USS Intrepid (CV-11)

For other ships with the same name, see USS Intrepid.
USS Intrepid (CV-11) in the Philippine Sea, November 1944
Name: Intrepid
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding
Laid down: 1 December 1941
Launched: 26 April 1943
Commissioned: 16 August 1943
Decommissioned: 22 March 1947
Recommissioned: 9 February 1952
Decommissioned: 9 April 1952
Recommissioned: 18 June 1954
Decommissioned: 15 March 1974
  • CVA-11 on 1 October 1952
  • CVS-11 on 31 March 1962
Struck: 23 February 1982
Nickname(s): "Fighting I", "Dry I"
Status: Museum ship at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City.
General characteristics
Class and type: Essex-class aircraft carrier
  • As built:
  • 27,100 tons standard
  • 36,380 tons full load
  • As built:
  • 820 feet (250 m) waterline
  • 872 feet (266 m) overall
  • As built:
  • 93 feet (28 m) waterline
  • 147 feet 6 inches (45 m) overall
  • As built:
  • 28 feet 5 inches (8.66 m) light
  • 34 feet 2 inches (10.41 m) full load
Decks: 3
  • As designed:
  • 8 × boilers 565 psi (3,900 kPa) 850 °F (450 °C)
  • 4 × Westinghouse geared steam turbines
  • 4 × shafts
  • 150,000 shp (110 MW)
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h)
Range: 20,000 nautical miles (37,000 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h)
  • As built:
  • 2,600 officers and enlisted
  • As built:
  • 4 × twin 5 inch (127 mm) 38 caliber guns
  • 4 × single 5 inch (127 mm) 38 caliber guns
  • 8 × quadruple 40 mm 56 caliber guns
  • 46 × single 20 mm 78 caliber guns
  • As built:
  • 2.5 to 4 inch (60 to 100 mm) belt
  • 1.5 inch (40 mm) hangar and protectice decks
  • 4 inch (100 mm) bulkheads
  • 1.5 inch (40 mm) STS top and sides of pilot house
  • 2.5 inch (60 mm) top of steering gear
Aircraft carried:
  • As built:
  • 90–100 aircraft
  • 1 × deck-edge elevator
  • 2 × centerline elevators

USS Intrepid (CV/CVA/CVS-11), also known as The Fighting "I", is one of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers built during World War II for the United States Navy. She is the fourth US Navy ship to bear the name. Commissioned in August 1943, Intrepid participated in several campaigns in the Pacific Theater of Operations, most notably the Battle of Leyte Gulf. Decommissioned shortly after the end of the war, she was modernized and recommissioned in the early 1950s as an attack carrier (CVA), and then eventually became an antisubmarine carrier (CVS). In her second career, she served mainly in the Atlantic, but also participated in the Vietnam War. Her notable achievements include being the recovery ship for a Mercury and a Gemini space mission. Because of her prominent role in battle, she was nicknamed "the Fighting I", while her frequent bad luck and time spent in dry dock for repairs—she was torpedoed once and hit by four separate Japanese kamikaze aircraft—earned her the nicknames "Decrepit" and "the Dry I". Decommissioned in 1974, in 1982 Intrepid became the foundation of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City.

Construction and commissioning

Intrepid was launched on 26 April 1943 by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Virginia, the fifth Essex-class aircraft carrier to be launched. She was sponsored by the wife of Vice Admiral John H. Hoover. On 16 August 1943, she was commissioned with Captain Thomas L. Sprague in command before heading to the Caribbean for shakedown and training.[1] Intrepid's motto upon setting sail was "In Mare In Caelo", which means "On the sea, in the sky", "In the sea in Heaven",[2] or "On the sea and in the air".[3]

Service history

World War II

Intrepid has a distinguished service record, seeing active service in the Pacific Theater including the Marshall Islands, Truk, Leyte Gulf, and Okinawa. At war's end, she was in Enewetak and soon supported occupation forces[1] providing air support and supply services before heading back to California.[4]

