Built by Newport News Shipbuilding Company in Newport News, VA. Laid down September 25, 1939. Launched December 14, 1940 sponsored by Annie Reid Knox. Commissioned October 20, 1941 into the U. S. Navy (USN) as USS Hornet CV-8, the seventh ship in the U. S. Navy (USN) named Hornet.
During early April 1942 at NAS Alameda loaded sixteen B-25 Mitchells and their air crews.
On April 18, 1942 sixteen B-25 Mitchells led by Lieutenant Colonel James H Doolittle took off from USS Hornet on a bombing mission against Japan dubbed the "Doolittle Raid".
The take offs included:
(aircraft no. 1) B-25B 40-4344 pilot Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle
(aircraft no. 2) B-25B 40-2292 pilot Lt. Travis Hoover
(aircraft no. 3) B-25B "Whiskey Pete" 40-2270 pilot Lt. Robert Gray
(aircraft no. 4) B-25B 40-2282 pilot Everett W. Holstrom
(aircraft no. 5) B-25B 40-2283 pilot David M. Jones
(aircraft no. 6) B-25B "Green Hornet" 40-2298 pilot Dean E. Hallmark
(aircraft no. 7) B-25B "Ruptured Duck" 40-2261 pilot Lt. Ted W. Lawson
(aircraft no. 8) B-25B 40-2242 pilot Captain Edwin J. York
(aircraft no. 9) B-25B 40-2250 pilot Lt. Richard O. Joyce
(aircraft no. 10) B-25B 40-2303 pilot Lt. Harold F. Watson
(aircraft no. 11) B-25B 40-2250 pilot Lt. Richard O. Joyce
(aircraft no. 12) B-25B "Hari Carrier" 40-2249 pilot Captain Chas. R. Greening
(aircraft no. 13) B-25B 40-2278 pilot Wm. M. Bower
(aircraft no. 14) B-25B 40-2247 pilot Lt. Edgar E. McElroy
(aircraft no. 15) B-25B "TNT"
40-2297 pilot Major John A. Hilger
(aircraft no. 16) B-25B "The Bat" 40-2267 pilot Lt. Donald G. Smith
Participated in the Battle
Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
On October 26, 1942 during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands (Battle of the South Pacific) aircraft from Hornet and USS Enterprise (CV-6) severely damaged Shōkaku and Chikuma. Meanwhile, Hornet was attacked by a coordinated dive bombing and aerial torpedo attack by D3A Val and B5N Kates. During a fifteen minute period, Hornet sustained three bomb hits from D3A Val dive bombers, then another bomb hit (followed by the Val crashing into the deck), plus two torpedo hits from B5N Kates and another D3A Val that crashed into the deck.
Damaged, Rear Admiral Murray ordered USS Northampton CA-26 to tow the heavily damaged Hornet while the Japanese were attacking USS Enterprise (CV-6). Later in the day while under tow at a speed of 5 knots, Hornet was attacked by another wave of B5N Kates and sustained another torpedo hit that resulted in the order to abandon ship. Captain Charles P. Mason was the last man to leave.
The surviving crew were quickly rescued by escorting destroyers.
Abandoned but still afloat, USS Mustin DD-413 and USS Anderson DD-411 attempted to scuttled the damaged aircraft carrier absorbed nine more torpedo hits and more than 400 rounds of 5" gunfire before the U. S. forces withdrew from the area as Japanese vessels approached. Finally, Japanese destroyers Makigumo and Akigumo fired four 24" torpedoes at her blazing hull and finally Hornet sank at 1:35pm.
With her sinking, Hornet CV-8 was the last USN fleet carrier ever lost in combat actions. Officially, Hornet was struck from the Naval Vessel Register on January 13, 1943.
Hornet CV-8 earned four battle stars for her World War II service: Battle of Midway, Buin-Faisi-Tonolai Raid, Guadalcanal and the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. Afterwards, USS Hornet CV-12 was eighth ship in the USN.
During late January 2019, RV Petrel located the shipwreck of USS Hornet at a depth of 17,000' / 5,200m on the sea floor. The team used information from nine other U. S. warships that saw the carrier before she sank to narrow the location. During the first dive by one of their ROVs, it located the shipwreck. The discovery was reported in the media during the middle of February 2019.
NavSource - USS Hornet CV-8
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November 25, 2019