UUSS Hornet (CV/CVA/CVS-12) was a United States Navy aircraft carrier of the Essex class. Construction started in August 1942; she was originally named USS Kearsarge, but was renamed in honor of the USS Hornet (CV-8), which was lost in October 1942, becoming the eighth ship to bear the name.

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Hornet was commissioned in November 1943, and after three months of training joined the U.S. forces in the Pacific War. She played a major part in the Pacific battles of World War II, and also took part in Operation Magic Carpet, returning troops back to the U.S.

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Following World War II, she served in the Korean War, Vietnam War, and also played a part in the Apollo program, recovering astronauts as they returned from the Moon.

USS Hornet and Apollo 11

USS Hornet and Apollo 11

Hornet was finally decommissioned in 1970. She was eventually designated as both a National Historic Landmark and a California Historical Landmark, and in 1998 she opened to the public as the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, California.

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The following are some of the facts about this great ship but you can also read the full story (a work in progress) of the USS Hornet on my other blog, USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story

Ship’s Log USS Hornet (CV-12)

USS HORNET (CV-12) The eighth ship to bear the name.

  • Cost: $69 million
  • Length: 856 feet
  • Draft: 27 feet
  • Flight deck width: 120 feet
  • Propulsion: 150,000 horsepower.
  • Displacement: 27,000 tons

CV-12 Combat Score (War in the Pacific)

  • 1,420 aircraft destroyed
  • 42 cargo ships sunk
  • 10 destroyers sunk
  • 1 cruiser sunk
  • 1 carrier sunk
  • 1 assist on super battle ship YAMATO

USS HORNET’s World War II Commanding Officers

  • Captain Miles R. Browning 29 November 1943 – 29 May 1944
  • Captain William D. Sample 29 May 1944 – 9 August 1944
  • Captain Austin K. Doyle 9 August 1944 – 1 August 1945
  • Captain C.R. Brown 1 August 1945 – 14 Feb 1946

Inactivation and Transit Recommissioning

  • Captain Charles F. Coe 14 Feb 1946 – 14 August 1946
  • Captain Karl E. Jung 14 August 1946 – 15 January 1947
  • Captain Francis L. Busey 15 January 1947 – 30 April 1951
  • Captain G.C. Merrick 15 January 1947 – 12 May 1951

CV-12 Ship’s Log

03 Aug 1942 – Keel of hull #395, named USS KEARSARGE (CV-12) laid by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia.

27 Oct 1942 – USS HORNET (CV-8) sunk in Battle of Santa Cruz Is.

13 Jan 1943 – USS HORNET (CV-8) officially stricken from Navy record.

21 Jan 1943 – USS KEARSARGE, hull #395, renamed USS HORNET (CV- 12).

30 Aug 1943 – Launched by Mrs. Frank Knox, wife of the Secretary of the Navy.

29 Nov 1943 – Commissioned at Norfolk Naval Station, Virginia.

01 Jan 1944 – First CAG 15 landing on HORNET by Cdr Bill Drane.

–– Feb 1944 – Transited Panama Canal for West Coast.

04 Mar 1944 – Arrived Pearl Harbor. Air Group 2 replaced Air Group 15. HORNET joins Task Force 58.

Mar-May 1944 – Conducted offensive operations against targets in Caroline and Marianas Islands including: Palau, Yap, Ulithi, Woleai, Wadke, Sawar, Sarmi, Hollandia, Truk, Satawan, Ponape, Moen, Eton and Dublon.

29 May 1944 – In port Majuro for Change of Command.

06 Jun 1944 – Departed Majuro.

12 Jun 1944 – Strikes against Marianas Islands of Guam and Rota.

20 Jun 1944 – First battle of the Philippine Sea. HORNET bombers credited with sinking Japanese carrier SHOKAKU and damaging another carrier and cruiser. HORNET fighters splashed 52 Japanese planes in the “Marianas Turkey Shoot.”

