Intrepid Museum Programs and Exhibitions
Rainbow Band
Purchase Tickets
Home > November 2019 > 75 Years Since USS Intrepid’s Darkest Day
75 Years Since USS Intrepid’s Darkest Day
Posted: 11/25/2019 11:30:26 AM

Smoke from a kamikaze near-miss (National Archives and Records Administration)

By: Susan Marenoff-Zausner, President, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum

November 25 marks 75 years since the darkest day in Intrepid’s history. On that date in 1944, the USS Intrepid, which played a vital role in turning the tide in the Pacific Theater during World War II, fell victim to two devastating kamikaze attacks that killed 69 crewmembers. In all, kamikaze attacks claimed the lives of 88 crewmembers from 1944-45.

But out of these horrific events came numerous acts of bravery and heroism. There was Alfonso Chavarrias, who died while trying to shoot down a kamikaze airplane that crashed into the ship. There was Donald Domenic DiMarzo, the ship’s fire marshal, who died fighting fires on the hangar deck. Both men were posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. And then there was Bill Daniels.

Daniels was a decorated fighter pilot in World War II and the Korean War, and served aboard Intrepid as fighter director officer, guiding pilots toward their targets.  The kamikaze attacks of November 25, 1944, sparked numerous fires on board Intrepid, trapping men in smoke-filled compartments.Daniels braved fire and smoke to reach a group of about 25 trapped crewmembers. He not only helped lead them to safety on the flight deck, but for one sailor, he applied a tourniquet to one leg and amputated the other, to save that sailor’s life. He then went back to save more. The Navy recognized Daniels with the Bronze Star for his heroism.

Japan’s military leaders had hoped that the devastation and terror caused by crash-diving kamikaze attacks would improve Japan’s negotiating position at the end of the war.
While Kamikaze pilots caused measurable damage to Allied ships, the exact number of attacks is unknown. It is estimated that between 46 and 66 ships were sunk or damaged beyond repair, and 250–400 ships were damaged to a lesser extent. And the human toll was even more devastating as the attacks cost 6,190 Allied servicemen their lives.
Yet for all these losses, the intended results were not achieved. The mighty U.S. fleet maintained its operations despite losing numerous vessels. Kamikaze attacks initially came as a surprise to Allied military leaders, but they quickly developed better defensive tactics. And while Navy sailors—like the crew of Intrepid—felt awe and fear as enemy airplanes barreled into them, they did not lose the will to fight.
Former crewmembers, including Ed Coyne who survived the kamikaze attacks, are today gathering at the Intrepid Museum to remember and commemorate their fallen colleagues, and will pause for a moment of silence at the exact time of the first attack. 
But the Intrepid Museum remembers and honors those events, and the bravery and sacrifice of those who served, each and every day. Bill Daniels, a hero of November 25, 1944, went on to become a cable TV pioneer, owner of sports franchises and generous philanthropist. Thanks to the support of the Daniels Fund, which he established, the historical depiction of the kamikaze attacks on Intrepid is now told through major enhancements and updates to an existing kamikaze exhibit.
Kamikaze: Beyond the Fire features artifacts and items from the collections of the Intrepid Museum and, through a new collaboration, Japan’s Chiran Peace Museum, including photographs, writings, medals and fragments from kamikaze aircraft. Firsthand accounts from survivors and an immersive multimedia experience reveal the history and impact of kamikazes.  And a memorial wall honors the crew members who gave their lives while serving aboard Intrepid.
Sixty-nine former crewmembers, many teenage boys, lost their lives that fateful day. As a survivor, Ray Stone, poignantly noted, “All their talents and aspirations were buried with them, deep in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.” It is our duty to remember them always and to perpetuate their legacy for generations to come.



News Archive

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)