Intrepid Museum Programs and Exhibitions
Rainbow Band
Purchase Tickets
Home > This Month in <em>Intrepid</em>’s History
This Month in Intrepid’s History
Posted: 1/23/2015 9:37:14 AM

USS Intrepid was commissioned on August 16, 1943, joining the U.S. Navy in the middle of World War II. For the next two years the ship and crew trained, fitted out and fought their way across the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, the contributions the ship and crew made to victory were vital and the price they paid was high. Travel with our Museum tour guides here each month as they follow Intrepid’s journey and its crew’s experience throughout World War II.

January 1945: Healing

Intrepid spent all of January 1945 under repair in a dry dock at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in California. Having sustained serious damage from kamikaze attacks off the Philippines in late November, it took most of December to limp back to the West Coast of the United States. Finally arriving on December 20, Intrepid headed for Naval Air Station Alameda and spent the next several days offloading sailors going on leave, passengers, cargo and Air Group 18. Intrepid then headed across the bay to Hunters Point for seven weeks of overhaul. For both ship and crew, this was a period of healing. As the ship’s damage was repaired, physical reminders of the attack slowly disappeared. The emotional scars lingered far longer.

This was Intrepid’s third visit to the dry dock at Hunters Point.  A little more than a year earlier, Intrepid made its first visit following a collision in the Panama Canal. Then in February 1944 an encounter with a Japanese torpedo sent Intrepid back to Hunters Point for several more months. These repeated visits to the shipyard under less-than-happy circumstances gave the ship something of a negative reputation. Roy Erickson, a Corsair pilot who came aboard with Air Group 10 in mid-February 1945, later wrote that Intrepid “had gained a rather bad name for itself. The ‘Mighty I,’ a nickname for the ship, was now referred to by the ship’s crew as the ‘Evil I.’”


Intrepid in dry dock with repairs underway on March 23, 1944. In December 1944, Intrepid would return once again to the shipyard.  (Collection of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum)

Three major repairs in 13 months may have given the superstitious pause, but to the shipyard workers of Hunters Point, it meant that Intrepid had become “their ship.” From December 22, 1944, to February 10, 1945, they worked around the clock to repair Intrepid’s battle damage and make a few key upgrades. At the stern, workers replaced a 40mm gun with two new 40mm quad mounts, while new gun sights and gun directors were installed throughout the ship.  Given the seriousness of the battle damage, the pace of repairs was remarkable. Thomas Dugan, an Intrepid aircraft mechanic, later explained that the shipyard workers must have “pulled some miracles” to complete such a big job in just seven weeks. Even the ship’s organ was sent out for a “complete overhauling,” to be done by the Hammond Organ Company of Chicago rather than the shipyard workers of Hunters Point.


Intrepid spent seven weeks under repair at Hunters Point, from late December 1944 through early February 1945. (Intrepid Cruise Book, 1963)

When Intrepid arrived at Alameda, the first of four groups of sailors left for 21 days of leave. For Ray Stone and several fellow radarmen, leave meant paying their respects to the family of “Nitro,” one of their number killed during the attack. “Nitro” was from San Francisco, so after contacting his mother, they were invited over for dinner.

While these young men felt duty-bound to express their condolences, actually doing so was a daunting prospect. Stone later wrote, “None of us were experienced in expressing feelings and extending condolences to the family of a fallen shipmate. We felt awkward just talking about it. How to act? What to say?” One thing they did agree on was that they would tell Nitro’s mother he died instantly, sparing her the more gruesome details of his actual demise. Though Nitro’s mother seemed very grateful for their visit, Stone wrote that he “couldn’t stop thinking of the sadness in Nitro’s mom’s eyes and how unpleasant it would be for my mom, if she ever got a ‘how he died’ visit”— a sentiment many of his shipmates likely shared.

As the repairs on Intrepid neared completion, the impending return to the war zone brought the ship’s past brushes with disaster and the odds of survival back to the forefront of the men’s minds. As Stone later wrote, “So far, the ship had been torpedoed, hit by a single kamikaze, and then hit by two more kamikazes. Concern about my own, and the ship’s, invincibility kept seeping into thoughts of the future.”

