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David E. Benedict Oral History

Identifier: OHP 034

Scope and Contents

David Benedict served aboard Intrepid as a boiler tender in the number two boiler room, and as a yeoman in the engineering office, from October 1958 to July 1961. Benedict began his interview by providing an overview of his service aboard Intrepid, noting the years he was aboard and discussing his first job as a boiler tender in the number two boiler room and his second job as a yeoman in the engineering office. Benedict then spoke about recreation aboard ship and visiting different Mediterranean ports. He also recalled a number of unfortunate accidents that occurred, noting that there were sad times as well. Benedict then provided a detailed account of an accident that occurred in the number two fire room. He stated that a boiler had suffered a casualty in the number 2 fire room and discussed the damage and injuries that occurred, the man he saved, and the letter of commendation he received from Captain Abbot. He also noted that the commanding officers placed a strong emphasis on training, that the crew improved due to this training, and that he carried the lessons he learned on Intrepid with him for the rest of his career. The interview then shifted to Benedict’s background. Benedict stated that he grew up on a Mohawk Indian Reservation and discussed the Mohawk’s history of service in the military. He also said that he knew he would serve in the military and that his initially military service was in the Army, as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. He then moved forward to his time in the Navy, past his service aboard Intrepid, and discussed his experiences on the staff, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam, on the intelligence staff. Benedict explained this assignment, the effects of intelligence gathering, and his thoughts on the Vietnam War. The interview then shifted back to his time on board Intrepid. Benedict explained how he was assigned to B Division, described the boiler room, and provided additional information regarding the accident in the number two fire room. In discussing the repair process he also noted that the ship was a self-sufficient city. Benedict then recounted Intrepid’s collision with the oiler USS Caloosahatchee, stating that the oiler lost steering and struck Intrepid during the refueling process. Benedict continued, discussing Intrepid’s mission in the Mediterranean, which led to a conversation on nuclear weapons, the Cold War, protecting friendly nations, and the US and Soviet Union deterring one another. Benedict also acknowledged the commanding officer, Captain Outlaw, and the chief engineer, Commander Martini. He then discussed the living conditions on board, covering topics such as food, berthing, laundry, and resupplying while underway. He also touched on his heritage, how he was treated, and laid claim that he was the only Mohawk Indian to serve on board Intrepid. After discussing his service aboard Intrepid, Benedict noted his assignment to numerous intelligence staffs, including: the Third Naval District Headquarters, the Sixth Fleet Commander’s Staff, the Staff, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces, Vietnam, and the staff, Commander in Chief, Atlantic. As the interview came to a close Benedict spoke about what it means to have Intrepid as a museum, noting that the ship was his first Navy home and that Mr. Fisher and the Fisher family had saved the ship. He also said that he hopes visitors will learn about the history of Intrepid, the sacrifices of the crew, the perils at sea, and the dedicated men who served on board. Benedict then ended his interview by acknowledging his wife and two sons, noting the hardship of being away from your family, both for the service member and the family.


  • May 23, 2014



21 Sheets

6 Files

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David Dzendzel
May 24, 2017
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Repository Details

Part of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Online Archives Repository

One Intrepid Square
W. 46th Street and 12th Avenue
New York NY 10036-4103 United States