Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Archives

James Smith Oral History Edit


OHP 012


  • August 16, 2013 (Creation)


  • 21 Sheets (Part)
  • 4 Files (Part)

Agent Links



  • Scope and Contents

    James Smith began his interview by providing a brief background of his life before he joined the Navy. He then discussed his decision join the Navy, how he felt after the Pearl Harbor attack, being assigned to gunnery, and his job as a first loader. After focusing on his initial Navy experiences, Smith described the first time he saw Intrepid, as well as the shakedown cruise to Trinidad, the eventful passage through the Panama Canal, and a memory of his time in sick bay. He then discussed combat and the fear he experienced the first time the ship was under attack. Smith stated that the ship was hit by one torpedo and five kamikazes, and specifically mentioned the torpedo attack at Truk, the first two kamikaze attacks, the near miss with the Betty bomber, and the ensuing burials at sea, which he helped to perform. Smith also discussed life aboard ship, specifically his berthing, food, and the crew’s recreational activities such as playing cards, basketball, and reading and writing letters. He then recounted his time spent as a lookout. Toward the end of the interview, Smith described the atmosphere aboard ship when the war ended and his experiences in Japan after the surrender. James Smith concluded his interview by speaking about life after the Navy, which included multiple business endeavors, and stating that he was glad Intrepid was saved.