This festive drawing of Santa landing aboard Intrepid appeared in the ship’s newspaper in 1954.
In December, Intrepid crew members briefly put aside their work to address other pressing issues: How could they capture the holiday spirit aboard an aircraft carrier? And, on a more practical note, how could Santa visit a ship with no chimney?
Whether at home or at sea, Intrepid sailors observed major holidays throughout the year: Easter, Passover, Independence Day, Thanksgiving. Christmas inspired festive celebrations that gave crew members a chance to make merry and to reflect upon the past year.
Intrepid sailors and their families visit with Santa.
Intrepid was docked in her home port of Norfolk, Virginia in December 1954. Crew members were hard at work getting the newly re-commissioned ship into fighting shape. But for the holidays, Hangar Bay 1 swapped its jet aircraft for a Christmas tree, and crew members’ families scrambled aboard for the ship’s party. Guests enjoyed ice cream and cake, cartoons, clowns, and caroling by the ship’s choir. For sailors who could not go home for the holidays, the celebration provided a much-appreciated dose of holiday cheer.
Santa arrives aboard Intrepid in 1954.
As for the party’s most anticipated guest, Santa did indeed find his way to Intrepid. Crew members transformed the #1 bomb elevator into a fireplace so that Santa could deliver gifts to the ship’s youngest visitors.
In the words of Captain William T. Easton, Intrepid’s commanding officer in December 1954, “May all of you enjoy a joyous and memorable holiday season.”