Hello, I’m Jessica Williams, curator of history and collections here at the
Intrepid Museum. We’re kicking off a behind the scenes video series about flight
operations on Intrepid called “Conducting a Mission”.
Today, we’ll be talking about briefing the pilots.
We’re standing on Intrepid’s flight deck.
This is where aircraft were launched on their missions and where they landed when
the mission was complete.
Intrepid’s pilots had a variety of missions during the ship’s 30 years of naval
service, which included World War II, the Cold War and the Vietnam War.
But planning a mission started long before takeoff.
Let’s visit the squadron ready room to see where pilots prepared for their
This is a ready room where Intrepid’s aviators spent much of their time.
As you can see, they had comfortable chairs and they drank cup after cup of
This space resembles a ready room from the late 1960s.
At the time, Intrepid was part of a bombing campaign called Operation Rolling
Thunder, which involved bombing strategic facilities and transportation
infrastructure in North Vietnam.
Once Intrepid received its orders, the Air Group commander and squadron
commanders planned how to execute particular missions.
Here in the ready room, pilots would be briefed.
Pilots sat in these chairs with more senior aviators sitting closer to the front
of the room. The squadron commander would use maps and plotting boards to
instruct pilots on various aspects of the mission.
Once pilots got the call to man their planes, they grabbed their gear and headed
up to the flight deck.
Stay tuned for the next installment: readying the plane.