First, some vital statistics…
Class: Essex (short hull group) Aircraft Carrier
Launched: April 26, 1943
At: Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Newport News, Virginia
Commissioned: August 16, 1943
Modernized: in 1954 and 1959
Length: 898 feet, as converted
Beam: 103 feet
Draft: 32 feet
Displacement: 33,292 tons
Armament: World War II: 90+ aircraft; twelve 5-inch/38 caliber, 40mm and 20mm guns. Post War: 45+ aircraft, four 5-inch/38 caliber guns
Crew : 3,400 (wartime)
A brief history…
The fourth in a series of United States Navy ships to hold the title of “Intrepid”. Her claim to fame came during World War II in the Pacific theater. Nicknamed the “Fighting I”, the Intrepid proved to be damn near indestructible. She managed to survive numerous kamikaze attacks as well as fending off several direct hits from bombs . She also participated in the Battle for Leyte Gulf, (the largest naval battle in history). Her record in combat is pretty impressive. All in all she has been credited with shooting down over 600 Japanese aircraft. Her record against the Japanese Navy is not too shabby either. She is credited with the sinking of two Japanese superbattleships, the “Musashi” and the “Yamato” as well as numerous other smaller ships.
After the war the ship was decommissioned in 1947 but was returned to service (after some overhauling) to participate in the Korean War in 1952.In 1962, she acted as NASA’s Prime Recovery Ship to retrieve Scott Carpenter and the Mercury capsule. She would later relive this experience in 1965 when she picked up astronauts Gus Grissom and John Young upon their return from outer space. In between, she participated the blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and later on served three tours of duty off the coast of Viet Nam. In 1974 after over 25 years of service, she was once again decommissioned. It’s beginning to look like she’s destined for the scrap heap. But…
Who says there’s no life after being decommissioned?
In 1976, after participating in the bicentennial celebrations, the decks of the Intrepid become quiet. In 1978, a foundation was established with the intent of turning her into a floating museum, and in 1982, the decks are opened to the public with the creation of the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum. Docked in New York City, her decks hold more than 30 aircraft representing each branch of the U.S. military. The British, French and former Soviet Union also contributed to the cause by allowing some of their aircraft to also be displayed. In 1984, she was given the distinction of National Historic Landmark. Remarkably, throughout her career, over 50,000 servicemen have called her decks home and she is still being greeted by thousands of visitors every year.
Did You Know?
That on November 14, 1969 the USS Intrepid landed on the moon with an all Navy crew. Better known as Apollo 12, the lunar module was nicknamed the Intrepid” and manned by astronauts Charles Conrad - Commander, Richard F. Gordon – Command Module Pilot and Alan L. Bean – Lunar Module Pilot, all Navy personnel.