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The might of an aircraft carrier exists in its ability to move at will about the world’s oceans, projecting power at sea whenever and wherever it is needed. At the heart of a carrier’s strength is its aircraft, without which it would be ineffective. Her Air Groups provided the lethal sting in Hornet’s tail. Hornet’s effectiveness and success was dependent on the capabilities of her highly trained pilots and aircrews, and the specialized aircraft which operated from her veteran flight deck.

In World War II, her air groups consisted of a fighter (VF) squadron, a bombing (VB) squadron and a torpedo (VT) squadron. During the 1950s as the technology of naval warfare evolved, so too did the complexity and specialty of carrier-based aircraft. Joining the classic fighter and attack aircraft on Hornet’s flight deck were electronic/early warning, photo-reconnaissance, and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. Dual-role aircraft also provided aerial tanking and limited cargo capabilities and helicopters proved essential to carrier operations which included search and rescue missions.

Combat Record Awards

The USS Hornet (CV-12) was awarded seven Battle Stars for Pacific service in World War II:
  • One Star — Asiatic-Pacific Raids
  • One Star — Hollandia Operation
  • One Star — Marianas Operation
  • One Star — Western Carolina Islands Operation
  • One Star — Western New Guinea Operation
  • One Star — Leyte Operation
  • One Star — Luzon Operation
USS Hornet was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for the following operations:
  • Air Group 2 (VF-2, VB-2, VT-2, and part of VFN-76)
  • March 29 – May 1, 1944 — Palau, Hollandia, Truk.
  • June 11 – August 5, 1944 — Marianas, Bonins, Yap.
  • September 6 – September 24, 1944 — Philippines, Palau.
  • Air Group 11 (VF-11, VB-11, and VT-11)
  • October 10 – Nov. 22, 1944 — Ryukyus, Formosa, Philippines, Luzon.
  • December 14 – Dec. 16, 1944 — Luzon.
  • January 3 – January 22, 1945 — Philippines, Formosa, China Sea, Ryukyus.
  • Air Group 17 (VF-17, VBF-17, VB-17, and VT-17)
  • February 16 – June 10, 1945 — Japan, Bonins, Ryukyus.

Combat Record Statistics

In 18 months of combat operations, USS Hornet produced the following statistics:
  • 668 Japanese planes shot down
  • 742 Japanese planes destroyed on the ground
  • 1,269,710 tons of enemy ships sunk or heavily damaged: 73 ships sunk, 37 probable, 413 damaged
  • Ship’s engines burned 28,437,630 gallons of fuel oil
  • Ship’s evaporators distilled 41,231,453 gallons of fresh water
  • Ships steamed 155,000 miles (equal to six trips around world)
Air Wings:
  • Aircraft burned 5,644,800 gallons of aviation gasoline
  • Aircraft fired 4,878,748 rounds of machine gun bullets
  • Aircraft delivered 17,793 bombs, 5,842 rockets, and 116 torpedoes
  • Aircraft flew 18,569 combat sorties
  • Aircraft logged over 23,000 arrested landings
Ship’s Guns:
  • Fired 7,275 rounds of 5″ ammo
  • Fired 115,179 rounds of 40 mm ammo
  • Fired 409,580 rounds of 20 mm ammo

1 carrier sunk, 1 cruiser sunk, 10 destroyers sunk, 42 cargo ships sunk, and assisted in the sinking of the super battleship Yamato.

General Statistics

USS Hornet CV-8

  • displacement (empty) – 19,800 tons
  • flight deck length – 824 feet
  • flight deck width – 114 feet
  • draft – 24 feet

The USS Hornet CV-12 is one of the 24 legendary Essex-class aircraft carriers built during and after World War II. Built at Newport News, Virginia, and the eighth ship to be named “Hornet,” she is one of the most decorated ships of the US Navy.

For 16 continuous months Hornet was in action in the forward areas of the Pacific combat zone, sometimes within 40 miles of the Japanese home islands.

  • Under air attack 59 times, she was never seriously damaged.
  • Her aircraft destroyed 1,410 Japanese aircraft, only Essex exceeded this record.
  • Her air groups destroyed or damaged 1,269,710 tons of enemy shipping.
  • 72 enemy aircraft shot down in one day during the famous “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot.”
  • 10 Hornet pilots attained “Ace in a Day” status.
  • 255 aircraft shot down in a month.
  • 30 of 42 VF-2 Hellcat pilots were aces.
  • Supported nearly every Pacific amphibious landing after March 1944.
  • Scored the critical first hits in sinking the super battleship Yamato.
  • Launched the first carrier aircraft strikes in support of the liberation of the Philippine Islands.
  • In 1945 launched the first strikes against Tokyo since the 1942 Doolittle Raid.

General Dimensions & Specifications

LENGTH, overall:

1943: 876 feet
1956: 893 feet

BEAM, extreme width:

1943: 147 feet
1956: 192 feet

DRAFT (under load):  29 feet

DISPLACEMENT, Standard:

1943: 27,100 tons
1953: 33,100 tons

DISPLACEMENT, Full Load:

1943: 33,900 tons
1956: 40,300 tons

HEIGHT ABOVE WATERLINE (top of mast): 190 feet

KEEL TO TOP OF MAST: 229 feet

COST (Original): $69 million

Engineering Plant and Mechanical

ENGINES: 4 Westinghouse Geared Turbine Engines

BOILERS: 8 Babcock & Wilcox M-Type

PROPELLERS: 4  four-bladed propellers of solid manganese bronze; 15 foot diameter, 27,190 lbs each

LENGTH OF SHAFTS:

No. 1 and 4: 258 feet
No. 2 and 3: 186 feet

SHAFT DIAMETER: 2 feet

PROPULSION: 150,000 horsepower

RUDDER: 430 sq. ft. in surface area

ANCHOR CHAINS: 2 chains — 1,100 feet long, 108,000 lbs

Armament

WWII:

(12) 5-in. 38-cal. (4 twin mounts, 4 single)
(10) 40 mm quad mounts
(59) 20 mm single mounts

1953:

(8)  5-in. 38-cal. single mounts
(14) 3-in. 50-cal. twin mounts

1956:

(7) 5-in. 38-cal. single mounts
(4) 3-in. 50-cal. twin mounts

1965:

(4) 5-in. 38-cal. single mounts

USS HORNET Specifications

KEEL LAID: 3 August 1942

LAUNCHED: 30 August 1943

COMMISSIONED:

CV-12: 29 November 1943
CVA-12: 11 September 1953
CVS-12: 18 December 1958

DECOMMISSIONED (Final):  26 June 1970

CREW COMPLEMENT:

WWII: 3,600 – 4,000 including Air Wing
Post-WWII: 3,000 – 3,500 including Air Wing

NUMBER OF AIRCRAFT:

WWII: 92 – 101
1953 – 1958: 86
1958 – 1970: 44