Tonawanda News

Local News

August 16, 2013

Kamikaze survivor


Tonawanda News — With stacks of newspaper clippings, photos and honors Kaszubski received during his service in the 1940s, Dan and Liz Kaszubski said they have combed through his history, and in the 1980s recorded videos of his stories of war.  

The also toured the Intrepid themselves some years ago, though without Kaszubski, who told them of the wooden flight deck that caught fire during attacks and the trials of seeing his crew members killed and wounded. 

“They got messed up pretty bad,” Liz Kaszubski said. 

With many of the fading generation well into their 90s, Dan and Liz expect that the reunion may be Kaszubski’s last, with only about 100 of the roughly 3,000 original crew members still alive.

The U.S.S. Intrepid carries its own mystique. With its maiden voyage in 1943, the aircraft carrier survived five kamikaze strikes and another from a torpedo, while it was actively used through periods of the Vietnam and Cold wars, before being decommissioned in the 1970s. It now sits on the Hudson River and has become part of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, where the space shuttle Enterprise now rests, according to the organization’s website. 

Dan Kaszubski said it will be a momentous occasion for him to walk aboard the Intrepid with his father, one that heightens his emotions just thinking about it. 

“When we were growing up he never talked about it,” Dan said of his father. “I’m just looking forward to being on the ship with him.”

Contact reporter Michael Regan at 693-1000, ext. 4115. 

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