Former Crew Member Mike Hallahan stands on the Hangar Deck next to the aircraft that bears his name.
By Mike Hallahan, Former Crew Members Association
Now that the kids are back to school, The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is a great place for them to come, interact and learn about the history of the ship. At the same time they can also hear stories about the many men including myself who started a new journey by serving on the aircraft carrier.
My name is Michael Hallahan, I am a former crew member of the USS Intrepid. I started my journey back in 1958 and served for one year. I was on board along with 3,000 other men who served in service of our country. As a third class petty officer and also part of the helicopter squad my main responsibility was S.E rescue plane guard, also known as the Angel Squad. As part of the Angel Squad I had to be ready to come into action anytime a tragedy occurred. Whenever a plane crashed into the water due to an attack, it was my job to rescue the pilot and anyone who was in the aircraft. In fact my name is actually on an aircraft in the Hangar Deck. It’s the Piasecki HUP/UH-25 Retriever and it’s got my name right there on the side. I am proud to have my name there and hope adults and kids enjoy looking at all the aircraft in general.
We had to make many sacrifices while onboard. One of the most difficult aspects of serving was the scheduling. We were usually told when to sleep, when to get up, when to eat, when to shower, etc. Before serving I was able to choose the times in which I wanted to do my daily activities, however as I came on board I had to adapt to a new way of life. Another difficult task was when we were directed to do Standing Watch. Standing watch meant that I had to make sure that everything was fine in the ship and that there weren’t any fires in any of the decks while the rest of the crew slept. It was a difficult duty because we had specific hours that we were assigned. One of the most exhausting shifts was the Midnight-4am shift. This particular shift was one of the most difficult ones because I found myself walking around for hours and falling asleep as I was standing. I understood the importance of this shift as everyone’s safety was in my hands however it was still very exhausting.
Another one of my responsibilities was the Mail Calls. We often had 15-20 ships with us. Most of them handled their own responsibilities so they wouldn’t be as close to the Intrepid, but once a month they would all come around and wait for the Angel Squad to deliver their mail. This was one of my favorite duties in the ship. It was also a refreshing experience as I got to see all the entire crew eagerly waiting for a letter from their wives, parents, girlfriends, etc. The mail was the closest way of getting to our loved ones.
I hope to see you all here at the Intrepid enjoying yourselves, while learning so many stories of all the struggles as well as good times that people like me and the rest of the crew went through aboard her.