Intrepid Journal: From WWII to 9-11

Topics: HISTORY, Foreign Policy
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Funds Needed for Completion: $ 200,000.00
Estimated Completion Date: 06/05/2009

Funds raised: $ 460.00


Filmmaker Philip Marshall documents fifty years of American foreign policy through the eyes of the retired aircraft carrier USS Intrepid.

Seafaring men have always held a conception that a ship is living entity, the product of three things - the craftsmen who built her, the officers and men who man her, and her ancestry.

Our story is about the fourth American ship to carry the name "Intrepid". It is a journal of her life journey. In 1975, the rusting scows of hundreds of antiquated ships, aircraft carriers and other war machines lay scattered in ports and bases around the country. The military was bleeding from public relation wounds it received during the Vietnam era. Add to that the ending of the draft plus the development of a volunteer army, and an immediate need was created to find some way for the military to better connect with the public and rebuild itself and its image. Thus the ideas of creating museums around a variety of military artifacts began and eventually lead to the creation of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York championed by real estate developer Zachary Fisher in 1982.

Historically, the Intrepid was never thought of as the Navy's most important ship. There were other carriers in WWII that participated in far more attacks. There were other carriers who took part in the occupation of Japan and Europe after the war. Other carriers that took park in similar Cold War missions, picked up more astronauts or flew more missions in Vietnam. But the Intrepid was special. Special - not only because it's one of only three Essex class Carriers that survive to this day for us to study, but because she did it all and her service record truly reflects a microcosm of American history and foreign policy since World War II.

What makes this film extraordinarily interesting, entertaining and important is it's former crew-members. For these former crew-members numbering in the tens of thousands are the heart and soul of the story. Their personal stories of battle, valor, and doldrums of everyday live aboard the ship, create an engrossing social tapestry of our times. American foreign policy is set by our leaders but it's effectiveness is only a reflection of those who have to carry it out. We're privileged to hear first hand accounts from WWII ace pilots, deck hands, and officers, nuclear bomb handlers, helicopter rescue pilots, NASA spacecraft recovery experts, Vietnam era jet pilots, and even an NCIS officer, to name a few. The preservation of the collective memories of these men and their experiences put in context against our national policies and -- why they needed to serve - when they served -- makes this film something special and required viewing for every American.

The Intrepid was one of the Navy's legendary Essex-Class "fast carriers," during the past twenty-four years she had become one of New York City's most popular tourist attractions. With over 750,000 visitors a year the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum served it's stated mission to honor our servicemen and make sure their contributions are not forgotten.

But those twenty-four years literally took their toll as the Intrepid was tearing its own pier apart due to the year in and year out stresses of the North winds that pulled and hammered the ship against its hundred-year-old Pier 86, on Manhattan's West Side. In the summer of 2006 the pier was nearly declared unsafe and condemned. But in order to repair or replace the pier, the enormous ship with it's huge overhanging flight deck had to be removed, and that's where our story begins.

We began documenting this extraordinary process in high definition from day one. Moving the 36,000-ton ship from its pier and back is a massive task complicated by government regulations, bureaucratic snafus, budget constraints, and the ticking clock.

For the Museum's budget was so tight that if they didn't re-open to the public when planned and resume their normal operations, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum may have closed for good. Shortly after the project began, it gained international attention when on November 6, 2006 the Intrepid got literally stuck in the mud on its first move attempt.

This colossal move and restoration is an extraordinary story in itself with colorful characters, high adventure plus twists and turns along the way, however we soon discovered the even more extraordinary story of the encompassing history of the ship herself and her former crew-members.

The Intrepid even continued to be of real service during the 9-11 crisis as emergency services HQ for the FBI.


$ 200,000.00

Project's Financial Needs

Your donation will go exclusively to this project. The money will allow us to film some final important interviews and hire editors to help filmmaker pick the very best material from over 160 hours. It will take more than four months of work, thousands of man-hours - to get the film edited, mixed, distributed and readied for broadcast on public television. If we don't go ahead with the project you will have the choice to get your money back or donate to another worthy project!

Other financial Support


Current stage of production


Estimated Completion Date



Philip Marshall writes:

Hello - Hope you can help with whatever you can give! Heartfelt thanks for your interest! Cheers Philip Marshall
-- Posted at Monday, February 09, 2009 11:19:02 PM

Special Thank You Gifts:

Credit as donor on official web site
Copy of completed program on DVD
Two tickets to screening of program on USS Intrepid
Screen Credit as donor on end credits of program
Screen Credit as donor in funding pod at head and tail of broadcast program

Donors to this project

  1. In honor of Intrepid former crewmembers who have gone before us from John Simonetti, Past Intrepid Association President
  2. In honor of all US veterans from Len Hittner
  3. In loving memory of Simon A. Kruzykowski from Bill Kruzykowski
  4. In honor of my Intrepid shipmates from Charlie Wladyka, Past President USS Intrepid Association
  5. Anonymous (8)