Time+Place: USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier
I will admit– I have a fascination with all things Navy. I’m not quite sure why. Perhaps it’s my interest in history, but most likely it comes from movies and TV (Top Gun was the hit movie during my impressionable teen years and today, I love to workout on the treadmill to NCIS!) So, when my family and I took a day trip to the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, California, I was not disappointed. There is detailed historical information throughout the ship and of course, on deck, there was a time to reminisce Maverick and Goose antics!
The USS Hornet aircraft carrier has a rich history dating back to 1775. The aircraft carrier docked in Alameda, CA (USS Hornet CV-12) is the 8th ship to bear the name and is one of the most decorated ships in the US Navy. It’s predecessor, the Hornet CV-8 and it shared the incredible task of battles in the Pacific during World War 2. The CV-8 lost a courageous fight/air attack at the Battle of Santa Cruz. The next year, 1943, the USS Hornet CV-12 was launched to continue to fight for the Pacific. After countless battles and subsequent awards, it continued to make history post WWII by recovering the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 capsules and their crew in 1969. The ship was decommissioned in 1970 and became a museum in Alameda in 1998. In 1999, the US Hornet was named a State Historic Landmark.
As we walked from room to room and deck to deck, seeing all the phones, hoses and gadgets at every turn, I could only imagine what this ship was like during WWII. The hustle and bustle of sailors scrambling through these passage ways while the ship was under attack must have been quite a scene.
And then there are the gauges. Gauges everywhere. I’m sure every gauge has a specific purpose, and most likely a specific sailor to monitor them. I can only imagine this was quite a task!
Navigating a Navy aircraft carrier also takes some practice. The ship is incredibly large. When we visited the USS Hornet, we had just returned from a boating adventure ourselves in the Galapagos. The size comparison between ships was amazing.
Up on deck is where the real power of this ship lies. To envision a fighter jet being catapulted off the deck and/or landing is definitely a Top Gun moment! By no means is there room for error.
Clearly, though, one of the other treats to visiting the USS Hornet Museum is the views from the back of the ship– the gorgeous San Francisco skyline. With or without fog, this is a view that won’t get old. So, if you are Navy fan, a WWII fan, or just need a great half day outing while visiting San Francisco, be sure to head over the Bay Bridge to see the Hornet and learn a little history too!
USS Hornet (CV-12) on Wikipedia
Historical Navy Ships Visitor Guide – USS Hornet
Historical Photos of the USS Hornet (CV-12)