620. Flag Bridge

On This Page:

  1. Level
  2. Fast Facts
  3. Exhibit Description
  4. Photos & Videos
  5. More Information
  6. Statistics

Level: Flight Deck

Floor plan of the flight deck. A red star marks the center of the Flag Bridge in the ship’s Island.

Read directions to Flag Bridge

Fast Facts

  • At sea, Intrepid traveled with other ships.
  • When Intrepid was designated flagship, the admiral commanded a group of ships from the flag bridge level of the island.
  • Sailors located and plotted the locations of nearby ships and aircraft.
Color photograph of Intrepid’s flag bridge, with windows that overlook the flight deck and the city beyond. The admiral’s blue chair is at the right, and navigation equipment is at center.
The enclosed flag bridge provides a view of the flight deck.

Exhibit Description

The admiral’s bridge is located in the island, just below the navigation bridge. There was not always an admiral on Intrepid. But when there was, Intrepid became a flagship, the lead ship in a group of vessels. Ships traditionally fly a flag designating that an admiral is on board, hence the term “flagship.” When the admiral and staff were on board, they worked in this level of the island.

The first space you enter, the flag bridge, offers a view over the fight deck. On the left in the bridge is a large, gray vinyl upholstered chair for the admiral, facing windows that look toward the front of the ship. It’s up on a platform and you cannot sit in it. To the right of the admiral’s chair is equipment his staff used to track friendly and enemy ships and aircraft. Usually his staff used radio to communicate with the ships under his command. But they also used semaphore flags when they thought the enemy might intercept radio messages.

The windows on the bridge were only added in the 1950s. During World War II, the area was open, and working here in rough weather was really a test of endurance.

The main space is called the flag tactical plot. There’s a pathway down the center of the room with low glass on either side that guides visitors through the space. The equipment in this room helped the admiral command the entire group of ships. There are radar scopes, plotting boards and charts on large tables. A small television screen was part of a closed-circuit television system that broadcast aircraft launchings and landings. Various types of communications equipment are visible throughout the space, including telephones, voice tubes and pneumatic tubes.

As you walk through this level, you also find small cabins for the admiral and officers on his staff. They are simply furnished with single beds and small desks.

Photos & Videos

Video description: Tour Guide Mike Murtagh explains the importance of Intrepid’s flag bridge. The room has plotting boards, charts and radar equipment. Historical photos and footage illustrates the period when Admiral Gerald Bogan used Intrepid as his flagship during World War II.

Go to transcript

Studying the location of the task force. (USS Intrepid Cruise Book, 1958)
Black and white image of a man seated and looking at radar equipment, holding papers in his left hand.
A member of the admiral’s staff checks a radar repeater. (USS Intrepid Cruise Book, 1971)

More Information

Commanding one aircraft carrier is difficult enough. Commanding a group of ships is even more complex. The admiral needed to communicate with numerous vessels that could be spread over miles of ocean. The admiral also needed to know the location of his ships and aircraft, as well as others in the area.

The equipment in Intrepid’s flag plot allowed the admiral to understand what was going on in the area in order to effectively direct the ships. Sailors used two radar repeaters to search sea and sky. They tracked this information on plotting tables and plotting boards. With the necessary information at hand, the admiral issued commands to the vessels in the task group.

Intrepid was designated flagship on a number of occasions throughout its years in commission. One notable period was in the fall of 1944. Intrepid served as flagship of a task group commanded by Rear Admiral Gerald Bogan. From Intrepid’s flag bridge level, Bogan commanded a group of 26 ships during the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944. On November 25, 1944, two kamikaze aircraft struck Intrepid. Bogan maintained control of his group and did his best to minimize damage to his flagship.

Intrepid did not always have an admiral on board. During those times, the ship’s crew used the spaces on the flag bridge level for other purposes. During the Vietnam War, squadron commanders communicated with their pilots from this level. In the 1970s, crew members sometimes used this level to track surface ships.

Statistics

Number of times Intrepid served as flagship:At least 9
Number of people working in flag plot:Approx. 6–10 at a time