Launched in 1943, the USS Hornet CV-12 was a US Navy’s fleet carrier which was used in the Pacific Theater of operations. She was the second American carrier named Hornet; the other was the CV-8. Being an Essex-class warship, she carried up to 100 aircraft: Grumman F6F Hellcat, Vought F4U Corsair, Douglas SBD Dauntless, and TBF Avenger, which took off her 266m-long flight deck during World War II. Douglas A-4 Skyhawk and F-4 Phantom II aircraft were part of her offensive weapons during the Cold War. Her defensive weaponry consisted of twelve 127mm (5″) guns, thirty-two 40mm Bofors AA guns, and forty-six 20mm AA guns.
As part of the Fast Carrier Task Force, under John S McCain Sr, the USS Hornet CV-12’s aircraft attacked Japanese positions on the islands of Saipan and Tinian, in the Mariana Islands in early June 1944, preceding the US invasion of those islands that would take place in July. On June 19 and 20, 1944, she took part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea, during which her dive bombers sank the Japanese carrier Hiyo. In October 1944, during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, she launched air raids against enemy ships. In February 1945, her aircraft provided fire support to US troops during the invasion of Okinawa. She also launched air strikes against Japanese targets in Tokyo and other cities.
The CV-12 was decommissioned in 1947, but would be recommissioned in 1951. Having joined the 7th Fleet and being redesignated CVA-12 (attack carrier), she was upgraded with an angled flight deck, steam catapults, and a hurricane bow in early 1956. However, two years later, she would be redesignated CVS-12 (anti-submarine). In the 1960s, she conducted naval operations during the Vietnam War. In 1969, Hornet’s helicopters picked up the three astronauts from Apollo 11 Command Module as it floated on the Pacific Ocean. She was finally phased out of active service in 1970. Today, the USS Hornet is a museum ship, located on Alameda Point, California.
Length: 266 m (290 yd)
Beam: 45 m (49 yd)
Draft: 8.66 m
Displacement: 27,100 tons
Power plant: 4 Westinghouse geared steam engines, with 4 shafts, supplied by 8 boilers, generating 150 hp
Speed: 33 knots
Range: 20,000 nautical miles
Crew: 3,500 men