24 Jun 1944 – Strikes against Iwo Jima, pilots shoot down 67 planes.

Jul-Aug 1944 – Strikes against Guam, Rota, Saipan and Volcano Islands in preparation for Guam/Palau invasions.

26 Aug 1944 – Vice Admiral Marc Mitscher (CDR TF-58) aboard to honor ship for helping in conquest of Marianas Islands.

06 Sep 1944 – Strikes against Palau Islands.

07-24 Sep 1944 – Strikes against Philippine Islands of Davao, Cebu, Minandao and Negros in preparation for General MacArthur’s invasion of Morotai.

30 Sep 1944 – For month of September, HORNET air wing has shot down or destroyed 55 aircraft, sunk 27 ships, probably sunk 22 more and damaged more than 128. -VF-2 had become the top fighter squadron in the Pacific with more total victories and more ace pilots than any other fighter squadron. Of 50 pilots on board, 28 were confirmed ACES.

10-19 Oct 1944 – Strikes on Okinawa, Ryukyu Retto, Aparri, Luzon and Formosa.

13 Oct 1944 – First Japanese plane confirmed splashed by HORNET anti- aircraft fire.

20-26 Oct 1944 – Strikes on Leyte supporting invasion of the Philippines. Second Battle of the Philippine Sea (Leyte Gulf) – largest naval battle in history.

Nov-Dec 1944 – Shipping and land strikes in the Philipine area, support of the Mindoro invasion.

–– Jan 1945 – HORNET enters the South China Sea for strikes on Formosa, Pescaderos, Saigon, Camranh Bay and Hong Kong.

16 Feb 1945 – HORNET launches pre-dawn strikes on Tokyo to resume where HORNET (CV-8) had left off 34 months before.

Late Feb 1945 – Strikes in support of Iwo Jima invasion.

19 Mar 1945 – Strikes conducted against Kobe and Kure while HORNET cruised 40 miles off Japanese coast.

6/7 Apr 1945 – Okinawa Invasion. During the period more than 500 Japanese planes attacked task force. Of the 152 shot down, HORNET scoreboard tallied more than one third of the kills.

07 Apr 1945 – HORNET pilots find and conducted initial attacks on the largest Japanese battleship YAMATO which is left sinking.

14-16 Apr 1945 – HORNET aircrews downed more than 60 Japanese planes along Kyushu.

13 May 1945 – HORNET air wing attacked the giant Kumatomo aircraft plant in Southern Kushu.

05 Jun 1945 – HORNET struck by typhoon with winds of 110-120 kts. and 100 foot seas. Twenty-four feet of flight deck at bow buckled.

07 Jun 1945 – Launched aircraft from the stern while backing down at 18 kts. but proved too unreliable to conduct sustained combat operations. Following a brief stop in the Philippines, HORNET returned to the West Coast for repairs.

07 Jul 1945 – Steamed through the Golden Gate. Off loaded planes and ammunition. Entered dry dock at Hunters Point Naval shipyard. Crew given 30 days well earned leave and rest.

–– Sep 1945 – After armistice signed with Japan, HORNET was used as a troop transport in Operation “Magic Carpet”, bringing veterans of the Pacific to the West Coast.

14 Aug 1946 – At San Francisco designated an inactive part of the 19th Pacific Fleet.

15 Jan 1947 – HORNET decommissioned at Hunters Point, San Francisco, California.

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5 responses

  1. I had to share this fantastic post with my husband who is a Navy guy and tells stories of his days aboard ship through college etc. what a great blog this is! The information is generous, photos great. Your passion for history evident. Thank you!

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  2. I loved your take on Hornet, a grand old lady. Great Post. She and her predecessor did amazing work (just look at your timeline). My wife’s grandfather served on the Langley a smaller Independence class (11,000 ton). We heard a lot of great stories. Hope to read more. Good luck with the A-Z!

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  3. Birgit says:

    This is great and love the point by point history of this ship-amazing that it also took place in sinking the Yamato

    Like