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USS Hornet (CV-8)

Please see below for item level images and donated collections containing photographs of USS Hornet (CV-8)

USS Hornet (CV-8) was laid down on 25 September 1939 at Newport News, Va., by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.; launched on 14 December 1940; sponsored by Mrs. William F. Knox, wife of Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox; and commissioned on 20 October 1941 at the Naval Operating Base (NOB), Norfolk, Va., Capt. Marc A. Mitscher in command.

USS Hornet (CV-8) shifted to the Norfolk Navy Yard, Portsmouth, Va., on the afternoon of 24 October 1941, then entered dry dock no. 4 on 16 November, remaining there until undocking on the 23rd. During the first watch on 29 December 1941, USS Hornet (CV-8) separated from USS Washington and USS North Carolina and their escorts and rendezvoused with USS Noa. Transiting the Panama Canal on 11 March 1942, USS Hornet (CV-8) cleared Balboa the following morning, and that afternoon (1549) brought on board Cox. W. R. LaBuron, F3c L. R. Masella, and AS Joseph E. Durik, the last gravely injured, from Meredith, along with Lt. John S. Peek (MC), who was embarked to assist in their care.

Standing in to Pearl Harbor on 25 April 1942, USS Hornet (CV-8) moored in Berth F-9 off NAS Pearl Harbor, and fueled from USS Sabine (AO-25) the following day. The carrier remained at Pearl until the morning of the 30th, when she sailed as part of TF-16, in company with USS Enterprise, three heavy cruisers, seven destroyers and two oilers, their mission, as put succinctly in USS Hornet (CV-8)’s War Diary: “To halt Japanese advance in South Pacific and institute offensive action.” While USS Enterprise and USS Hornet (CV-8) did not encounter the enemy during their voyage into the South Pacific, they did, by their presence, cause alarm to the Japanese Navy, and hamper their operations in that theater. When USS Hornet (CV-8) arrived back at Pearl Harbor on 26 May 1942, Capt. Charles P. Mason reported for duty, slated to relieve Mitscher as the carrier’s commanding officer.

Eventually, on 11 June 1942, USS Hornet (CV-8) received 10 Grumman TBF-1 Avengers from USS Saratoga, assigned to VT-8, and nine SBDs to bring VS-8 and VB-8 up to strength (0648-0710), upon completion of which the task force headed north “for possible participation in [the] Aleutian campaign.” USS Hornet (CV-8) returned to the yard on 3 July 1942, mooring in Berth B-12, where she received a fifth 1.1-inch mount at the bow, replacing the two 20-millimeter mounts. Returning to Pearl an hour before the end of the afternoon watch on 16 July 1942, USS Hornet (CV-8) moored off Ford Island at F-2. USS Hornet (CV-8), loaded, fueled, and provisioned, cleared Pearl Harbor at 1024 on 17 August 1942 as flagship for TF-17, and wearing the flag of Rear Adm. George D. Murray, who had previously commanded USS Enterprise. 

The attempt to scuttle the irreparably damaged USS Hornet (CV-8), by gunfire and torpedoes from destroyers Mustin and Anderson failed. As Japanese ships closed in, USS Mustin and USS Anderson set course away from the burning carrier that refused to sink. Abandoned, and already damaged by bombs and torpedoes, and the attempted scuttling by torpedoes and gunfire, USS Hornet (CV-8) was finally sunk by the Japanese destroyers Akigumo and Makigumo.

For a complete history of USS Hornet (CV-8) please see its DANFS page.