Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Intrepid - Sea, Air & Space Museum (Part II)

Alritey, are we ready to continue on the tour of the USS Intrepid? We have covered the whole flight deck and now we will be entering the Island. From here, Intrepids crew members navigated the aircraft carrier, tracked vessels as well as monitored flight operations. It contained all the equipment that was state of the art for it's day. From the Island, we can also get superb views of the flight deck as well as the Manhattan skyline.

The highest level of the Island is the Flag Bridge. Back in the day, when the Intrepid was designated as the flagship of a battle group, the admiral in charge would occupy the flag bridge and command all the ships as one unit. The Intrepids captain still maintained direct command of his ship but took orders related to battle group activities from the admiral. He would exercise his command from the Navigation Bridge, one level below. Here is Kevin, about to enter Navigation Bridge or Captains Bridge which is below the Flag Bridge. Pretty interesting.

Now we are in the Navigation Bridge, where the captain commanded his ship. From the captains seat, he could observe the flight deck as well as look out to sea. The bridge contains controls for steering and navigation. We also managed to get a good look at the helm (wheel), communication equipment that allows bridge offers to send commands down to the engine room as well as telephones and talk tubes to allow the captain and his staff to communicate with other parts of the ship (maybe it's for when he wants to order up some room service food :P). There was also a room with a tiny bed at the back, I guess it's for the captain to rest when he needs to. The Navigation Bridge also allows excess to the Gallery Deck inside the Intrepid. This is where you can look at the Ready Room - the place pilots receive their last instructions before taking off as well as the Combat Information Center. This is one level below the Flight Deck. I didn't take any photos on this deck because it pretty dark and tight, a maze of small walkways and rooms. I actually felt a little claustrophobic in there :P

From the Gallery Deck, we went down one more level to the Hanger Deck. Ahhhhh better. At least it's not so claustrophobic anymore. This is considered the Main Deck of the Intrepid. There are lots of things to do on this deck. You can follow the decks two separate paths, an exhibition of people who lived and worked on the ship which is on the starboard side and we can also explore the Intrepid's technology exhibition which is on the port side. There are also a lot of hands on things for kids at the Exploreum. They can try to land a plane in the flight stimulator, climb into a life boat, pick up objects while wearing an astronauts glove, sit in an helicopter cockpit and a host of other things. Here is Kevin with the Aurora 7 Capsule replica. The Intrepid participated in the NASA space program as a recovery vessel, picking up astronauts and their capsules after ocean landings.

There are also a few airplanes and helicopters on display in the Hanger Deck. After all, this was where they kept all the airplanes back in the day. It was designed to accommodate 90 aircrafts during WW II. I'm seen here with the A-4B Skyhawk. The Skyhawk weighed half an much as the Skyrider and featured a modified delta wing that did not require folding for carrier hanger storage or transportation to the flight deck. It also set a world speed record of 695 mph in 1954. Senator John McCain had also flown the A-4 off the USS Forrestal during the Vietnam War (he previously had flown Skyriders off the Intrepid). This A-4B is painted to resemble one that flew off the Intrepid during her first Veitnam tour.

Now it's time to move to the bow of the Intrepid to the Fo'c's'le (an abbreviation of forecastle), which traditionally refers to the forward part of the ship. Here is Kevin in the Anchor Chain Room. This is where the massive chains of anchor enters the ship. Look at the size of the chains. Each link of the Intrepid's anchor chain weighs 150lbs! The total weight of each anchor chain is a whooping 30,000lbs!! There are three of that positioned at the bow.

Here am I looking amused at the super huge mooring lines. Looks like a giant spool of thread! All we need now is a giant needle, then I can sew the world's largest shirt or something like that. Who am I kidding, I can't sew for anything! Hahaha. The mooring lines is used to tie up the ship to the dock.

The Fo'c's'le also houses some of the Intrepid's officers. This is an example of a Junior Officers Berthing. While Junior Offers bunked dormitory style, higher ranking officers share two person staterooms. Here are two photos of the super small cabin. Bunk beds on one side with some sort of storage and desk as well as a sink and mirror on the other side of the room. I guess they have nothing to complain about. This looks like the Hilton compared to the Sailors Berthing. It looks terrible...three layers that looks like hammocks or cots and each sailor is assigned one of those and a small locker. I couldn't take any pictures because there were too many people and I kept on getting a reflection from the flash hitting the glass enclosure.

With that, we have completed the Hanger Deck. Now, let us proceed downwards to the Third Deck. The entire third deck is also referred to as the Mess Deck. The cooks prepare food for the crew in two large galleys, equipped with grills, fryers and ovens. I saw the biggest mixer ever in the was as tall as me!! It must be the King of all Kitchenaid mixers :D We also had a chance to look at the officers mess halls as well as the regular mess halls. For crews who had to stay at their post during mealtimes, the cooks would bring basic cold rations to their post. However, Navy 'chow' was (and some say it's true til today) regarded as the finest in the Armed Forces, offering 'three hot squares' a day. The Intrepid Museum has converted one of the mess halls into a cafeteria where we can purchase drinks and snacks. We were so tired from all the walking (it's really really big!), so we took a break and bought some drinks :P

This concludes the tour from the inside of the USS Intrepid. In the final part of this three part tour of the Intrepid Museum, we will head outside to the Pier to checkout the British Airways Concorde as well as the Growler Submarine. Stick around for the final part!! :D

Also check out:

No comments: