USA Website

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If you have any stories about your time on the HORNET e-mail them to me at drmiles at caltech dot edu,
or go to the Crew Story Submission Page and fill out the form, I will then add them to this page.
You can also send them to me via U.S. Mail at:

Dwayne Miles
Stage Manager / Systems Administrator
(Mail Code) 332-92
Pasadena, California 91125

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I've been part of the Hornet crew for almost 6 years. I never believed in ghosts or spirits until the day one set out to play with me! My colleague and I were alone about 6pm and shutting off lights throughout the ship one Saturday. We went below to an area on the third deck that is not open to the public-and is used for old storage. It was pitch black except for our flashlights. We were feeling a little "goosebumpy" so were just turning to leave the area and head back upstairs when a very loud "bang" echoed through the steel. Something SLAMMED a heavy, metal hatch door right behind us! If you've been aboard, you know there is no breeze that far below and the ship doesn't rock. Besides, those doors are old and stiff, and so heavy it often takes some muscle to get them closed!We ran back up those ladders! Despite all the reports, everyone concurs that our ghosts are happy to have us aboard restoring their ship, so don't be afraid to come visit our magnificent carrier a nyway!!


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I was in V-4 Division from 1960-63. In Sept. 2010 I met with several of my crew members in Alemeda to tour the Hornet Museum. We enjoyed our time together, reliving the "old" stories of growing up together on the Hornet. We would like to find others that served during the same time for a future get-together in Sept. 2011. Anyone who served during this time that remembers Warren Holland, Jim (Ozzie) Campbell, Wally Walston, Gary Brown, Bob Faber, Bill Lyman, Richard Cassity, Tom (Tex)Cummings, Ron Miller, Tommy Cookson, Jimmy Turner, Roger (Indian) Glenn, Dennis Lamarie, Steve Cabal or Frank Orito please contact me at 770-631-3494 or

Warren G. Holland

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My grandfather was William Bruce Willett he was aboard the Hornet when it went down in 1942. Although he has told me quite a few stories before his death in 98' I would love to hear something from anyone that may have known my grandfather. Please if anyone knew him please contact me I would love to hear from you. Is there anywhere I could find a list of all the sailors aboard the hornet apon its sinking?

Mike Fulcher Jr.

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In 1942, Bill McCaw of Columbia, SC, was a 17-year-old rear gunner in a SBD Douglas Dauntless Dive Bomber on the USS LEXINGTON (CV-2). Shortly before the Battle of The Coral Sea, he was transferred to the USS YORKTOWN (CV-5). The LEXINGTON was lost at that battle. Shortly before the Battle of Midway, Bill was transferred to the USS HORNET (CV-8). The YORKTOWN was lost at that battle. Shortly before the Battle of the Eastern Solomans, Bill was transferred to the USS ENTERPRISE (CV-6). The HORNET was lost at that battle. All of Bill's buddies said if he was transferred from the ENTERPRISE, they were going with him. The ENTERPRISE survived the war.

