USS Hornet
Hornet bow on small.jpg (14620 bytes)
Hurricane bow and emergency con (click to enlarge)

Essex Class Aircraft Carrier
Photo Gallery.gif (8444 bytes)

Photographed  by Rob Mackie at
Alameda, California
Oct '98, Mar '99

Essex class carriers were the backbone of the US Navy's WWII Pacific operations. And USS Hornet CV-12 (not to be confused with USS Hornet CV-8 of Doolittle raid fame) is among the most famous of this illustrious class. Her combat record was remarkable. Under attack 59 times in 18 months of combat operations, Hornet's air groups and AA guns shot down 668 Japanese planes, destroyed another 747 aircraft on the ground, sank 73 ships with 37 probable sinkings, and damaged an additional 413 vessels.

Subsequent to WWII Hornet underwent two major refits. Her early 50s SCB-27A refit strengthened her flight deck and equipped her with more powerful catapults, in addition to other enhancements that enabled her to handle jets and heavy attack bombers. In 1956 she underwent an even more substantial SCB-125 refit. Among many other enhancements she gained an angled flight deck, a fully enclosed hurricane bow, and a new starboard side deck elevator. She was redesignated CVS-12 and now carried specialized anti-submarine aircraft. Her mission was to detect, track and destroy hostile submarines.

Now on display at the former Alameda Naval Base on San Francisco Bay, USS Hornet is a site to behold. Rescued from the breaker's torch three years ago by a determined - and ultimately successful - group of preservationists, she is now in beautiful shape. Restoration is a continuing process but it is well along, and Hornet is open to the public. I photographed her in October '98 and March '99. Hats off to the group that rescued this famous ship. We - and future generations - are in their debt.

USS Hornet
Essex Class

Vital Statistics
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company
Commissioned: November 29, 1943 Decommissioned: June 26, 1970

Displacement: 41,200 tons full load
Length: 894' oa, 820' wl,  Beam 101' at waterline, 191'11" at angled deck
Flight deck length: 846', Draft 30' (normal)

Armament: WWII-twelve 5"/38, forty-eight 40mm, fifty-five 20mm
Final configuration: four 5"/38, eight 3"/50

Boilers: 8 Babcock and Wilcox (in 4 Fire Rooms),
Engines (4)  Westinghouse Geared Turbines, 150,000 shaft hp
Propellers: four 4-Bladed, Rudder:1, balanced (429 sq ft)
Steaming Endurance: 20,000 miles at 15 knots
Catapults: 2, type H-8 hydraulic
Elevators: 2 deck edge, 1 centerline, (all 46,000 pound capacity)

Complement: (ship's company & air wing): WWII 3,100, final 2,000+

Click thumbnail image to view full size picture

Hornet bow profile.jpg (42243 bytes)
Note faired in hurricane bow

Hornet fwd stbd.jpg (86250 bytes)

Hornet stbd side from ahead.jpg (39365 bytes)

Hornet profile.jpg (64746 bytes)

Hornet stbd stern qtr.jpg (46448 bytes) Hornet stern.jpg (54487 bytes) Hornet stern detail.jpg (67568 bytes) Hornet port side fwd from angledeck.jpg (46394 bytes)
Photo snapped from forward edge of angle deck
Hornet stb island 03.jpg (50699 bytes) Hornet stb island 02.jpg (57519 bytes) Hornet stb island 04.jpg (60648 bytes) Hornet island 01.jpg (36470 bytes)
Hornet island flightdeck side looking up.jpg (65295 bytes) Hornet island 02.jpg (54472 bytes) Hornet radar array.jpg (41995 bytes) Hornet island 01b.jpg (35246 bytes)
Hornet island view 01.jpg (44274 bytes) Hornet hangar deck.jpg (39161 bytes)
Hangar deck
Hornet stbd elevator & island.jpg (41024 bytes)
Starboard elevator
Hornet mast island elevator.jpg (78347 bytes)
Hornet gun sponson.jpg (40070 bytes)
Starboard side forward gun tubs
Hornet 5in 38 caliber 02.jpg (75681 bytes) Hornet 5in 38 caliber 03.jpg (79592 bytes)
5"/38 and director
Hornet 5in 38 caliber.jpg (44459 bytes)
Hornet bridge.jpg (63149 bytes)
Hornet bridge con.jpg (36747 bytes)
WWII armoured con enclosed
by command bridge added post war

Hornet backlit small.jpg (9586 bytes)
Click to enlarge