Marshalls, January–February 1944

On 3 December 1943: Intrepid sailed from Naval Station Norfolk for San Francisco, then to Hawaii. She arrived at Pearl Harbor and prepared for the invasion of the Marshall Islands, the next objective in the Navy's island-hopping campaign. On 16 January Intrepid left Pearl Harbor with carriers Cabot and Essex. Starting on 29 January Intrepid raided islands in the northeastern corner of the Kwajalein Atoll and by 31 January all 83 Japanese aircraft stationed on Roi-Namur. The first landings were made on adjacent islets. That morning, Intrepid's aircraft strafed Ennuebing Island until 10 minutes before the first Marines reached the beaches. Thirty minutes later, the islet – which protected Roi's southwestern flank and controlled the North Pass into the Kwajalein Lagoon – was secured, enabling Marines to set up artillery to support their assault on Roi. On 2 February Intrepid headed for Truk, the Japanese naval base in the center of Micronesia. On 16 February the Intrepid, as part of Task Force 58, began airstrikes against Truk atoll as part of Operation Hailstone. The Japanese lost several warships and merchant vessels, alongside several hundred aircraft. The carrier raid demonstrated Truk's vulnerability and thereby greatly curtailed its usefulness to the Japanese as a base. On the night of 17–18 February, the Intrepid was struck by a torpedo from a Japanese aircraft. The torpedo struck Intrepid's starboard quarter, 15 ft (5 m) below her waterline, flooding several compartments, distorting her rudder and killing 11 crewmen. By running her port engines at full power and stopping her starboard engines or running them at ⅓ ahead, Captain Sprague kept her roughly on course. Her crew moved all the aircraft on deck forward to increase her headsail to further aid in control.[5] Two days later, on 19 February, strong winds overpowered the improvised steering and left her with her bow pointed toward Tokyo. Sprague later confessed: "Right then I wasn't interested in going in that direction." At this point the crew made a jury-rig sail of wood, cargo nets, and canvas to further increase her headsail, allowing Intrepid to hold her course. Intrepid arrived at Pearl Harbour for temporary repairs on 24 February and departed for the West Coast on 16 March. On 22 March she arrived at Hunter's Point, California. Several months later, in June, Intrepid moved to Pearl Harbour for two months of operations in the Marshall Islands.

Palaus and Philippines, September–November 1944

Crewmen aboard New Jersey watch as a Japanese plane prepares to strike Intrepid.
Burial at sea for the victims of a Japanese bombing attack on Intrepid during operations in the Philippines, 26 November 1944.

Okinawa and Japan, March–December 1945


Decommissioning and conversion to attack carrier

Intrepid during her SCB-27C modernization.

On 4 February 1946, Intrepid moved to San Francisco Bay. The carrier was reduced in status to "commission in reserve" on 15 August, and she was decommissioned on 22 March 1947. After her decommissioning, the Intrepid became part of the Pacific Reserve Fleet. On 9 February 1952, she was recommissioned and on 12 March began the voyage to Norfolk, where the carrier would receive SCB-27C modernization to operate jet aircraft as an attack aircraft carrier. On 9 April, the Intrepid was temporarily decommissioned for the modernization at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. On 1 October, she was reclassified as attack carrier CVA-11 and recommissioned in reserve on 18 June 1954. On 13 October, the carrier became the first to launch aircraft with American-built steam catapults. Two days later, the Intrepid became part of the Atlantic Fleet in full commission.[1]

Top views of USS Intrepid after SCB-27C (left) and SCB-125 (right).


Intrepid operating as an attack carrier in the early 1960s.

In 1955, Intrepid conducted her shakedown cruise out of Guantánamo Bay. On 28 May, she departed Mayport, Florida, for the first of two deployments in the Mediterranean with the 6th Fleet. The Intrepid returned to Norfolk from the second deployment on 5 September. On 29 September, she entered the New York Navy Yard for her SCB-125 modernization, which added an enclosed bow and an angled flight deck. After the end of the modernization in April 1957, Intrepid conducted refresher training out of Guantánamo Bay. In September, she participated in Operation Strikeback, the largest peacetime naval exercise up to that time in history, which simulated a Soviet attack on NATO. In December, operating from Norfolk, she conducted Operation Crosswind, a study of the effects of wind on carrier launches. The study proved that carriers could safely conduct flight operations without turning into the wind and even launch aircraft while steaming downwind. Between 1958 and 1961, Intrepid alternated Mediterranean deployments with operations along the Atlantic coast of the United States and exercises in the Caribbean.[1]


The Gemini 3 spacecraft alongside Intrepid, 23 March 1965.

