Class: Essex Aircraft Carrier

Launched: August 30, 1943

At: Newport News Shipbuilding Co., Newport News, Virginia

Commissioned: November 29, 1943

Modernized and re-commissioned: September 11, 1953 at New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, New York.

Length: 894 feet

Beam: 101 ft. at waterline, 192 ft. at angled deck

Draft: 30 ft.

Displacement: 41,200 tons fully loaded

Armament: WW II: 90 aircraft, 12 5″/38 cal, reduced postwar to 4 5″/38 cal., 8 3″/50 cal., 40 mm and 55 20 mm guns


Aircraft Carrier Hornet Museum

707 W. Hornet Ave

P.O. Box 460

Pier 3, Alameda Point

Alameda, CA 94501

(510) 521-8448

Fax (510) 521-8327


Email (for overnight encampments):

Latitude: 37.772631, Longitude: -122.302852

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The veteran Essex-class carrier USS Hornet (CV-12, CVA-12, CVS-12) is the eighth and most distinguished namesake in a long line of U.S. Navy warships with proud naval histories, beginning with the first Hornet in 1775. The second Hornet assisted the Marines in the decisive battle of Derna (near Tripoli) with a devastating bombardment of the citadel, an action which ended the Barbary Wars. Third Hornet, under the legendary Captain Lawrence, sank the British warships Peacock and Penguin in the War of 1812. Seventh Hornet (CV-8) took the Doolittle Raiders to Tokyo, helped with the Battle of Midway, and was sunk in October 1942, defending Guadalcanal in the Battle of Santa Cruz.

The eighth Hornet (CV-12) had an extraordinary combat record in WW II, engaging the enemy in the Pacific in March 1944, just 21 months after the laying of her keel and the shortest shakedown cruise in Navy history (2 weeks). For eighteen months, she never touched land. She was constantly in the most forward areas of the Pacific war – sometimes within 40 miles of the Japanese home islands. Her pilots destroyed 1,410 enemy aircraft and over one million tons of enemy shipping. Her planes stopped the Japanese super-battleship Yamato and played the major part in sinking her. She launched the first strikes in the liberation of the Philippines, and in Feb. 1945, the first strikes on Japan since the Doolittle raid in 1942. The “Grey Ghost” participated in virtually all of the assault landings in the Pacific from March 1944 until the end of WW II, earning 9 battle stars and the Presidential Unit citation.

In 1969, Hornet recovered the Apollo 11 space capsule containing astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin – the first men who walked on the moon – and Michael Collins. A short time later, she recovered Apollo 12 with the all-Navy crew of “moon walkers”. The F/A 18 fighter plane is named after this distinguished ship.

USS Hornet is a National Historic Landmark and a State Historical Landmark. The ship is located on the east side of San Francisco Bay. A “Living Ship” demonstration is presented on the 3rd Saturday of each month. The ship is host to patriotic events and is also available for private parties.

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