Jul 31

Today in Naval History: The Four Ships Named USS Intrepid

Tuesday, July 31, 2018 1:43 PM


USS Intrepid 1874

USS Intrepid 1874

On this day in 1874, the USS Intrepid, second ship of her name, was commissioned by the U.S. Navy. The name Intrepid means fearless or adventurous, both things this mighty ship was not. Despite the cutting edge technology and new designs used to create the massive ship, she proved merely experimental. The Intrepid was the Navy’s first ship equipped with self-propelled torpedoes and led the way for future ships of more efficient and useful designs.

USS Intrepid 1798 (US Naval Institute)

USS Intrepid 1798 (U.S. Naval Institute)

Her predecessor, the USS Intrepid (1798) has a peculiar and distinguished history. Captured from the Tripolitan Navy several months after the USS Philadelphia ran aground, the first Intrepid was converted to a U.S. Navy ship and added to the fleet. Once Commodore Edward Preble learned where the Philadelphia was hidden, he ordered Lieutenant Stephen Decatur to burn the former U.S. Navy ship. Decatur captained the Intrepid, the only ship within their fleet that could be disguised as a North African ship, and successfully set fire to the Philadelphia. The USS Intrepid completed an adventurous and dangerous mission, earning her bold name.

USS Intrepid 1904 (Us Naval Institute)

USS Intrepid 1904 (U.S. Naval Institute)

Two more ships were given the namesake Intrepid in 1904 and later in 1943. The third Intrepid was commissioned in 1907 and was a receiving ship and barracks for submariners before it was decommissioned in 1921. Rarely leaving the coast of California, the ship did not embody the epitome of adventure. However, after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Navy reacquired the Intrepid and used the ship to salvage the USS Oklahoma.

Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum: Joao Carlos Medau

Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum (Joao Carlos Medau)

The fourth and final of her name, USS Intrepid (CV-11) was commissioned in 1943. She fought in the battle of Leyte Gulf in World War II and participated in several deployments during the Vietnam War. Intrepid was decommissioned in 1976 and was renovated into a museum. She now resides in New York City as a National Historic Landmark. Though their names tie the stories of the ships together, the unique roles of each ship gives a new and profound meaning to the name that calls on adventure and daring: Intrepid.