USS Intrepid CV-11




(CV-11: dp. 27,100, 1. 872'; b. 147'6"; dr. 28'7"; s. 33 k; cpl. 3,448; a. 12 5", 68 40mm., over 80 act; cl. Essex) The fourth Intrepid was launched 26 April 1943 by Newport News Shiphuilding& Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va.; sponsored by Mrs. John Howard Hoover;and commissioned 16 August, Captain Thomas L. Sprague in command.

After training in the Caribbean Intrepid departed Norfolk 3 December1943 for San Francisco, then to Hawaii. She arrived Pearl Harbor 10 Januaryand prepared for the invasion of the Marshall Islands, the next objective in the Navy's mighty island-hopping campaign. She sortied from Pearl Harbor with carriers Cabot and Essex, 16 January to raid islands at the northeastern corner of Kwajalein Atoll 29 January 1944 and pressed the attack until thelast opposition had vanished 2 February. The raids destroyed all of the83 Japanese planes based on Roi and Namur before the Jirst landings weremade on adjacent islets 31 January. That morning Intrepid's planes strafedEnnuebing Island until 10 minutes before the first marines reached the beaches.Half an hour later that islet, which protected Roi's southwestern ftankand controlled the North Pass into Kwajalein Lagoon, was secured, enablingmarines to set up artillery to support their assault on Roi.

Her work in the capture of the Marshalls finished, Intrepid headed for Truk, the tough Japanese base in the center of Micronesia. Three fast carrier groups arrived undetected daybreak the 17th, sinking two destroyers and200,000 tons of merchant shipping in 2 days of almost continuous attacks.Moreover, the carrier raid demonstrated Truk's vulnerability and therebygreatly curtailed its usfulness to the Japanese as a base.

The night of 17 February 1944 an aerial torpedo struck Intrepid's starboard quarter, 15 feet below her waterline, flooding several compartments andjamming her rudder hard to port. By racing her port screw and idling herstarboard engine, Captain Sprague kept her on course until 2 days laterstrong winds swung her back and forth and tended to weathercock her withher bow pointed toward Tokyo. Sprague later confessed: "Right thenI wasn't interested in going in that direction." At this point thecrew fashioned a jury-rig sail of hatch covers and scrap canvas which swungIntrepid about and held her on course. Decorated by her crazy-quilt sail,Intrepid stood into Pearl Harbor 24 February 1944.

After temporary repairs, Intrepid sailed for the West Coast 16 Marchand arrived Hunters Point, Calif., the 22d. She was back in fighting trim9 June and departed for 2 months of operations out of Pearl Harbor, thento the Marshalls.

Intrepid's planes struck Japanese positions in the Palaus 6 and 7 Septemberconcentrating on airfields and artillery emplacements on Peleku. The nextday her fast carrier task force steamed west toward the southern Philippinesto strike airHelds on Mindanao 9 and 10 Setember. Then, after raids on basesin the Visayan Sea 12 through 14 September, she returned to the Palaus 17September to support marines in overcoming fanatical opposition from hillside caves and mangrove swamps on Peleku.

When the struggle on that deadly island settled down to rooting Japanese defenders out of the ground on a man to man basis, Intrepid steamed backto the Philippines to prepare the way for liberation.

She struck throughout the Philippines, also pounding Okinawa and lrormosato neutralize Japanese air threats to Leyte.

As Intrepid's planes Hew missions in support of the Leyte landings 20October 1944, Japan's Navy, desperately striving to hold the Philippines,was converging on Leyte Gulf from three directions. Ships of the U.S. Navy parried thrusts in four major actions collectively known as the Battle for Leyte Gulf.

The morning of 24 October, an Intrepid plane spotted Admiral Kurita'sflagship, Yamato. Two hours later planes from Intrepid and Cabot bravedintense antiaircraft fire to begin a day-long attack on Center Force. Waveafter wave followed until by sunset American carrier-based Planes had sunk mighty battleship Musashi with her mammoth 18-inch guns and had damagedher sister ship Yamato along with battleships Nagato and Haruna and heavycruiser Myoko forcing the latter to withdraw.

That night Admiral Halsey's 3d Fleet raced north to intercept Japan'sNorthern Force which had been spotted on the northeastern tip of Luzon.At daybreak the tireless fliers went aloft to attack the Japanese shipsthen off Cape-Engailo. One of Intrepid's planes got a bomb into light carrierZuiho to begin the harvest. Then American bombers sank her sister ship Chitosi,and a plane from either Intrepid or San Jacinto scored with a torpedo inlarge carrier Zuikoku knocking out her communications and hampering hersteering. Destroyer Ayitsuki went to the bottom and at least 9 of Ozawa's15 planes were shot down.

