Two Forrestal-class supercarriers, (listed from bottom to top) USS Independence (CVA-62), and USS Saratoga (CVA-60), steaming alongside the Essex-class fleet carrier USS Intrepid (CVA-11). Underway in 1961, with crewmen paraded on deck in their whites to spell out commemorating the (then) 50th Birthday of Naval Aviation (8 May 1911).
While Indy and Sara were laid down in 1954 and 1952, respectively– making them just a couple years past shakedown when this image was snapped– the 80,000-ton, 1,070-foot leviathans were in a whole different league than the Fighting I who had joined the fleet just a decade prior to their keel laying.
Nonetheless, in a real sense of irony, the 40,000-ton, 872-foot Intrepid, who earned five battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation during World War II, and a further three battle stars for Vietnam service has outlived all of the Forrestals, berthed at Pier 86 on the Hudson River in New York City since 1982.
Further, she is still serving today in addition to her museum operations, hosting military events in the NYC area, and standing ready, as needed, for use as an Emergency Operations Center for the Big Apple, complete with a “secure space” installed in 2006 for FEMA and the like. It wouldn’t be the first time. Following Sept. 11th, she was home to the FBI’s response in the city for five weeks.
Interestingly, the Intrepid Museum recently announced the acquisition of a new aircraft to its collection, a Douglas F4D-1/F-6A Skyray. The exact aircraft, (BuNo 134836) acquired from the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Conn., previously flew from Intrepid in 1961– and is likely in the above image. The Skyray will be added to the Museum’s flight deck on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, becoming the 28th plane in the Museum’s aircraft collection.