Meritorious Mast

Information found in THE INTREPID Newsletter Vol. 3, Num 4 of Oct 1945

Citations from Com First Car Task For, Pac award to: Naylor, Wm. B., ACOM, Ivcic, Walter S., AOM2c, Samuels, Edgar N., S1c

Presidential Unit Citations awarded to: Pyle, R. G., PhM1c, Preston, F. A., PhM3c

Bronze Star Medal awarded to: Schwabe, L. R., Lt. Cmdr., USN, Treuer, G.E., Lieut., USN,   Luce, S. L., Lt.(jg), USNR, Ross, H. M., ACOM … Watson, A. J., AMM2c was awarded the Bronze Star Medal posthumously

Purple Hearts: Altman, R., S1c, Bailey, H., S1c, Bass, R., StM1c, Beavers, H. N., S1c, Boyington, L. S., S1c, Bowen, C. K., S1c, Brookens, M. L., F1c, Carpenter, M. F., S2c, Cifelli, A. P. B., Pfc, Clark, O., SC3c, Cleothlis, G. A., S1c, Coggins, C. G., S2c, Dooley, L. A., S1c, Dimmick, G. C., Pfc, Dunning, T. A., S1c, Eads, J. E., S1c, Eagan, J. P., S1c,  Foster, C. H., Jr., S2c,  Forguer, R. R., S1c, Garner, F. E., S2c, Gilliam, E. T., S1c, Gibbs, J. C., S1c, Gomez, A. A., S2c, Gray, E. R., S2c, Grimes, J. L., S2c,  Harper, R. N., AON2c, Heiland, R. J., S2c, Hendrix, W. B., Pfc,  Hiatt, L. R., S2c, Kahle, R. L., S2c, Maile, J. W., S1c, Mayberry, J. E., S1c, Mayo, J. B., S2c, Mertz, H. A., EM3, Metcalf, B. E., S1c, Mouzon, H. F., StM1c, McDowell, M. F., S2c, Pavitt, G. F., AOM3c, Powell, W. K., AOM2c, Richard, J. G., StM1c, Reeves, S. T., S2c, Sapp, S. R., S1c, Shaforth, F. H., S1c, Sommerville, G. A., Cpl, Stensberg, K. W., EM1c, Swointeck, C. B., S1c, Svoboda, C., S2c,  Treece, A. H., St3c, Toland, H., Jr., S1c, Underwood, O., S1c, Walker, I. N., Pfc, Wallace, C. M., F2c, Whitaker, J. L., S1c

Ref: THE INTREPID newsletter, Volume 3, Number 4, October 1945


The Intrepid Band

Information found in THE INTREPID Newsletter Vol. 3, Num 4 of Oct 1945

Murray-Led Band Reports Aboard

One day last April at the Washington Music School  22 musicians were assembled with Chief Bandmaster Arthur Murray and told that it was Navy Unit Band 98. And thus the INTREPID BAND was born.

Within a month’s time, the band reported aboard and was beginning to play the music that sailors love to hear. It is easy enough to get two or three musicians to make a song sound something like it is supposed to, but when you take 22 men, who had never seen each other before, you have a job. And that is the task that was assigned to Chief Murray, a veteran of 19 years in the Navy.

The band is composed of five clarinet players, four men of the cornet, two on the saxophone, two French hornists, three trombonists, two drummers, two tuba players and one man each on the baritone and the piccolo.

Chief Murray in his 19 years of service has served aboard 16 ships and two shore stations. His ships have included nine cruisers, four destroyer or seaplane tenders and one battleship. the INTREPID is his first carrier and he, speaking for the band as well as himself, says he really enjoys it here.

Band members include: Sauer, Dzoba, Norris, Combs, Carrier, Passalacqua, Lang, Morgan, Boyce, Elwell, O’Malley, Mancini, Larson, Fox, Mitchell, Sasse, Mulley, Koupel, Lenzi, Troyer, DeNeen ,and Ferdon.

Ref: THE INTREPID newsletter, Volume 3, Number 4, October 1945

“Our Air Group”

Information found in THE INTREPID Newsletter Vol. 3, Num 4 of Oct 1945

Now that fighting is a thing of the past, a few statistics of “Our Air Group” was always willing to tackle the enemy, and that is precisely what it did. Exactly 100 enemy aircraft were shot out of the skies, while 86 were destroyed on the ground. A total of 94 ships of all descriptions were either sunk or severely damaged.