On through the day the attack continued and, nfter five more strikes,Japan had lost four carriers and a destroyer.

The still potent Center Force, after pushing through San Bernardino Strait,had steamed south along the coast of Samar where it was held at bay by alittle escort carrier group of six "baby flattops", three destroyersand four destroyer escorts until help arrived to send It steaming in defeatback towards Japan.

As Intrepid's planes hit Clark Field 30 October a burning kamikaze crashedinto one of the carrier's port gun tubs killing 10 men and wounding 6. Soonskillful damage control work enabled the flattop to resume flight operations

Intrepid's planes continued to hit airfields and shipping in the Philippines.

Shortly after noon 25 November a heavy force of Japanese planes struckback at the carriers. Within 5 minutes 2 kamikazes crashed into the carrierkilling 6 offlcers and 59 bluejeekets. Intrepid never lost propulsion norleft her station in the task group, and, in less than 2 hours. had extinguishedthe last blaze. The next day, Intrepid headed for San Francisco, arriving20 December for repairs.

Back in fighting trim in mid-February 1945, the carrier steamed for Ulithi,arriving 13 March. The next day she pushed on eastward for powerful strikesagainst airfields on Kyushu, Japan, 18 March. That morning a twin engine"Betty" broke through a curtain of defensive fire turned towardIntrepid nnd exploded only 50 feet off Intrepid's forward boat crane. Ashower of flaming gasoline and plane parts started fires on the hangar deck,but damage control experts quickly snuffed them out.

Intrepid's planes joined attacks on remnants of the Japanese Heet anchoredat Kure damaging 16 enemy naval vessele including super battleship Yamatoand carrierAmagi. Then the carriers turned to Okinawa as D-Day of the mostambitious amphibious assault of the Pacific war approached. Their planeslashed the Ryukyus 26 and 27 March, softening up enemy defensive works.Then, as the invasion began 1 April, they flew support missions againsttargets on Okinawa and made neutralizing raids against Japanese airfieldsin range of the embattled island.

During an air raid 16 April, a Japanese plane dove into Intrepid's Hightdeck forcing the engine and part off her fuselage right on through, killing8 men and wounding 21. In less thau an hour the flaming gasoline had beenextinguished, and only 3 hours after the crash, planes were again landingon the carrier.

The following day,Intrepid retired homeward via Ulithi and Pearl Harborarriving San Francisco 19 May for repairs.

Intrepid stood out of San Franeiseo 29 June and enlivened her westwardvoyage 6 August as her planes smashed Japanese on by-passed Wake Island.The next day she arrived Eniwetok where she received word 15 August to "ceaseoffensive operations."

The veteran carrier got under way 21 August to support the occupationof Japan. She departed Yukosuka 2 December and arrived San Pedro, Calif.,15 December 1945.

Intrepid shifted to San Franclaco Bay 4 February 1946. Her status wasreduced to "in commission in reserve" 15 August before decommissioning22 March 1947 and joining the Pacific Reserve Fleet.

Intrepid recommissioned at San Francisco 9 February 1952 and got underway12 March for Norfolk. She decommissioned in the Norfolk Naval Shipyard 9April 1952 for conversion to a modern attack aircraft carrier. Re lasifiedCVA 11 1 October, she recommissioned in reserve 18 June 1954. She becamethe first carrier in history to launch aircraft with American-built steamcatapults 13 October 1954. Two days later she went into full commissionas a unit of the Atlantic Fleet.

After shakedown out of Guantanamo Bay 1955,Intrepid departed Mayport,Fla., 28 May 1955 for the first of two deployments in the Mediterraneanwith the 6th Fleet, mainstay in preventing Communist agression in Europeand the Middle East. She returned to Norfolk from the second of' these cruises5 September 1956. The carrier got under way 29 September for a 7-month modernization overhaul in the New York Navy Yard, followed by refresher training out ofGuantanamo Bay.

Boasting a reinforced angle flight deck and a mirror landing system,Intrepid departed the United States in September 1957 for NATO's Operation"Strikeback", the largest peacetime naval exercise up to thattime in history. Operating out of Norfolk in December she conducted Operation"Crosswind", a s~y of the effects of wind on carrier launches.Intrepid-proved that carriers can safely conduct Hight operations withoutturning into the wind and even launch planes while steaming downwind.

