Visitors to the Intrepid Museum learn that the Intrepid was a city at sea, complete with all of the services required to support 3,000 men. With such a large crew, efficient and effective communication was essential. The ship’s Public Information Office (PIO) was responsible for conveying news and other information to the crew. In addition, the PIO sent stories about the Intrepid to Navy’s Fleet Home Town News Center, which would distribute them for publication in newspapers throughout the U.S. During a six-month Mediterranean cruise in 1960–61, the PIO printed a remarkable 1,325,500 pages, including daily press releases, brochures for ports of call and other documents.
Among the PIO’s responsibilities was publishing the ship’s newspaper. Filled with current events, cartoons, games and sports scores, the newspaper was a source of information and entertainment for the crew. Often, feature articles would highlight the duties and accomplishments of different divisions. A “Meet Your Shipmate” column introduced individual crew members. Artistically-inclined sailors would contribute original drawings or cartoons, and staff photographers captured the crew at work and at play.
Over the course of the Intrepid’s Navy service, the newspaper went by different names. During World War II, the paper simply was called “Intrepid” with the tagline “Then, Now, Forever.” When the Intrepid was recommissioned in 1954, the PIO staff decided that the paper needed a new name. They held a “Name Your Paper” contest with a $15 cash prize for the most creative and appropriate name. Seaman Apprentice Cain of the 7th Division won the prize for his entry, “The Ketcher,” which narrowly beat the second-place choice, “The Catapult.”
Cain’s inspiration for the paper’s name came from the first American ship named Intrepid, which was a type of two-masted sailing ship called a ketch. That ship served with distinction during the First Barbary War (1801–1805) between the United States and the Barbary States in North Africa. The first Intrepid is depicted in the upper right corner of the newspaper’s logo.
The Intrepid Museum has a large collection of Intrepid newspapers that span the ship’s history. They are an invaluable source of information about life aboard the ship. We are grateful to Joseph Burke, who donated the two issues that appear in this article. If any former crew members still have old copies of the ship’s newspapers, we invite you to share them with us.
Curator of History