Intrepid was reclassified to an anti-submarine warfare carrier, CVS-11, on 8 December 1961. On 10 March 1962, the carrier entered the Norfolk Navy Yard for overhaul and refit for her new anti-submarine warfare role. After the completion of the overhaul and refit, she departed on 2 April with Carrier Antisubmarine Air Group 56 embarked. After training exercises, Intrepid was selected as the principal ship in the recovery team for astronaut Scott Carpenter and his Project Mercury space capsule, Aurora 7. Shortly before noon on 24 May 1962, Carpenter splashed down in Aurora 7 several hundred miles from Intrepid. Minutes after he was located by land-based search aircraft, two helicopters from Intrepid, carrying NASA officials, medical experts, Navy frogmen, and photographers, were airborne and headed to the rescue. One of the choppers picked him up over an hour later and flew him to the carrier which safely returned him to the United States. Intrepid spent the summer of 1962 training midshipmen at sea, and received a thorough overhaul at Norfolk in the fall.[1]

On 23 January 1963, the carrier departed Hampton Roads for warfare exercises in the Caribbean. In late February, she interrupted these operations to join a sea hunt for the Venezuelan freighter Anzoátegui, whose mutinous second mate had led a group of pro-Castro terrorists in hijacking the vessel. After the Communist pirates had surrendered at Rio de Janeiro, the carrier returned to Norfolk on 23 March. Intrepid operated along the Atlantic Coast for the next year from Nova Scotia to the Caribbean perfecting her antisubmarine techniques. On 11 June 1964, she left Norfolk carrying midshipmen to the Mediterranean for a hunter-killer at sea training with the 6th Fleet. While in the Mediterranean, Intrepid aided in the surveillance of a Soviet task group. En route home her crew learned that she had won the coveted Battle Efficiency "E" for antisubmarine warfare during the previous fiscal year. In the fall of 1964, the carrier operated along the East Coast. In early September, Intrepid entertained 22 NATO statesmen as part of their tour of U.S. military installations. Between 18–19 October 1964, the Intrepid was at Yorktown for ceremonies commemorating Lord Cornwallis's surrender 183 years before. The French Ambassador attended the ceremony and presented the U.S. with 12 cannon cast from molds found in the Bastille, replicas of those brought to American forces by Lafayette.[1]

On the night of 21 November, during a brief deployment off North Carolina, swift and efficient rescue procedures saved the life of an airman Jenner Sanders, who fell overboard while driving an aircraft towing tractor. In early 1965, Intrepid began preparations for a vital role in NASA's first manned Gemini flight, Gemini 3. On 23 March, Lieutenant Commander John Young and Major Gus Grissom in Molly Brown (the Gemini 3 spacecraft) splashed down some 50 nmi (90 km) from Intrepid after history's first controlled re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere ended the pair's nearly perfect three-orbit flight aboard Gemini 3. A Navy helicopter lifted the astronauts from the spacecraft and flew them to Intrepid for medical examination and debriefing. Later, Intrepid retrieved Molly Brown and returned the spacecraft and astronauts to Cape Kennedy.[1]


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

After this mission Intrepid entered the Brooklyn Navy Yard in April for a major overhaul to bring her back to peak combat readiness. This was the final Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization job performed by the New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, New York, which was scheduled to close. In September 1965, Intrepid, with her work approximately 75% completed, eased down the East River to moor at the Naval Supply Depot at Bayonne, New Jersey, for the completion of her multimillion-dollar overhaul. After builder's sea trials and fitting out at Norfolk she sailed to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba on a shakedown cruise.[1]

From April 1966 to February 1969, Intrepid made three Vietnam deployments, with Carrier Air Wing 10 embarked.[7] Mid-1966 found Intrepid with the Pacific Fleet off Vietnam. Nine A-4 Skyhawks and six A-1 Skyraiders, loaded with bombs and rockets, were catapulted in seven minutes, with only a 28-second interval between launches. A few days later planes were launched at 26-second intervals. After seven months of service with the United States Seventh Fleet off Vietnam, Intrepid returned to Norfolk having earned her Commanding Officer, Captain John W. Fair, the Legion of Merit for combat operations in Southeast Asia.[1]

On 9 October 1966 Lieutenant, junior grade William T. Patton of VA-176 from Intrepid, flying a propeller driven A-1H Skyraider, shot down one MiG-17. For the action, Lieutenant (jg) Patton was awarded the Silver Star.