During the next 4 years Intrepid alternated Mediterranean deploymentswitph operations along the Atlantic coast of' the United States and exercisesin the Caribbean. On 8 December 1961 she was reclassified to an antisubmarinewarfare support carrier, CVS-11. She entered the Norfolk Navy Yard 10 March1962 to be overhauled and refitted for her new antisubmarine warfare role.She left the shipyard 2 April carrying Air Antisubmarine Group 56.

After training exercises, Intrepid was selected ns the principal ship in the recovery team for Astronaut Scott Carpenter and his Project Mercuryspace capsule. Shortly before noon of 24 May 1962, Curpenter splashed downin Aurora several hundred miles from Intrepid. Minutes after he was locatedby land-based search aircraft, two helicopters from Intrepid, carrying NASAofficials, medical experts, Navy frogmen, and photographers, were airborneand 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 UnitedStates.

After training midshipmen at sea in the summer and a thorough overhaulat Norfolk in the fall, the carrier departed Hampton Roads 23 January 1963for warfare exercises in the Caribbenn. Late in February she interruptedthese operations to Join a sea hunt for Venezuelan freighter, Anzoategui whose mutinous second mate had led a group of pro-Castro terrorists in hijackingthe vessel. After the Communist pirates had surrendered at Rio de Janeiro,the carrier returned to Norfolk 23 March 1963.

Intrepid operated along the Atlantic Coast for the next year from NovaScotia to the Caribbean peritecting her antisubmarine techniques. She departedNorfolk 11 June 1964 carrying midshipmen to the Mediterranean for a hunter-killerat sea training with the Bth Fleet. While in the Mediterranean, Intrepidaided in the surveillance of a Soviet task group. En route home her crewlearned that she had won the coveted Battle Efficiency "E" forantisubmarine warfare during the previous fiscal year.

Intrepid operated along the East Coast during the fall. Early in Septembershe entertained 22 NATO statesmen as part of' their tour of U.S. militaryinstallations. She was at Yorktown 18 to 19 October 1964 for ceremoniescommemorating Lord Cornwallis's surrender 183 years before.

During a brief deployment oi7 North Carolina, swift and efflcient rescueprocedures on the night of 21 November 1964 saved the life of an airmanwho had plunged overboard while driving an aircraft towlug tractor.

Early the next year Intrepid began preparations for a vital role in NASA'sfirst manned Gemini flight. On 23 March 1965 Lt. Comdr. John W. Young andMaJ. VirgilI. Grissom in Molly Brown splashed down some 50 miles from Intrepidafter history's first controlled re-entry into the earth's atmosphere endedthe pair's nearly perfect three-orbit Hight. A Navy helicopter lifted theastronauts from the spacecraft and flew them to Intrepid for medical examination and debriefing. Later Intrepid retrieved Molly Brown and returned the spaceshipand astronauts to Cape Kennedy.

After this mission Intrepid entered the Brooklyn Navy Yard in April fora mayor overhaul to bring her back to peak combat readiness.

This was the final Fleet Rehabilitation and Modernization (FRAM) jobperformed by the New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, N.Y., slated to closeafter more than a century and a half of service to the nation. In September,Intrepid, with her work approximately 75 percent completed, eased down theEast River to moor at the Naval Supply Depot at Bayonne, N.J., for the completionof her multi-million dollar overhaul. After builder's sea trials and fitting out at Norfolk she sailed to Guantanamo on shakedown.

Mid-1966 found Intrepid with the Pacific Fleet off Vietnam. Here hergallant pilots delivered powerful blows for freedom and scored what is believedto be one of the fastest aircraft launching times recorded by an American carrier. Nine A -7 Skyhawks and six A-1 ~Skyraiders loaded with ~bombs androckets, were catapulted in 7 minutes, with only a 28 second interval between launches. A few days later planes were launched at 26 second intervals.After 7 months of outstanding service with the 7th Fleet off Vietnam, Intrepidreturned to Norfolk having earned her Commanding Officer, Captain John W.Fair, the Legion of Merit for combat operations in Southeast Asia.

In June 1967, Intrepid returned to the Western Pacific by way of theSuez Canal just prior to its closing during the Israeli-Arab crisis. Hereshe began another tour with the 7th Fleet to safeguard the peace and freedomof the world, for, as Daniel Webster said in 1834, "God grants li berty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it."

Intrepid was stricking in 1980 and today serves as Air and Sea Musuem in New York City.