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Intrepid: The Epic Story of America's Most Legendary Warshipby Bill White
Synopses & Reviews
The first official history of the legendary aircraft carrier that fought in World War II and Vietnam and continues to serve as a major air and space museum in New York City
The USS Intrepid is a warship unlike any other. Since her launching in 1943, the 27,000-ton, Essex-class aircraft carrier has sailed into harms way around the globe. During World War II, she fought her way across the Pacific—Kwajalein, Truk, Peleliu, Formosa, the Philippines, Okinawa—surviving kamikaze and torpedo attacks and covering herself with glory. The famous ship endured to become a Cold War attack carrier, recovery ship for Americas first astronauts, and a three-tour combatant in Vietnam.
In a riveting narrative based on archival research and interviews with surviving crewmen, authors Bill White and Robert Gandt take us inside the war in the Pacific. We join Intrepids airmen at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, in October 1944, as they gaze in awe at the apparitions beneath them: five Japanese battleships, including the dreadnoughts Yamato and Musashi, plus a fleet of heavily armored cruisers and destroyers. The sky fills with multihued bursts of anti-aircraft fire. The flak, a Helldiver pilot would write in his action report, “was so thick you could get out and walk on it.” Half a dozen Intrepid aircraft are blown from the sky, but they sink the Musashi. A few months later, off Okinawa, they again meet her sister ship, the mighty Yamato. In a two-hour tableau of hellfire and towering explosions, Intrepids warplanes help send the super-battleship and 3,000 Japanese crewmen to the bottom of the sea.
Were next to nineteen-year-old Alonzo Swann in Gun Tub 10 aboard Intrepid as he peers over the breech of a 20-mm anti-aircraft gun. Hes heard of kamikazes, but until today hes never seen one. Swann and his fellow gunners are among the few African Americans assigned to combat duty in the U.S. Navy of 1944. Blazing away at the diving Japanese Zero, Swann realizes with a dreadful certainty where it will strike: directly into Gun Tub 10.
The authors follow Intrepids journey to Vietnam. “MiG-21 high!” crackles the voice of Lt. Tony Nargi in his F-8 Crusader. It is 1968, and Intrepid is again at war. Launching from Yankee Station in the Tonkin Gulf, Nargi and his wingman have intercepted a flight of Russian-built supersonic fighters. Minutes later, after a swirling dogfight over North Vietnam, Nargi—and Intrepid—have added another downed enemy airplane to their credit.
Intrepid: The Epic Story of Americas Most Legendary Warship brings a renowned ship to life in a stirring tribute complete with the personal recollections of those who served aboard her, dramatic photographs, time lines, maps, and vivid descriptions of Intrepids deadly conflicts. More than a numbers-and-dates narrative, Intrepid is the story of people—those who sailed in her, fought to keep her alive, perished in her defense—and powerfully captures the human element in this saga of American heroism.
"Despite the enthusiastic title, the Intrepid's story is no more epic than that of a dozen others. Yet after entering service in January 1944, it saw plenty of action, as this impassioned history shows. White, president of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, and former fighter pilot Gandt (Bogeys and Bandits) deliver a steady stream of nuts-and-bolts battle action. The war against Japan offered innumerable dogfights, invasion support and sea battles during which the carrier suffered terrible damage from torpedoes and kamikaze attacks. Decommissioned in 1947, it returned to service in 1954 after an extensive overhaul. Details of Cold War cruises lack the fireworks of war, but readers will find some interest in the ship's duties recovering early astronauts. The obsolescent Intrepid served off Vietnam during 1966 — 1968, losing many planes and pilots. The authors devote 50 pages to the surprisingly difficult process of turning the Intrepid into a popular New York City tourist site. Lowbrow military history, full of purple prose and overwrought, invented dialogue, but undemanding military buffs will enjoy it. Maps. (Sept. 30)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
BILL WHITE is president of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. ROBERT GANDT is a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot and Delta Air Lines captain. His numerous previous books include the definitive work on naval aviation, Bogeys and Bandits, which was adapted for the television series Pensacola: Wings of Gold.
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