Aircraft carriers like Intrepid are unlike other large warships in that their offensive firepower comes from the aircraft on board. During the Vietnam War, carriers were deployed to Vietnam with an air wing. These air wings were made up of several squadrons, each with a mission-specific type of aircraft. Intrepid’s air wing was made up of attack, fighter, photographic reconnaissance, electronic warfare and helicopter squadrons.
This photograph shows an A-4 Skyhawk on one of Intrepid’s catapults. The Skyhawk was a jet-powered attack aircraft with a modified delta wing. Spanning only 27.5 feet (8.4 meters), the wings did not require folding for storage on the hangar deck or transport to the flight deck. During the Vietnam War, Intrepid’s Skyhawk pilots bombed targets in North and South Vietnam.