Besides the attack on the battleship YAMATO and its escorts, the most outstanding encounter of the squadron happened on the morning of April 16 when one division of four planes bagged twenty Japs. Since then one of the pilots has been killed and he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross posthumously. The division leader was credited with six planes and was awarded the Navy Cross; his wingman bagged four planes and was awarded the Silver Star. The fourth man, who was awarded the Navy Cross, was high man of the day, gathering seven.

“Our Air Group” may soon be replaced, and at that time many facts that at present cannot be released will be published. One thing about these pilots and combat air crewmen, they certainly did their share in keeping up the traditions of the “Mighty I” and the Naval Air Corps.

Ref: THE INTREPID, Volume3, Number 4, October 1945

A Thought

Information found in THE INTREPID Newsletter Vol. 3, Num 4 of Oct 1945

     Joe sat on the flight deck with a cold and low morale. Other people thought he wind was warmed just right by the sun but Joe had chills along with a bad disposition.

     Usually the sight of an armada thrilled Joe but this morning those battlewagons and cruisers were just another item of the war that had kept hi in the service so long. Joe thought he would write a letter to his congressman and find out why the point system had to be so high and beyond him. Under this present system he would have another year tacked onto his three and a half of service.

     That island off to the starboard about ten miles looked dismal through the haze. Joe thought it would be good to stretch his legs even if he wasn’t at peace with the world. Walking forward along the starboard catwalk he bumped everybody that cam that way. Thinking, “I may as well let them know I’m around”.

It was kind of funny the way that island sat off on the horizon. Looked plenty small from back yonder but up close it got big and stared a guy in the face. The closer a fellow got the more of it appeared out of the haze. Joe stood there looking hard for what he wanted to see and suddenly a faint trace of an outline stuck its arm up into the sky.

“Mt. Suribachi” muttered Joe, and he lost some of that disgust for the world. He remembered that letter three weeks ago from the little woman telling him about all the guys from home that are buried out here.

Joe feels pretty cheap all of a sudden, he’s sitting almost at the foot of his friends’ graves and griping about a cold and a discharge. He says, “sure Joe, you’ve been fighting this war a long time but you’re still in one piece to talk about it.” Joe thinks its hell that people can forget so easily, he know that a lot of people in the states probably never realized the true meaning of Okinawa. Its more than a Nap name to Joe, it means ‘hell on earth’ and Joe does like a lot of other Joes will do, he says just a little prayer for those gyrenes and doggies who gave their lives for him and the rest of the U.S. population.

Ref: THE INTREPID newsletter, Volume 3, Number 4, October 1945

‘The KETCHER History’

FORMER CREWMEMBERS ... 'The Ketcher' History, as recorded here, is 
based on the copy of 'THE INTREPID' Newsletter, *Volume 3, Number 2 
of April 1945, in hand by this Blog Editor.
     If any former crewmember (FCM) has any earlier published copies of 
The Ketcher, this Editor would be greatly appreciative. Please 
contact the Editor by email at cv11texfcm@gmail.
                            *THE INTREPID
Commanding Officer, Captain Giles E. Short, USN
Executive Officer, Commander R.P. Kauffman, USN 
Supervising Editor, Lt.(jg) R. H. Smith
Editorial Staff
G. F. Pavitt AOM3c, Co-Editor
B. S. Nusbaum, Jr. RdM3c, News Editor
P. M.Jones, PhoM2c, Photographic Editor
Chaplain M.D.Safford, W. B. Naylor, ACOM,      Don Ickes, Y3c, 
R. J. Boyce, S1c.     W. Loff, PhoM3c.      Lt.(jg) N. C. Peterson
J.E.Kroeger,PhoM2c.  H. F. Krasin, PhoM1c.  T. H. Fredrickson, PhoM3cW. Loff, PhoM3c
H.J.Devlin,Prtr1c.   V. J. Lenzi, Prtr2c.      H. J. Stoll, Prtr3cD 
R. aleto, Prtr3c
Publication Censor
Lt. J. B. Kirsch

The U.S.S. INTREPID receives Camp Newspaper Service material. Republication 
of credited matter prohibited without permission of CNS, 205 E. 42ndSt., NYC 17

Cover: Photo overlay by Krueger, PhoM2c and Krasin, PhoM1c


USS Intrepid CV-11 – History

USS Intrepid CV-11 – History

Go to:

Intrepid Remembered

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

Go to:

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