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Home > Curator's Corner > November 2013 > Archives Highlight: Kamikaze Attacks of November 25, 1944
Archives Highlight: Kamikaze Attacks of November 25, 1944
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Posted: 11/25/2013 9:31:53 AM


November 25, 1944 is often described as the worst day in Intrepid’s history. On that date, two kamikaze aircraft struck the ship within five minutes of one another. These devastating attacks killed 69 crew members and sent Intrepid back to the U.S. for repairs.

Ralph Nurse joined Intrepid’s crew in September 1943, shortly after the ship’s commissioning. As an aviation ordnanceman, he loaded bombs and torpedoes onto Intrepid’s aircraft.  Nurse, like some of his fellow sailors, wrote in a journal during his time aboard the ship. Keeping a diary was against U.S. Navy regulations for fear that information about the ship could fall into enemy hands.


Nurse offered little commentary or personal reflection in his journal, focusing instead on the day-to-day activities that defined his role on Intrepid. He listed each combat mission and recorded the type of ordnance carried by Intrepid’s aircraft. However, his entry on November 25 offers a rare narrative, perhaps because the events of that day literally hit close to home for Nurse:

“No sooner had we gotten out when the next suicide plane hit right in our armory. His bomb went through our overhead and through our forward bulkhead. The bomb made an hole not two feet above my sack.”

Nurse left Intrepid in February 1945. For decades he saved the journal in which he recorded his wartime experiences. He passed away in 2007, and his daughter Karoline recently donated his collection of Intrepid memorabilia to the Intrepid Museum. Thanks to her donation, Ralph Nurse’s journal survives as a powerful account of one sailor’s experiences on Intrepid’s darkest day.