Step Aboard The Aircraft Carrier USS Intrepid — The Fighting I

Intrepid

Photo: Robert Johnson – Business Insider

She fought valiantly in World War II, survived three tours off Vietnam, and played a vital role in submarine surveillance during the Cold War. Historic aircraft carrier The USS IntrepidThe Fighting I — also escaped a grim fate.

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For all their storied years and accomplished missions in the fleet, Navy ships are eventually decommissioned and let go for next-generation vessels. 

With no mission and no crew, ships are either adopted by a foreign military or abandoned for scrapping, sometimes forgotten for years in a ghost fleet decaying from the inside out before they’re sold for recycling. 

The Intrepid was decommissioned after World War II, missed being scrapped and actually made her way back into service over the years. She’s now a museum, docked permanently at Pier 86 in New York City.

We ventured over to 12th Ave. & 46th Street to explore the decks of the Fighting I. We also spoke with former crew, whose memories of their days on the ship are as vivid as they were 50-years ago.

The Intrepid received her last mission orders in 1982 and she's now docked at New York's Pier 86 where people from across the world visit her daily

This Lego version of the Intrepid, complete with miniature crew and fighter jets, is the first thing you see when you walk inside

Starting at the bow, these heavy-duty chains secure the carrier's two 30,000-pound anchors from the Forecastle, known as the Fo'c's'le

A 3000-strong male crew probably meant some hectic morning shave routines

The Combat Information centre is where sailors tracked nearby aircraft, ships, and mines and even kept an eye out for land

The Radar Data Distribution Room is where crew received the intel from the radar operators and sent it to the bridge

This is where cryptologists interpreted messages and cracked codes

John McCain could have sat in this Ready Room waiting for orders during Vietnam. He was a pilot on the Intrepid and had a reputation for being a bit reckless.

He may have even riled the men working here in the Air Traffic Control centre

All carrier flight operations were coordinated and planned here

Straight from 1972, a daily plan for the crew. We noticed they were screening a couple movies, so we checked out the titles. Daddy's Gone A-Hunting* (1969) and It Takes All Kinds*

The Admiral onboard had two rooms, a cabin belowdecks and this space off his command centre where he could grab some sleep and still be available when situations arose

This is the main captain's Navigation Bridge. That wheel steers the 900-foot vessel, and those two brass pipes were the last ditch effort at communicating below decks if communication got knocked out

This is the only place on the ship where you will see the words right and left — otherwise it's port and starboard

This is the throttle

Those three brass dials move those numbers up or down and tell the engine room how many RPMs the Captain wants from the four Westinghouse steam turbines

Incoming aircraft were a huge concern to Intrepid sailors, especially during World War II

The three handsets were the first line of communication to the rest of the ship and those green and red dials on the right are the alarms

If this chemical alarm ever sounded it meant a sprinkler at the Intrepid's mast would begin dousing the ship in a wash to get as much contamination from the ship as possible

The Chart Room is where sailors plotted the Intrepid's course using electronics and traditional maps

We ran into this Air Force colonel on the left visiting from the Pentagon, along with personnel stationed in New York who were onboard for the commissioning ceremony of a new Air Force member

An elevator cuts through the Intrepid's decks, bringing people onboard. We head up to the flight deck to take in the 30 authentically restored aircraft on display.

An A-12, used by the CIA for supersonic reconnaissance

The A-12 flew at up to 100,000 feet and fewer than 50 were ever built

You may remember the A-12 from Will Smith's I Am Legend, where he dinged golf balls down into that parking lot

Being a museum has saved the Intrepid's future, while other ships become derelict ghosts.

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