Bob Bartlett

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My Name is Ms. V, My father, however; is George Henry Maynor, #2687503 and he was aboard the USS Hornet( C V 8 )and a survivor when she met her fate. So glad for him, bless his soul and all others, for he is almost eighty years old and sharp as a tack, and especially for his exact memories.
Today, he named two or three men on the Hornet whom he has razor sharp memories, which I can reveal.
My father was a plane captain,( not enlisted,) so there was no blending with the pilots, although he speaks fondly of Ensign George Gay ,Torpedo Eight and how he watched the fate of his crew while he was in the ocean. My dad recalls, that Ensign Gay was quite a gambler among the the un enlisted, and played cards alot with the men.(and speaking out of school he got in trouble] My father spoke of Lt. Waldren and wondered why things happened as they did ,as Waldron ran out of fuel, with out the aid of fighter protection , and why Waldron made the descion to go on without fighter protection.
If anyone knows or is related to LT. Powers, or Powell, he was a fighter pilot, and my dad was his plane captain, ( in terms a plane captain is the one person who makes sure everything is in order on the plane and has five other men under him, the pilots fate and confidence bascically lies in the hands of an eighteen year old plane captain{my dad} and a few others and if anyone knows or is related to a Lt. Powell, or Powers he was a pilot and gave my dad ,before he left on his mission his wallet and personal effects, dad says they always gave the plane captains their personal effects,unfinished letters etc. Powell, Powers never returned, to this day my dad will never get over it, shorly after he got another pilot and still another whom never returned. I have their ctures always in my home. Lt.Cook, was one person my dad talked about whom was much older then the other men, (my dad was only eighteen] evidently Cook worked his way from Seaman to Warrent officer ,and then finally Lieutenant ,evidently he was involved in the aircraft changes .
Lt. Cook kept my dad under his wing, knowing my dads' natural abilitiy to keep the planes in the air, and therefore chose to keep my dad on, which my dad proved to be an asset , a natural born mechanic and a master of dealing with keeping those planes pasted together and in the air. My dad was a six year man, war or no war,he brought up fondly another today a Lt .Commander Sanchez whom he seemed to like and he was the one with he boots on on the flight deck , the picture I have to this day on the piano.
My dad told me when I was a little girl I had to know the difference between a TBD ,SBD,F6F and an F4F4, as if any young girl would know , but I did, the only thing was no one else knew what I was talking about but I did as we sat and watched Victory at sea.( My mom always walked out of the room)to this day, I don't think she would know the roar of a B24 or a B17 poor mom she doesn't know what shes missing.]
Watching an old John Wayne movie, dad would say "What kind of plane is that, look at the nose thats how you tell years, as on the rear end of a car the year and as I am a Historian", he ferreted out major mistakes in the old John Wayne movies.
In closing ,I found him an F4F4 in the desert, the fuselage was gone, no matter, I bought it to put in his front yard. Dad said there is nothing better in the whole world then to smell the exhaust of an F4F4 in the morning and to this day he said if he could bottle the exhaust he would make millions..... !!!!!!!!!!!!Actually I tend to agree!!!!!!!!!!
My father also refers to a friend on board by the name of Skinner, no other information, except he had, ( with respect to the ladies } two bluebirds tatooed over each breast . You have to love my dad, and he was with Skinner when he was killed.

Ms. V

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I was on Hornet CV8 until it was sunk and I was in Japan in an AJ-2P outfit, I was the Plane Captain on one of these and We made 26 Landings and take offs and Qualified three Pilots On the Hornet CV12, One or the Planes caught the Barrier on Her first landing so We took the Pilot aboard and Made the Landings I thought it was really something to get to land on the New Hornet.

Arnold Barker

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Would like to locate LCDR James C. Robinson or Lt. Lowell Lindsay who I spotted in the water after their helo went down on May 12, 1967 in the Sea of Japan while I was on board the USS Davidson De 1045

Robert Schippers

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I reported aboard the Hornet at Pier Echo Long Beach fresh out of PR -"A" school in June 63 and left on Feb 28 1965. I made 1 West Pac cruise and finished at Hunter's Point, Frisco, in the "gay bay" during her overhaul there. Our CO was Captain Hardy and RAdm. Luker was CVSG-57. I was the only PR in the V-6 div. 2 months into our cruise till Nov 64. There was Chief White,PRC but he was chief MAA and I sought his technical expertise when I needed help. I heard he was the 1st PRC in the Navy but I am not sure. I remember the crash of the AD and the GQ it caused and I believe we lost 2 or 3 in that tragedy. I liked the ship and the experience of growing up from a dumb-ass kid into a semi dumb-ass man and looking back to the time I spent aboard Hornet, it was good for me. I remember PR3 Dave "clowny" Shustra and PR2 Green. I worked at Long Beach Naval Shipyard for 20 years but unfortunately Hornet was resting at Bremerton so I never got to work on her as a Shipfitter. I am so glad she still lives but I wish she was permanently moored next to the Queen Mary in Long Beach

