Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

USS Hornet (CV-8), 1941-42

Commissioned in October 1941 at Newport News, Virginia, the Yorktown-class aircraft carrier, USS Hornet (CV-8) was ordered in March 1942 to the Pacific.  Only a month later, she took part in the Doolittle Raid on April 18 to launch bombers to attack the Japanese homeland.  Hornet was sent to the South Pacific and reinforce units during the Battle of the Coral Sea in May and to participate in the Battle of Midway in June, where her planes helped sink the Japanese cruiser Mikuma.   She then participated in the fight for Guadalcanal in August and became the only U.S. aircraft carrier serving in the South Pacific at that time.  During the Battle of Santa Cruz on October 26, Hornet was attacked by Japanese aircraft whilst her carrier aircraft where returning from damaging the Japanese carrier Shokaku.  Despite U.S. destroyers trying to scuttle her, she remained afloat until sunk by torpedoes from Japanese submarines the following day.  In late January 2019, research vessel Petrel found the remains of Hornet in the South Pacific near the Solomon Islands. 

Image:  80-G-41197:  USS Hornet (CV-8) launches U.S. Army Air Force B-25 bombers at the start of the Doolittle Raid, April 1942.  Official U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.