Construction on the seventh Hornet (CV-8) began on 25 September 1939 by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co. She was launched on 14 December 1940 and commissioned on 20 October 1941 at the Naval Operating Base (NOB), Norfolk, Virginia.
Hornet was a Yorktown-class aircraft carrier. She was in service for just over one year. While in the Pacific theater, Hornet was involved in the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, and in the Battle of Midway. In the Solomon Islands campaign, she participated in the defense of Guadalcanal and the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, where on 26 October 1942, Hornet was critically damaged and sunk by Japanese aircraft bombs and torpedoes.
Hornet earned the American Defense Service medal, the American Campaign medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign medal with 4 battle stars, and the World War II Victory medal. She was the last U.S. fleet carrier lost in action.
Hornet's commanding officers were Capt. Marc A. Mitscher, from 20 October 1941 to 15 June 1942, and Capt. Charles P. Mason, from 15 June 1942 to 26 October 1942.