USS Hornet Museum at Alameda Naval Air Station
One of the smartest things the US Navy has done is to release decommissioned Naval Ships into continued service as Museums. But none have the history of the aircraft carrier, USS Hornet (CV-12). Currently docked at the Alameda Naval Air Station which has been made famous by the guys on Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters. The Air Station is across the bay from San Francisco, the USS Hornet is actually the eight US Naval Ship to bear the name.
The long tradition of history behind the name “Hornet” was started in 1805 by the second USS Hornet during the First Barbary War. She was part of the squadron that bombarded the cities of Derna and Tripoli. These actions forced the Pasha to accept terms of peace.
It was not until WWII, when the first Aircraft Carrier to carry the name launched the Doolittle Raid, fought at Midway and Guadalcanal, and was finally lost at the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. After she was sunk, the US Navy renamed the then under construction USS Kearsarge to the USS Hornet. She was launched just over a year later, and less then four months after that was participating in the island hopping strategy against the Japanese. She was present at pretty much every important Battle in the Pacific, including Iwo Jima and the Battle of the Philippine Sea.
After World War II, she saw action in Vietnam, and was the carrier that picked up both the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 Capsules.
In addition to the ship being a museum piece, there are several aircraft on it’s deck and in it’s flight hanger.
They even have a display about the Apollo Program, including this very rare customized NASA Decontamination AirStream Trailer that was “home” for the astronauts after they returned to earth.
On top of the ship itself, the view is pretty amazing.
Lastly, the USS Hornet keep good company.
The SS Keystone State on one side.
On the other side, the MV Cape Henry.
Overall I think this was among the most enjoyable Museum ships I’ve been on, and solidifies my belief even more that such ships should be saved as much as possible. After seeing the USS Hornet, I hope that the troubles with the USS Ranger get taken care of and she ends up in Portland.