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Home > Curator's Corner > February 2011 > Family Cruise
Family Cruise
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Posted: 2/25/2011 9:19:23 AM

The Intrepid Museum is in the midst of a bustling Kids Week.  Normally, you might not think of an aircraft carrier as a kid-friendly place, since Intrepid’s typical population was 3,000 rugged sailors.  But on May 28, 1960, more than 800 very excited additional passengers scrambled aboard the ship in Norfolk, Virginia.  Grumbled one chief, “These ain’t 800 persons.  These here are 800 undisciplined persons.”  These undisciplined persons included the children, wives and other family members of the ship’s crew.  

The occasion was a Family Cruise, a daylong excursion that gave crew members an opportunity to show off their ship to their nearest and dearest.  While the ship steamed off the Virginia coast, Intrepid crew members introduced their families to life aboard an aircraft carrier. 

Intrepid crew members staged a memorable day for their guests.  A demonstration of flight operations featured aircraft including Skyraiders, Skyrays and helicopters taking off from and landing on the flight deck.  One aircraft fired a Sidewinder missile at a flare.  Captain Edward Outlaw, who spent most of the day in his chair on the bridge, took care to explain shipboard operations over the public address system.

At the end of the day, families left Intrepid with a new appreciation for their loved ones’ hard work. Commented one guest, “I wanted to take just a minute to tell you what a thoroughly gratifying experience it was for me to be on board your ship last Saturday, and to witness firsthand a day in the life of your men.  I really am at a loss for words to express my feelings other than to say that I don’t think I have ever spent a more interesting day.”

Kids Week continues in a long tradition of welcoming young people and their families aboard Intrepid!  The Intrepid Museum’s curatorial staff wishes to thank John Anderson, who recently donated these and other archival materials pertaining to Intrepid’s 1960 Family Cruise.

Jessica Williams
Curator of History