In June 1967, Intrepid returned to the Western Pacific by way of the Suez Canal just prior to its closing during the Israeli-Arab crisis. There she began another tour with the Seventh Fleet.[1]

In 1968, Intrepid won the Marjorie Sterrett Battleship Fund Award for the Atlantic Fleet. For Carrier Air Wing 10's final cruise aboard Intrepid from 4 June 1968 to 8 February 1969 off Southeast Asia, the wing consisted of VF-111 Detachment 11 (F-8C), VA-106 with the A-4E, VA-66 Waldos (A-4C), VFP-63 Detachment 11 (RF-8G), VA-36 'Roadrunners' (A-4C), VAQ-33 Detachment 11 (EA-1F), VAW-121 Detachment 11 (E-1B), and HC-2 Detachment 11.[7]

Intrepid operating in the Mediterranean in the 1970s.

In 1969, Intrepid was home ported at Naval Air Station Quonset Point, Rhode Island, relieving Yorktown as the flagship for Commander Carrier Division 16. In the fall, the ship was run aground by Captain Horus E. Moore, but was freed within two hours. From April–October 1971, Intrepid took part in NATO exercises, and made calls in the North Atlantic and Mediterranean ports of Lisbon, Plymouth, Kiel, Naples, Cannes, Barcelona, Hamburg, Copenhagen, Greenock, Rosyth, Portsmouth, and Bergen. During this cruise, submarine detection operations were conducted in the Baltic and at the edge of the Barents Sea above the Arctic Circle, under close scrutiny of Soviet air and naval forces. She subsequently returned to her homeport to be refitted.

Beginning in July 1972, Intrepid participated once again in NATO exercises, visiting Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Bergen, Brussels, Portsmouth and Gourock. Intrepid found herself in the Barents and made round the clock flight operations as she was above the Arctic Circle. She cut her North Atlantic cruise short, returned to Quonset point for a mini-overhaul. She made her final cruise in the Mediterranean, stopping twice in Barcelona and Malaga Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; Nice, France; Naples, Italy; Palma, Majorca; and Piraeus, Greece once. Due to fuel limitations Intrepid spent as much time in port as she did underway.

On 15 March 1974, Intrepid was decommissioned for the final time.

Preservation as museum ship

USS Intrepid

Intrepid functioning as the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City.
Location Intrepid Square, New York City
Coordinates 40°45′53″N 74°00′04″W / 40.7648°N 74.0010°W / 40.7648; -74.0010Coordinates: 40°45′53″N 74°00′04″W / 40.7648°N 74.0010°W / 40.7648; -74.0010
Built 1941
Architect Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock
NRHP Reference # 86000082
Significant dates
Added to NRHP 14 January 1986[8]
Designated NHL 14 January 1986[9]

In 1976, Intrepid was moored at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in Philadelphia and hosted exhibits as part of the United States Bicentennial celebrations.

Plans originally called for Intrepid to be scrapped after decommissioning, but a campaign led by real estate developers Zachary and Larry Fisher and the Intrepid Museum Foundation saved the carrier and established it as a museum ship. In August 1982, the ship opened in New York City as the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum. Four years later, Intrepid was officially designated as a National Historic Landmark.[9][10]

Over the years, Intrepid has hosted many special events including wrestling events, press conferences, parties and the FBI operations center after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.[11]

2006–2008 renovation

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

An aerial view of the USS Intrepid docked at pier 86.
USS Intrepid docked at Pier 86
Army Helicopter on Intrepid
Jets on Intrepid

In early July 2006, it was announced that Intrepid would undergo renovations and repairs, along with Pier 86 itself. It closed on 1 October 2006, in preparation for its towing to Bayonne, New Jersey for repairs, and later Staten Island, New York for renovation and temporary docking.[12][13]

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

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

On 5 December 2006, after the removal of 39,000 cu yd (30,000 m3) of muck from under the ship and around its four giant screws, Intrepid was successfully removed from its pier and was towed to Bayonne.[14]

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

While in Staten Island, Intrepid underwent the next phase of her refurbishment, and received an $8 million interior renovation. Never-before-seen areas of the ship including the forecastle (fo'c'sle, commonly known as the anchor chain room), general berthing quarters and the ship's machine shop were opened to the public for the first time. The hangar deck features a new layout and design including new interactive exhibits. Around 1,200 tons of her original weight in steel were removed and 339 epoxy-coated steel pilings ranging in length from 60 to 183 feet were installed. Intrepid also received a new coat of paint, using almost 7,000 gallons to re-paint the interior, hull, towers, and decks. Total cost of the renovation was $120 million — $55 million for the ship and $65 million for Pier 86.[15]

The carrier was towed back into place on the Hudson River on 2 October 2008 and reopened to the public on 8 November.[15]

