Battle Ship or an Aircraft carrier.  To their surprise,  AIRLANT offered both a Battle Ship & an Aircraft Carrier.   Thus FLEETWEEK was born.

1988 FLEETWEEK was led off by USS AMERICA CV-66 & the USS IOWA, BATTLE SHIP.

Terry Dougherty was the first to run FLEETWEEK followed by BILL WHITE & KRISTEN KELLY (married to one of the FISHER’S)

Representing the US NAVY was PATRICK BURNS.  Who was involved for several years.  His Successor was MAGGIE SWEENEY.   Today & for the past few years the baton was passed to VICTOR MARTINEZ.

I was involved since 1988 by taking sailors & Marines out to dinner.   This started as a small group & eventually grew to my hosting two hundred Sailors & Marines to dinner every year.

I bought fifty tickets to PHANTOM OF THE OPERA for three or four years for the troops  and the theatre gave an equal number or more.  Finally the SHUBERT ORGANIZATION came to the rescue & provided free Broadway Theatre tickets since 1991 to the present.  In 2011, THE SHUBERT ORGANIZATION arranged for 560 tickets.  More than half were orchestra seats.

To date, the SHUBERT ORGANIZATION was responsible for more than TEN THOUSAND  TICKETS over a twenty-one year association.

FCM Ralph Slane


USS Edson

An Educational Venue

          for former USS Intrepid (CV, CVA, CVS-11) Crewmembers 

Navy to Donate USS Edson to Naval Ship Museum

The Navy announced April 24, 2012 that the destroyer ex-Edson (DD 946) will be donated to the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum, a nonprofit organization, for permanent berthing and public display in Bay City, Mich.

Formal transfer of title and ownership of ex-Edson to the Museum occurs when the Museum removes the ship from the Navy’s ‘custody’ in Philadelphia. The Edson has been on display, along with the USS Intrepid at pier 86, on the Hudson River.

The Navy is thrilled that Edson has found a new home at the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum,” said Capt. Chris Pietras, the Navy’s Inactive Ships Program manager. “This ship has served her nation in wartime and peace for more than 50 years, and we’re pleased that the ship will continue to serve as a museum and memorial.”

USS Edson was launched Jan. 4, 1958, and its first deployment was to the western Pacific in January 1960.

It served during the Cold War and was deployed to Vietnam three separate times, during which it earned three Meritorious Unit Citations.

Following its decommissioning Dec. 15, 1988, ex-Edson was donated to the USS Intrepid Foundation in 1989 and served as a museum ship at the USS Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City from 1989 to 2004. The ship was designated as a National Historic Landmark June 21, 1990.

In October 2003, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum formally requested to return ex-Edson to the Navy due to extensive pier repairs that would have rendered the ship’s berthing area uninhabitable for an extended period. The Navy accepted this offer, and the ship was again advertised for donation in June 2004.

Two other ships of the Forrest Sherman class of destroyers are on public display. Ex-Turner Joy (DD 951) is owned by the Bremerton Historic Ships Association for public display in Bremerton, Wash., and ex-Barry (DD 933) is owned by the Navy for public display at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C.

The Navy donates historic ships to promote public interest in the defense of the nation, to commemorate naval history and heritage, and to honor the men and women who built and sailed these ships.


This Educational Venue is for former Intrepid Crewmembers

who served …’with pride and dedication’