For some, these concerns were simply too much. “I knew a couple of guys who were thinking of either jumping ship or faking mental illness to keep from going back into action,” Stone later recalled. A few of them actually managed to avoid sailing with the ship, and according to Stone, “They weren’t cowards. They were scared as hell by what they had experienced. There is a difference.”


Intrepid leaving Hunters Point on February 20, 1945. Circles indicate some of the modifications made to the ship and battle damage repair, including an additional 40mm gun quad mount on the ship’s stern. (Courtesy of the National Naval Aviation Museum)

By the time the repairs were complete, the crew had changed substantially. While many of those who had survived the kamikaze attacks remained, a few desertions and a far larger number of transfers and discharges decreased the number of crew members. In the meantime, newly assigned sailors arrived, including 242 on January 20 alone. At the end of January, two key personnel changes remained. When Intrepid finally left California in February 1945, it would do so with a new captain and a new air group.

Read the previous installments of "This Month in Intrepid's History":

October 1943
November 1943
December 1943
January 1944
February 1944
March 1944
April 1944
May 1944
June 1944
July 1944
August 1944
September 1944
October 1944
November 1944
December 1944




News Archive

May 2023(3)
April 2023(2)
February 2023(1)
January 2023(1)
December 2022(1)
October 2022(3)
September 2022(1)
August 2022(1)
July 2022(1)
June 2022(1)
May 2022(1)
April 2022(2)
December 2021(1)
October 2021(1)
September 2021(1)
August 2021(2)
July 2021(1)
June 2021(1)
May 2021(1)
April 2021(2)
March 2021(2)
February 2021(1)
February 2022(5)
January 2021(1)
December 2020(2)
October 2020(4)
September 2020(1)
June 2020(1)
April 2020(5)
February 2020(6)
January 2020(2)
December 2019(3)
November 2019(7)
October 2019(2)
September 2019(2)
August 2019(1)
July 2019(2)
June 2019(1)
May 2019(4)
April 2019(3)
March 2019(1)
February 2019(3)
January 2019(2)
December 2018(5)
November 2018(2)
October 2018(4)
September 2018(7)
August 2018(7)
July 2018(2)
May 2018(5)
April 2018(3)
March 2018(2)
February 2018(6)
January 2018(5)
December 2017(2)
November 2017(3)
October 2017(3)
September 2017(1)
August 2017(6)
July 2017(7)
June 2017(5)
May 2017(10)
April 2017(1)
March 2017(4)
February 2017(9)
January 2017(6)
December 2016(3)
November 2016(5)
October 2016(3)
September 2016(3)
August 2016(3)
July 2016(1)
May 2016(1)
April 2016(4)
March 2016(4)
February 2016(3)
January 2016 (6)
December 2015(5)
November 2015(5)
October 2015(6)
September 2015(9)
August 2015(8)
July 2015(7)
June 2015(7)
May 2015(9)
April 2015(5)
March 2015(5)
February 2015(7)
December 2014(6)
November 2014(5)
October 2014(6)
September 2014(8)
August 2014(7)
July 2014(5)
June 2014(5)
May 2014(9)
April 2014(7)
March 2014(7)
February 2014(5)
January 2014(4)
December 2013(7)
November 2013(8)
October 2013(8)
September 2013(8)
August 2013(9)
July 2013(9)
June 2013(2)
May 2013(2)
March 2013(5)
February 2013(3)
January 2013(6)
December 2012(12)
November 2012(3)
October 2012(1)
September 2012(3)
August 2012(4)
July 2012(2)
june 2012(6)
May 2012(4)
April 2012(7)
March 2012(1)
February 2012(4)
January 2012(1)
December 2011(2)
November 2011(4)
October 2011(2)
September 2011(5)
August 2011(6)
July 2011(6)
June 2011(10)
May 2011(11)
April 2011(10)
March 2011(11)
February 2011(9)
January 2011(6)
December 2010(10)
November 2010(8)
October 2010(5)
September 2010(7)
August 2010(11)
July 2010(9)
June 2010(9)
May 2010(10)
April 2010(5)
March 2010(6)
February 2010(3)
January 2010(3)
December 2009(3)
November 2009(8)
October 2009(3)
September 2009(4)
August 2009(4)
July 2009(11)
June 2009(5)