The USS Hornet (CV-8)
The USS Hornet was launched on the 14th of December, 1940. It was the the third and last carrier built in the Yorktown class. It was built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Newport News, VA. It was commisioned by the US Navy in 1941. After a training cruise in the Carribbean the Hornet returned to Norfolk. In February 1942 tests were conducted off of Norfolk, Virginia and two B-25s were succesfully launched from her deck, proving that the mission was possible. After passing through the Panama Canal, the Hornet apparently stopped in a bay for a short period of time and then continued to San Francisco where Doolittle's B-25s were loaded onto the Hornet for the trip to Japan.
After the raid, the Hornet went to the Pearl Harbor Naval Base of the Pacific Fleet in Honolulu, Hawaii in preparation for the Midway operation. The Hornet, along with sister ships Enterprise and Yorktown were involved in the battle of Midway. The Hornet's air crews will forever be remembered for their devotion to duty as they flew into the middle of the Japanese fleet. All 15 Douglas Devastator aircraft of the Hornet's Torpedo Squadron 8 launched that day were shot down as they attempted to drop their torpedoes at the Japanese aircraft carriers. Other Hornet squadrons participated in the sinking of 4 Japanese carriers. This battle is considered a major turning point of the Pacific war.
Later the Hornet participated in the naval battle for Guadalcanal, an island in the South Pacific that had been invaded by US forces. During the battle of Santa Cruz, the Hornet's aircrews damaged the Japanese aircraft carrier Shokaku as well as attacking other ships. The Hornet was discovered however by Japanese pilots from the Shokaku and Zuikaka and was hit by at least six bombs, two torpedoes, and two Japanese aircraft that crashed into the ship in apparent suicide dives. In approximately 10 minutes the Hornet had been effectively put out of action. An attempt was made to take the ship under tow by a US cruiser, but with Japanese warships nearby, it was decided that the effort was not worth the risk. Four torpedoes were fired at the burning hull by the US destroyers Anderson and Mustin, but the Hornet was still afloat the next morning (October 27, 1942) when it was found and sunk by the Japanese destroyers Makigumo and Akigumo.
Above is a picture of a 1/72nd scale model of the Hornet built by Ryan Spencer that was on display at the Raider's 60th Anniversary reunion in Columbia, S.C.
Ships of Task Force 16
USS Hornet Links
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