505. Officer Berthing

On This Page:

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

Level: Gallery Deck

Floor plan of the gallery deck. A red star marks the center of Officer Berthing in the fo’c’sle.

Read directions to Officer Berthing

Fast Facts

  • Some of Intrepid’s officers slept in this part of the fo’c’sle. Officers enjoyed more space and privacy than enlisted sailors.
  • Intrepid’s lowest-ranking officers slept in bunkrooms.
  • Most officers eventually moved to two-person staterooms.
Color photograph of the junior officer bunkroom on board Intrepid. At right is a gray desk open to show an officer’s possessions, including photos and magazines. A set of gray bunk beds is at left.
Some of Intrepid’s lowest-ranking officers shared this large bunkroom.

Exhibit Description

The fo’c’sle (pronounced FOLK-sull; short for the word “forecastle” or “forward castle”) contained quarters for some of Intrepid’s officers. This area was nicknamed officers’ country. Typically lieutenants and higher-ranked officers had staterooms, with two officers to a room. You can look into two of these staterooms. Each room had a set of bunk beds, plus a clothes closet, dresser and desk for each officer. All the furniture is built of metal and painted gray. Each piece is attached to the deck so that it doesn’t shift in rough seas. Each stateroom also contained a stainless steel sink. Officer bunks were much more solid and stable than the racks that enlisted men slept in. Officers also enjoyed more privacy.

Junior officers bunked dormitory-style in a large compartment in the center of this area. It is viewable behind glass walls. The room is full of built-in bunk beds, and each officer had a wardrobe near his bunk. There are also desks grouped in the middle of the room. Again, all the furniture is metal and painted gray. A small washroom contains six steel sinks that the men shared.

The walls in a ship are called bulkheads, and all the bulkheads in these berthing areas are painted a light green that the Navy calls “serene green.” Why that color? Because during World War II, the Navy investigated what colors would minimize nausea from sea sickness. The result was this custom-made color, serene green.

Displayed in the staterooms and bunkroom are items that Intrepid’s officers might have had. There are posters and magazines in the sleeping areas, and razors and toiletries in the washroom. One of the open desks in the junior officer bunkroom has a portrait photograph of a young, light-skinned woman with brown hair. She was the girlfriend of a junior officer on Intrepid, who displayed her photo near his bunk on the ship. They went on to marry, and they donated the photo to the Museum decades later. The original is in our collection.

Photos & Videos

Video description: Tour Guide Mike Fink discusses the ship’s junior officer bunkroom. Behind him are gray bunk beds and desks, and the walls are light green. Photos, magazines and other personal items are displayed throughout the room. An inset video shows World War II pilot Ben St. John.

Go to transcript

Colored image of a man seated in a chair smiling at the camera with his left arm resting on a desk, a typewriter is on the shelf above his head.
An Intrepid officer sits at his desk, 1966. (Collection of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Gift of LTJG Frank J. Osinski. P2015.45.77)
Black and white image of nine men inside a stateroom, they are standing or seated in circles talking, one man poses and smiles for the camera.
Officers sometimes gathered in their staterooms for parties. These pilots are packed into a four-person room for a party in 1967. The ship had just finished a period of combat operations in the Vietnam War. (Collection of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Gift of Brian Walker. P2019.48.03)s

More Information

Intrepid’s crew averaged about 3,000 men. About 300 of them—or 10%—were officers. Intrepid’s lowest-ranking officers slept in bunkrooms. Most officers eventually moved up and moved out to smaller staterooms like those nearby.

Intrepid’s pilots were officers. Some of them slept in this area.In 1967, four junior pilots from attack squadron VA-34 shared a stateroom in the fo’c’sle. From May 11 through November 23, 1967, these four roommates wrote in a shared diary. The diary reveals the experiences of Intrepid’s pilots during the Vietnam War. Entries often juxtapose the stresses of combat with mundane or even humorous aspects of life on board.

On May 24 1967, Intrepid was headed to the Gulf of Tonkin for the ship’s second deployment during the Vietnam War. One of the pilots wrote in the diary, “This peaceful sea under a brilliant, soft moon leaves one feeling very secure, very relaxed and peaceful and in love with living. Doesn’t seem possible that in a short month we will be fighting in a garish, insane war bent on destroying each other and scabbing the earth with bomb craters.”

The former site of Triple Stix is located in the fo’c’sle, near the stairs that lead down to the hangar deck. The Museum has re-created some features of Triple Stix based on historic photographs, architectural elements and the pilots’ recollections.