Hornet belonged to the Essex Class and was the seventh one to be commissioned. Keel was laid on August 3 1943 at the Newport News Shipyard as the Kearsarge. Launch was on August 30 and then moved to the fitting out pier. On November 29 the Hornet was officially commissioned by Secretary Knox. Sea trials commenced on December 19. Her original displacement was 27, 100 tons and when fully loaded 36,200 tons. Her overall length was 876.8 feet and beam was 147.5 feet overall. Her height, which includes the designed draft of 29.5 feet, is 223.0 feet to the top of the mast. Steam is provided by eight Babcock and Wilcox boilers divided among four fire rooms. Propulsion is handled by four Westinghouse geared turbines in two engine rooms which provide 150,000 shaft horsepower. Top speed is 33 knots and upon her retirement she could still steam at 31 knots. Armament consisted of four twin mount 5-inch/38 caliber gun turrets located two in front and two behind the island. Four single mount were located on sponsons on the port side Gallery deck. There were 32, later 40, Bofors 40mm mounts and 46, later 55, 20mm mounts. Today there are only four single mount 5-inch/38 cal. guns left on the ship.

She arrived in the Pacific war zone on March 20 1944 and her air group scored their first Zero on March 29. She was at sea for 15 continuous months before being caught in a massive typhoon which damaged 40 feet of the forward flight deck on June 3 1945. She headed back to Hunters Point Naval Shipyard for repairs and was there when the war ended. She became one of the Navy's most decorated combat seips and holds the record for the number of enemy ships and aircraft destroyed during WWII. She was also under attack 59 times without a hit being scored although she had a near miss in October 1944 off Okinawa. Unlike the Franklin the Japanese plane failed to release it's bomb onto a fully loaded flight deck and instead it landed harmlessly off to the port side.

After decommissioning from 1947-51 she was brought back to service and modernized three times. Between 1953-58 she was classified an attack carrier at which point newer carriers were being commissioned. Since she still had hydraulic catapults, unlike some of her sisters, she was then classified as an Anti-Submarine Warfare Carrier. In her final years she saw service off Vietnam and was the primary recovery ship for the first two moon landings of Apollo 11 and 12. She was then decommissioned in June 1970 and stored in Bremerton. She managed to escape being scapped till 1997 when a group formed to save the ship and dock her at the former Alameda Naval Air Station. She joined Intrepid, Yorktown and Lexington as the only four Essex Class carriers left today. As a volunteer, who walked on in May 1998, it has been a priviledge to restore this ship for the American people who own this historic carrier. Special recognition goes to former quartermaster Rolf Saybe, former signal man Jim Yuschenkoff and former seabee Tom McNanama whose knowledge helps in getting things restored correctly. Last, all volunteers and docents deserve thanks as without them there would be no Hornet Museum.

Attention: Now that the museums long term COO has retired, thankfully, we are able to move forward with plane and ship restoration. Anyone who contacted that COO in the past about naval or military donations, and was turned down, please feel free to contact me via the web site or Rick Thom at the USS Hornet.

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