Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

Hornet (CV-8)


Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, October 1942

Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, October 1942. A Japanese Type 99 shipboard bomber (Allied codename Val) trails smoke as it dives toward USS Hornet (CV-8), during the morning of 26 October 1942. (80-G-33947)


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.

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USS HORNET (CV-8)

USS Hornet (CV-8). View taken at Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Virginia, 28 February 1942, looking forward from island, along starboard side of flight deck, forward. Note Grumman F4F Wildcats and Curtiss SBC Helldivers on deck; 20 mm. and 1.1" batteries, etc. (National Archives, 19-N-29061)



USS HORNET (CV-8)

USS Hornet (CV-8). Courtesy of John H. Chafee, 1974, Gordon Grant, 1942, artist. (NH 82718-KN)



Photo #: 80-G-66132  USS Hornet (CV-8)

USS Hornet (CV-8) enters Pearl Harbor, 26 May 1942. She left two days later to take part in the Battle of Midway. Photographed from Ford Island Naval Air Station, with two aircraft towing tractors parked in the center foreground. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives. (80-G-66132.)



Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands

USS Hornet (CV-8) dead in the water with a destroyer alongside, 26 October 1942. (80-G-304514)



Photo #: 80-G-34110  Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, October 1942

Crew members of USS Hornet (CV-8) prepare to abandon ship on 26 October 1942, after she was disabled by Japanese air attacks. Photographed from USS Russell (DD-414). Note radar antennas on the carrier's masts and gun directors, and other details of the ship's island and port side. Radar antennas include those for FD types mounted atop the two Mark 37 gun directors at the island ends, a CXAM atop the foremast and a smaller radar (presumably an SC) partially visible atop the after mast. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. (80-G-34110)



USS HORNET (CV-8)

USS Hornet (CV-8). View taken while alongside Pier 7, Naval Operating Base, Norfolk, Virginia, in February 1942, prior to her departure for the war zones. Her air group consists of Grumman F4F-4s (VF-8), Curtiss SBC-4s (VS-&VB-8) and Douglas TBD-1s (VT-8). Camouflage on ship is measure 12 (MOD.) (National Archives, 19-N-28431)



USS HORNET (CV-8)

USS Hornet (CV-8). View of hangar deck, 19 October 1941, while the ship was fitting out at her builder’s yard (Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co.). (National Archives, 80-G-13976)



Photo #: NH 64472  Doolittle Raid on Japan, 18 April 1942
Doolittle Raid on Japan, 18 April 1942. Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle (left front), leader of the attacking force, and Captain Marc A. Mitscher, commanding officer of USS Hornet (CV-8), pose with a 500-pound bomb and USAAF aircrew members during ceremonies on Hornet's flight deck, while the raid task force was en route to the launching point. (U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph, NH 64472.)


Photo #: 80-G-40300  Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, October 1942

Damage to the smokestack and signal bridge of USS Hornet (CV-8) after it was struck by a crashing Japanese dive bomber, during the morning of 26 October 1942. Smoke at bottom is from fires started when the plane subsequently hit the flight deck. Note ship's tripod mast, with CXAM radar antenna in top left and the flag still flying above the damaged structure. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the U.S. National Archives. (80-G-40300)


Published: Tue Feb 25 15:42:54 EST 2020