Call me a dork, but I had NO idea that New York has an aircraft carrier, a submarine and a Concorde jet in the harbor at the end of 42nd Street. IT WAS SO COOL! Instead of milling around the city on Sunday, we took off for the harbor and toured the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
It's one of 24 Essex
class carriers, including the Yorktown
. The Yorktown is on display in Charleston Harbor, NC, at the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum
. 13 Essex class carriers saw significant combat, but none were ever lost to enemy action. The Intrepid was commissioned on August 16, 1943, and decommissioned on March 30, 1974. During that time, it survived one torpedo, three bomb hits, and four kamikazi
crashes, and numerous near misses. She served the world during World War II, three tours in Vietnam, was a recovery vessel for the Mercury
space missions, and participated in the Cuban Missile Naval Blockade.
Over the years, the Intrepid has been host to Hellcats, Corsairs, Panthers, Crusaders, Avengers, Skyraiders, Helldivers
, Skywarriors, Skyhawks, and Seasprites, amongst others. They tried launching F-4 Phantom II's from the Intrepid, but it just wasn't big enough.
The Intrepid was armed with eight 5-inch, 38 cal DP guns, which fired anti-aircraft, high capacity, and high explosive rounds. They also carried a limited number of illuminating and smoke projectiles. Other than the big guns, they also defended the ship with heavy and light machine guns. By the end of WWII, the Intrepid had been outfitted with 17, 40mm quadruple and 61, 20mm single mounts heavy machine guns. The 20mm and 40mm guns were eventually replaced by twin 3-inch 50 calibur guns. In 1947, when its armament was at it's heaviest, the Intrepid was outfitted with 8 5-inch/38 cal. singles; 28 3-inch/50 cal. twins
; 68 40-mm quads, 38 20-mm twins and another 38 20-mm singles
By the end of WWII, the Intrepid was credited with destroying 13 enemy planes and assisting in the downing of 5 others. The air group shot down 160 enemy planes, destroyed 86 grounded enemy planes, sank 11 ships (possibly 13) and damaged 41 more. Over the course of three Vietnam tours, her aircraft were involved in 2,486 combat sorties, 858 combat support sorties, and 55 photo recon missions. During her 31 years of service, 274 men who served on her perished- most during WWII.
Currently, the carrier is docked at the end of 42nd Street, in New York City, the flagship of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
. In addition to the Intrepid, you can also tour the USS Growler, a nuclear-deterrent submarine, and a British Airways Corcorde jet.
On the Hanger Deck of the Intrepid, you will find the ORIGINAL
Iwo Jima Memorial Statue. That's right... THE ORIGINAL
. It's twelve feet tall, as compared to the 60-foot version at Arlington, and toured the country for many years before being forgotten in a warehouse. Discovered again in the early 1990's, the statue was restored and put on permanent display on the Intrepid in 1995- 50 years after the original photograph was taken. Also on display on the Hanger Deck are three aircraft which flew from the Intrepid during WWII- the Hellcat, the Helldiver, and an Avenger. We also saw a fully restored Cobra, and I even got to sit in the cockpit of one!
Up on the flight deck
, you will find many different aircraft, including the Tomcat and Intruder above; an A-12 Blackbird
; a Crusader, a Phantom and a Demon
; a Harrier
; a Dassault Entendard
; a Coast Guard helicopter
, and several Huey's
Seeing Ground Zero, Ellis Island and the Intrepid were unique experiences I will never forget, topped off by seeing an amazing show on Broadway. It was a very cool trip- thanks for the memories, Bryan.