Power of One, the Intrepid Museum’s speaker series is based on the notion that one inspiring event in an adolescent’s life can move them to make positive changes. Students were given the opportunity to attend a Power of One presentation with guest speaker Steve Ritchie, Brigadier General.
Chaperoned by Ms. Robinson and Mrs. Reed, the group of 24 was led by Shay Saleem, Intrepid tour guide, to experience the lifestyle of thousands of soldiers on the massive ship on Thursday, November 17th. The Museum’s mission is to “honor our heroes and educate the public youth,” and that’s exactly what Shay did.
On the Hanger Deck, the main floor, a Scale Replica of the Intrepid made of Lego® Bricks is on display.
“I think that the tour guide was very interesting. She understood that we’ve been there before many times and instead of repeating the same facts over & over again, she introduced new information to us. The replica of the Intrepid made from Legos was remarkable. It was made up of so many little pieces, it was just amazing how someone had the patience to put them all together,” said Rita Cinquemani, sophomore.
The Fo’C’S’Le Exhibit displays the Intrepid’s anchor chain room. According to Shay, this area was known as “boys town” simply because no women were allowed to serve.
“I learned that although women weren’t permitted into the navy during the time the ship was in service, they still had a lot to do with her history. Women helped build most of the ship, and it’s just remarkable how at a time where men thought as them as inferior, that they could show them that they could make a big impact on the war too,” said Rita.
Surrounding the anchor room were berthing rooms which is where crew members slept. Depending on their ranking, their room would have various luxuries: the higher rank the better.
Although the ship weighs tons, the two 30,000-pound anchors are lifted and the Intrepid is floating while stationed.
“Just like any other boat, the USS Intrepid has air pockets that are filled with air to allow the boat to float or filled with water to help ‘sink it,” said Avi Solkoff, senior.
In order to get to the anchor room, students had to step through a ‘knee knocker’. If someone were to fall, they’d ‘knock their knees’ on its base.
“I think the anchor room was very interesting because I’ve never seen one or been in one. I was very surprised to know that the anchors were lifted and that we were floating because I never thought that such a big boat can float for such a long time. I think the ‘knee-knocker’ doors were very cool, but also dangerous because if you trip I can see that it will hurt a lot. I think the name ‘knee-knocker’ is very unique and understandable,” said Jody Yip, sophomore.
Shay then took the group to the Flight Deck where most of the air crafts are stationed, including the Blackbird and even gave them an up-close look. This world-renowned jet served as a spy which would take pictures of other country’s activities.
The Blackbird would fly higher in the atmosphere to avoid being spotted by other aircraft, so high that its pilots would wear astronaut type gear. The jet flew very fast and if needed, could make it from New York to California in an hour. Currently, there are no Blackbirds in service.
“On the tour, we were allowed to go underneath the Blackbird which was an honor because of the people that got to fight in it. I learned that the plane’s paint is camouflage for sneaky reasons,” said Stephanie Troumouhis, junior.
After a few more exhibits, Shay led the group to the Intrepid’s conference center which is completely renovated and modernized. There, the group joined with the other schools for the Power of One Presentation. Before that though, The Story of the Intrepid, an eight-minute film was played for the audience.
The Intrepid was launched on April 22nd, 1943 and served during World War II, in the height of the Cold War. With the given signal, 3,200 men became one. The ship was decommissioned in 1974.
According to http://www.intrepidmuseum.org, “The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is one of America’s leading historic, cultural and educational institutions. Opened in 1982, the Museum has welcomed more than 10 million visitors. The Museum is centered on the aircraft carrier Intrepid (CVS-11), one of the most successful ships in US history, and now a national historic landmark and one of the most unique attractions in New York City.”
“It [the film] was very sad and emotional and it really got me thinking twice about how important the Intrepid was to the world, in a sense. I think that the “ghost ship” served its purpose and helped shape the world into what it is today. Even after it went after it went out of service it would help society: it was used to help the 9/11 investigation due to it’s location and support methods. The museum was very interesting, I especially liked the lego model which catches your eye when you first walk in, I like the wall graphics and that you’re allowed on the outer part of the ship where you can play around with the non-reactive guns they have. And the planes on top were very cool,” said Naomi Whyte, junior.
Michael Wertz, Manager of Leadership and Public Programs played a quick introductory film for guest speaker, Steve Ritchie. Ritchie is the first Ace since Korean War and the only American Ace in history. An Ace is a fighter who shot down five or more enemy aircraft during combat. He’s received numerous awards, 25 air medals, and four silver stars.
According to Steve Ritchie, “Freedom is one of the most powerful commodities in all of history.” To him, being a Veteran means, “Everything. It’s the land of the free and the cause of the brave.”
“I thought he [Ritchie] was really inspiring! He had a lot of stories to share and it was nice to see that he genuinely cared about America and the freedoms we are granted being citizens of the USA! I was honored to be able to film and interview him and get to know him a little! I also thought his wife was really inspirational and her story made me thankful that I grew up the way I did… She fought for her freedom and I think everyone in the room really benefited from hearing her story because it reminded all of us that hard work and perseverance can go a long way,” said Katerina Papatheodorou, senior.
Ritchie’s wife, Mariana came to America from Romania, a communist country. She also addressed the crowd about what it means to be free, “I came to you New York with a bag of clothes and you took me in when nobody else wanted me…Americans stand up for what they believe in and are not afraid to fight for it.”
“Listening to Mariana’s story helped me get a different perspective on society. Me, being so confused right now about who I am and where I am, it really got me thinking,” said Andrea Quintana, junior.
“One inspiring person, one moving event, one big idea…can change a life,” said Michael Tyler Fisher, Center for Education.
Sidebar *Next to picture of replica-
22 ft long
4 ft wide
4 ½ ft high
Approx 250,000 pieces
-For protection, the Intrepid never sailed alone
-The Japanese referred to the ship as “the ghost ship” because it always came back to service
-Its 250 foot Flight Deck allows planes (operated by steam power) to go from 0-170 mph in two minutes
-Approximately 3,000 men simultaneously lived aboard the trip during service
-There are 4 decks off limits to the public (due to maintenance fees)
-Ship art: men personalized their spaces with symbols such as the American Flag and the Red Cross insignia