Skip to main content

Thomas Dugan Oral History

Identifier: OHP 015

Scope and Contents

Thomas Dugan, from Greenwood, Texas, served aboard Intrepid as an aviation machinist's mate second class during World War II, from 1943 to 1945. He began his interview by discussing his childhood and explaining his jobs with the Civilian Conservations Corps and the Terrell Aviation School in Terrell, Texas. He then discussed his decision to join the Navy. Dugan continued, noting boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, his brief assignment to Wolverine, and his orders to Intrepid, explaining that one of his first assignments aboard Intrepid was guarding the radar room before the ship was commissioned. He also described Intrepid’s shakedown cruise and eventful trip through the Panama Canal, which saw the ship run aground. Dugan then briefly discussed his job as an aviation machinist's mate before the interview transitioned to Intrepid’s time in combat. Dugan noted the strikes around the Marshall Islands and Truk, where an enemy torpedo damaged Intrepid. He described what he had experienced during this torpedo strike, explaining that he did not know what had happened when the carrier was hit and discussing the duties he performed in the aftermath. Dugan also noted the sail that was constructed to help guide Intrepid back to Pearl Harbor and stated that the ship sailed back to the US for repairs before returning to the Pacific Theater. He then recalled when Intrepid was struck by kamikazes while stationed off of the Philippines and explained how he helped fight fires that had started on the hangar deck. Dugan stated that Intrepid again returned to the US for repairs and noted Intrepid’s trip back to the Pacific, discussing how the ship transported Marines and supplies to Pearl Harbor. The interview then shifted back to the topic of combat for one final time, with Dugan describing a kamikaze attack that resulted in a near miss. This prompted Dugan to speak about one incident when shrapnel had been blown into his locker and lodged in his clothes. While telling this story, Dugan reached into his pocket and pulled out the piece of shrapnel to show the camera. The interview then began to focus on life aboard ship. Dugan explained how the crew occupied their time when things were quiet, noting that they primarily worked, however they also played cards and listened to the ship’s band during lunch. He also recalled the food aboard ship, stating that he generally did not like the food, but he did enjoy the beans and cornbread. As the interview came to an end, Dugan explained how he met his wife, Dixie, and discussed his life after the war. He also explained what it was like to return to Intrepid many years after his service, stating that he was very emotional and happy that the ship is now a museum.


  • August 17, 2013



4 Files

14 Sheets

Language of Materials



David Dzendzel
December 6, 2019
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

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