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Just a quick note regarding the Hornet. My grandfather was Publish Relations Director and editor of the NNS&DD Bulletin for some 30 years. This included the building and launching of the Hornet.
One of his favorite party stories involved the Hornet and it's launching ceremony. Back when it was launched it seems that they used Leather casings on the hydraulic supports that held the ship previous to its journey down the ramp after launching. My grandfather stationed on the dais to direct both the public and private procedures of the event was notified during the keynote speech, I forget the speaker, that there was a problem. The leather casings had begun to break with the eight of the ship. He was given minutes before the inevitable slide into the James River would begin.
My Grandfather gentle nudged the speaker and advised him that he need to finish promptly and quickly handed the tethered bottle of champagne to the lady charged with the breaking of the bottle over the bow. The was done in the nick of time and the ship was launched successfully with the crowd none the wiser. My grand father would recount this story delighting in trying to make the same concerned face of the gentlemen from the pits covered in grease explaining the situation to him.
The retelling of this story is one of my memories of my grand father, Robert B. Hopkins, "The Voice That Launched a Thousand Ships"

Kevin R. Wright

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I was not on the Hornet; however, I was a crew member of the U.S.S. Sproston DD-577 from January 9th, 1962 to March 23rd, 1964. During my tenure on the Sproston, we made a West-Pac Cruise with the Hornet in July 1962 to December of 1962. The U.S.S. Tang was attached to our Task Force.
Sometime after we returned to Pearl Harbor, our home port, our Captain, Commander O.D. Tompkins received a large black and white photograph that had been taken by the Tang via her periscope. The Tang had penetrated the circular screen of eight tin-cans and the Hornets sonar to sail in the Hornet's wake for several hours/days while she took photographs of all of the ships in the screen. The photographs were in 3 parts and the Lat/Long and date were imprinted on the photograph. It was passed around to the crew. I was told that the Tang got pictures of all of us, and then escaped undetected!
On December 3rd, of 1962 we left Subic Bay to meet the Hornet on station. We proceeded towards Hawaii and the West Coast of the US. Upon rounding the northern part of Luzon we were met by a developing typhoon. We refueled from the Fleet Oiler USS Guadalupe. A few days later the seas became so rough that the Hornet was taking water over her flight deck forward. I personally saw her flight deck in the water on 3 occasions. Shortly afterward she and 4 Destroyers home ported in Long Beach, California broke off from our Destroyer Division, DesDiv 251, and headed South to avoid heavy seas. We were in this Typhoon for 10 days, and broke out of it near Midway.

LeBaron Smith

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My wife, daughter, son-in-law and me just returned from a trip to Alameda to see my old ship the USS Hornet. How proud I was to see her even tho she looked very different from when I last saw her. The old wooden deck is gone and I couldn't find my old 'ready room' but she looked good. I served on her from Feb 1945 to June 1945 with VB17 Bombing Squadron....I flew mostly with Lt Clifford Van Stone......I have my original Log Book showing all our combat missions....I also served on the USS Bunker Hill from June 1943 to when I joined the Hornet. I remember the typhoon that took part of our deck while on the Hornet,the attacks on Iwo Jima, bombing Japan, and being catapulted from the deck. Would love to hear from any of my ol' buds who served with me total for both trips out was 93 carrier landings, 48 combat missions, and 168 combat flying hours. You can reach me at or 1-772-398-6803 or 2602 SE Ruffin Terrace, Port St. Lucie, Fl 34952.

Virgil M Wilson ARM/1C

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In 1966 we were going through very rough weather in the Sea Of Japan. This was possibly the Typhoon I've seen mentioned several times. Anyway one of the crew members on board came up on the flight deck and was warned to go back below decks. He evidently didn't obey the order and shortly later was washed overboard. The fantail watch heard him yelling and sounded the alarm...the weather was so rough there was really little that could be done since we had to keep the bow in the wind. The waves were so high until the ship would actually ride up on a wave and the bow would drop down and stab into the next wave. It was the only time that I got seasick. The hapless sailor who fell overboard was evidently in God's good graces because one of the tin cans that was following us came up underneath this guy and he was able to make them hear him and thus his life was saved...When I said the tin can came up under him, I mean it actually was so rough that the destroyers were going practically out of sight under the waves. I'm sure some of the other crewmates remember this. During this storm the tilley broke loose on the flight deck and we almost lost her. We went out in the storm and put more tie downs on her and kept her onboard...

