Living Ship Days

Living Ship Days

Experience an aircraft carrier in action! Witness simulated flight operations; participate in mission briefings; meet former crew; sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet!

Usually scheduled for the third Saturday of each month.Hornet’s Living Ship Day Season usually runs from February-August and is subject to change. Please check back for updates to our schedule of Living Ship Day Events.

PLEASE NOTE: Our aircraft elevator is undergoing repairs and will not be in use until further notice.

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Scheduled Dates

Saturday, April 25, 2015 – Honoring the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders

Join us in a special tribute to the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders

A special ceremony commemorating the 73rd anniversary of the Doolittle Tokyo Raid will begin at 1 p.m. As part of this, the USS Hornet Museum will recognize the recent award of the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal to the 80 Army Air Force fliers who took part in the April 18, 1942 raid on Tokyo. Led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle, 16 B-25s were launched on a one-way mission from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet CV-8, the predecessor of USS Hornet CV-12 (now the USS Hornet Museum).

On April 15, Congressional leaders in Washington, D.C., formally presented the original Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award that Congress can bestow, to retired Lt. Gen. John Hudson, Director of the Air Force's National Museum in Dayton, Ohio. Hudson accepted the medal in place of Dick Cole, who was to accept on behalf of the 80 Doolittle Raiders, only two of whom are still living: retired Lt. Col. Dick Cole (Doolittle’s co-pilot during the Raid) and former SSgt. David Thatcher.

Additional bronze replica medals were also presented that day to the families of the Raiders and other key raid participants, one of which is Hornet CV-8. During the Museum tribute, the replica Congressional Gold Medal awarded to Hornet CV-8 will be officially presented to the USS Hornet Museum for permanent display.

Frank Kappeler’s daughter, Francia, will accept her father’s medal. Frank was the Bay Area's own Doolittle Raider, having been born in San Francisco, raised in Alameda, and retired in Santa Rosa. Kappeler served as navigator aboard the mission's No. 11 B-25 and bailed out along with his fellow crewmen when its engines stopped 10,000 feet over China. With the help of Chinese citizens, he escaped capture by Japanese soldiers.

The medal awarded to the late RADM Henry Miller will also be presented to his son, local Bay Area resident Hank Miller, Jr. RADM Miller was the Navy pilot who taught the Doolittle Raiders how to launch from an aircraft carrier.

The presentation will also include a WWII veteran and former member of the CV-8 crew, Richard Nowatzki. He witnessed the launch of the historic raid and will share memories of the Raiders. He remained with Hornet CV-8 until the ship was sunk in combat in October 1942. Limited supplies of his book, Memoirs of a Navy Major, are available for purchase through our Ship’s Store, and he will be available to sign them following his presentation.

To view a video of the April 15th Congressional Doolittle ceremony,
please visit this C-Span page.

If you enjoy our Living Ship Days, and the variety of informative speakers and exciting activities we offer, please consider making a donation directed specifically to the Education Department. Contact the Donations Department by phone at: (510) 521-8448 x238 or email: Thank you for your support!

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