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A closer look at the history of the USS Intrepid

Inside the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
Inside the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum 02:20

NEW YORK - Fleet Week has returned in person to New York City after a pandemic pause. 

CBS2's Mary Calvi spent some time on the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, the unofficial epicenter for many of the Fleet Week activities. 

But beyond Fleet Week, it's a place full of rich military history that deserves to be seen, and shared. 

The view from Chopper 2 offers just a hint of all that can be explored at the Intrepid. The floating museum began as an Essex first class aircraft carrier, commissioned in 1943.

"At that time, it was top-of-the-line technology," said Jennifer Elliott, manager of youth leadership and alumni programs at the Intrepid. "So if you think of an aircraft carrier as a gigantic floating airport, what we're standing on right now, this would be the airport runway." 

The Intrepid opened to the public at Pier 86 at 46th street in 1982. 

"They operated this way in the Pacific during World War II, also during... the Cold War in the Mediterranean, and then also doing three tours in Vietnam, operating with aircraft flying off of this level," Elliott said. 

These days, there are 24 authentic aircraft on the flight deck. 

"Our collecting scope really focuses on aircraft that were operational during the times that Intrepid was in service. So we're looking from the years 1943 to 1974," Elliott said. 

There are a couple of scene stealers, including the F14 Tomcat.  

"Probably most recognizable from the movie 'Top Gun,'" Elliott said. "At slower speeds the airplane is going to have its wings out at about 20 degrees, and then, as the speed increases, the wings will automatically sweep back at 60 degrees. For storage on an aircraft carrier in a hangar deck, it will go into oversweep, so all the way to 75 degrees." 

Another star attraction is this Lockheed A-12. 

"The supersonic jet that was operating during the Cold War. It can reach speeds of mach 3, which equates to 2,200 miles per hour, and can reach altitudes of 80,000 feet," Elliott said. 

Service members visiting for Fleet Week will have the opportunity to explore this piece of history, too.

"This is my first time on the Intrepid. Iconic location in New York City, and again, another opportunity for me to to sneak in a little fun on top of work," said Marine Capt. Kelton Cochran.

For New Yorkers and tourists, there's an opportunity for an up close look at many of the other vessels in port, too.

"It's great for all of us to be together, show what we can do as a nation, and as a people, all together men and women, and really enjoy ourselves and have a great time," said Lt. Kojiro Thomas. 

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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