New York (CBSNewYork/AP) — Friday marked the 70th birthday for the USS Intrepid, and nearly 300 of its former crew members returned for the party.
A ceremony was held aboard the aircraft carrier, now a museum on Manhattan’s West Side, celebrating its anniversary of being commissioned during the height of World War II.
“It was the best ship I was ever on in the Navy, and I was in there for 21 years,” former crew member Murray Haddaway told CBS 2′s Weijia Jiang.
Edward Marlowe returned to the Intrepid with his wife by his side.
“I wrote a whole lot of love letters to this little lady right here when I was on there, and I read a whole lot of love letters from her on there,” he said.
Ray Stone, 88, of Cedarhurst, N.Y., told WCBS 880′s Rich Lamb that he was in attendance the day the ship was commissioned.
“I saw all of the action,” Stone said. “I … survived a torpedoeing and five kamikazes after that. This is a lovely lady, the ship, and it’s a tough lady.”
Recalled Frank Nugent, 88: “The only time it really looked like it was going down is when we got torpedoed. Then … the tail end went up and then it came down, and then you were wondering if it was going to come back up again. That was a thrill.”
The Intrepid was modernized after World War II and became an anti-submarine carrier. It participated in the Vietnam War and was the recovery ship for two space missions. It also had roles in the Korean and Cold wars.
The aircraft carrier was decommissioned in 1974. The 27,100-ton vessel has been a tourist attraction since it opened as the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in 1982. More than 1 million people visit the museum every year.
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