Enterprise touching down on Intrepid
USS Intrepid (CV-11)

On 12 December 2011, ownership of the Space Shuttle Enterprise was officially transferred to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City.[16][17][18] In preparation for the anticipated relocation, engineers evaluated the vehicle in early 2010 and determined that it was safe to fly on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft once again.[19] At approximately 9:40 am Eastern Daylight Time on 27 April 2012 Enterprise took off from Dulles International Airport en route to a fly-by over the Hudson River, New York's JFK International Airport, the Statue of Liberty, the George Washington and Verrazano-Narrows Bridges, and several other landmarks in the city; in an approximately 45-minute "final tour". At 11:23 am Eastern Daylight Time Enterprise touched down at JFK International Airport.[20]

The mobile Mate-Demate Device and cranes were transported from Dulles to the ramp at JFK and the shuttle was removed from the SCA overnight on 12 May 2012, placed on a specially designed flat bed trailer and returned to Hangar 12.[21] On 3 June a Weeks Marine barge took Enterprise to Jersey City. The Shuttle sustained cosmetic damage to a wingtip when a gust of wind blew the barge towards a piling.[22] It was hoisted 6 June onto the Intrepid Museum in Manhattan.[23]

The Enterprise went on public display on 19 July 2012, at the Intrepid Museum's new Space Shuttle Pavilion.[24]

The Intrepid with the USS Growler (SSG-577) in the lower left during Fleet Week 2010

Notable popular culture appearances

USS Intrepid (CV-11)

The story of the Intrepid's move was featured on the History Channel's Mega Movers program. The episode was titled "Intrepid: On the Move", and premiered 5 July 2007.

The ship has been featured in blockbuster films, including Aftershock: Earthquake in New York, the 2004 film National Treasure and the 2007 film I Am Legend.[25][26]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Intrepid IV (CV-11)". Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Navy Department, Naval History & Heritage Command. 22 July 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  2. Parker, Eloise (4 November 2008). "50 facts about the Intrepid: The floating museum is back after big renovation". New York Daily News. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  3. White & Gandt 2008, p. 9.
  4., official website for the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, via
  5. "U.S.S. INTREPID – handling of after Battle Damage.", Captain T. L. Sprague, USS Intrepid
  6. "Honoring our Heroes" (Press release). North Penn Reporter. 28 May 2004. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
  7. 1 2
  8. National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  9. 1 2 "INTREPID, USS (Aircraft Carrier)". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-01-26.
  10. Harry A. Butowsky (May 1985). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: USS Intrepid (CV-11)" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-06-22. and Accompanying 8 photos, exterior and interior, from 1982, 1983, 1984, and 1944. (1.27 MB)
  11. Milton, Pat (7 November 2006). "Mud Stops USS Intrepid Move From N.Y. Pier". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  12. "The Intrepid Will Be Temporarily Moved and Pier 86 Will be Reconstructed Under an Historic $55 Million-Plus Capital Expansion Plan". Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum. Archived from the original on 5 October 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  13. "Intrepid to Close for Repairs, Renovation". Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  14. "Briefly, Slowly, Intrepid Moves Again"New York Times
  15. 1 2 Pyle, Richard, "Aircraft carrier survived wars, years of decay", Associated Press (printed in the Washington Times, p. 10), 30 September 2008.
  16. Pearlman, Robert Z (12 December 2011). "Intrepid Museum Celebrates Ownership of Space Shuttle Enterprise". CollectSpace. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  17. "NASA Transfers Enterprise Title to Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City". 11 December 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  18. "NASA Transfers Title to Space Shuttle Orbiter Enterprise to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City" (Press release). PRWeb. 22 November 2011. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
  19. Bergin, Chris (14 March 2010). "Enterprise in good condition for potential SCA ferry from Smithsonian NASM". Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  20. Shamburger, Merideth. "In Photos: Enterprise Takes Flight Over Hudson". The Tarrytown Daily Voice. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  21. Pearlman, Robert Z (1 March 2012). "Space shuttle Enterprise lands in New York City on April 23". CollectSPACE. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  22. Ludka, Alexandra (5 June 2012). "Space Shuttle Enterprise Damaged On Way to New Home". ABC News. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  23. "Enterprise to spend day in Jersey City". Associated Press. 4 June 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  24. Katz, Alex (18 July 2012). "Space shuttle Enterprise set to open to public". Bradenton Herald. Retrieved 18 July 2012.
  26. "Episode: Intrepid: On the Move".


Further reading

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