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Home > Curator's Corner > November 2009 > Thanksgiving aboard Intrepid
Thanksgiving aboard Intrepid
Intrepid Teens Blog
Posted: 11/25/2009 10:03:48 AM

On November 23, 1944, Intrepid crew member Jacob J. Elefant wrote in his diary, “Celebrated Thanksgiving today and boy what a feast.  Had holiday routine all day with movies in the afternoon and evening.” 

Thanksgiving dinner would have been an especially welcome respite for the crew of the Intrepid in 1944.  The previous month, the Intrepid saw action in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, generally considered to be the largest naval battle of all time. Three days after the battle, the Intrepid suffered her first kamikaze attack, which killed ten men and badly burned others.  Intrepid crew members then waited for over a week to return to the naval base at Ulithi for supplies – food, armaments and, perhaps most important to Elefant and his shipmates, mail.  Intrepid aviators soon resumed launching strikes against Japanese positions.  By the end of November, crew members were more than ready for a holiday celebration.  

With 3,000 homesick men to feed, the Intrepid’s cooks took particular care to create festive holiday meals that included traditional favorite dishes, offering crew members a taste of home.  In celebration of Thanksgiving, the Curator’s Corner presents a selection of Intrepid Thanksgiving menus from throughout the ship’s history.

Just two days after Thanksgiving 1944, two kamikaze airplanes crashed through the Intrepid’s wooden flight deck within in five minutes of one another.  The attacks killed 69 men and significantly damaged the Intrepid, sending her back to California for repairs.

In 1954, the Intrepid was re-commissioned after a two-year modernization overhaul.  In the month before Thanksgiving, the Intrepid crew members tested the ship’s newly installed steam catapults.

The Intrepid was in the middle of her third Vietnam deployment in November 1968.  The ship was in port in the Philippines during Thanksgiving.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Jessica Williams
Curator of History