Ted H. Arnette

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Served in S-2 Sept. 1965 to July 1967. I am in contact one member of S-2, Dennis H. Keck of, Garland, Texas, I live in San Antonio. Would like to hear from others that remember me. People I remember, William A. Blake, Ashland, KY, Ronald (Ron) Hand, Pasadena, CA. Videl Montero, NY., Charles Battle, somewhere in Ohio, Larry Alman, William (Rico) Crawford, somewhere in GA. Greg Gekus, Larry Rielly. If anyone out there know their where-about, I can be reached at;

Ples D. Walker

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Does anyone remember a machinest named Chester Thomas Poteracki?

Kathleen Poteracki Turmell

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While stationed on board i was a aviation store keeper, all these years never told any one about this. i was assigned several store rooms and one of those was c414 just above some ships refers. several times while in the space i heard voices and objects were moved. one time i was moveing an aircrft engine that was in the can unopened, it was off the pallet jack and sitting on the deck i went to the starboard bay to get a clipboard and when i got back the can was moved about 20 feet, at first i thouth it just slid on the deck but we were in calm seas and the deck was not scratched. there were other times also, just wondering if there are other stories of things happening in c414.

Charles Swift

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My late father-in-law was Henry ("Harry") Augustus Boyle. A Brooklyn native, he was a MM2 aboard the Hornet when it was sunk on his 27th birthday! He died in Jacksonville, FL back on Dec. 8, 1976.
He used to regale me with the following two stories: 1) Deep down in the bowels of the ship the guys there always knew when things were getting "hot" topside when they could hear the "pom pom" guns going off - 20mm and 40mm; and 2) Even though he served on two "jeep" carriers afterwards he finished the war on the USS South Dakota with its 18" of steel armored waterline!
Harry Boyle later served time on a floating drydock at Gitmo, various "tin cans", and a shore stint at Newport and Jacksonville. He retired after "19 years and six months" at NAS Jacksonville in summer of 1961.
I still have his Hornet kapok life jacket

Paul Ghiotto SKCS, USNR (ret)

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I served aboard the Hornet 10/30/66 to 4/30/70. I was on two (2) WestPac cruises as well as The Apollo 11 and 12 Recovery Missions. I shot the line out to Apollo 11 for the UDT crew to attach to the capsule so we could bring it aboard. Crossed the Equator three (3) times in nine (9) months as well. It was an honor to be a small part of Our Country's Space History. I am proud to have served my Country. All I did was my job. So I'm not bragging. Thanks to the Grey Ghost, I met and married the woman I spent 41 wonderful years with. I will again be part of history at the 40th anniversary of the 1st moon landing aboard my ship this July. I will join some of my fellow ship mates that sailed after Apollo 11&12. at the Hornet Museum. When People worldwide witnessed the Apollo 11 Splasdown, I was there and a small part of a large crew participating in the recovery mission.

LukeTusing, Jr.

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I was the Teletype Repair for Comm from June 68 To Decom (April 70). Used to fly to other ships to repair TTY equipment. One trip to the Sheldon was during heavy seas. Never thought I would make, but after much tossing and turning and hanging on to the tools, I was pulled in. Next fun time was the High Line back. Got my shoes wet on that one. Some good memories.

James Ward

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I can tell you I was assigned and served on the Hornet CVA-12 from right before it's commissioning in the Brooklyn Navy Yard 1953 till I got out in Oct. 1956. I also proudly served in that same Division as Ray. We were first V-4, then eventually V-7 Div. I was an AB3 then AB2 and did a stint on the MAA Force just before I got out. I also have those same 2 patches and also the 1954 World Cruise and 1955 Far East Cruise Albums (might add that my Grandkids who are now grown always enjoyed looking at them when they came to visit) along with the Across the Equator Diploma. Short story long was, our Chief Pappy Hartswick who was my Firefighting instructer at Norman Okla. Airman School in early 1953 was later on the USS Oriskny around 1958 era where my brother-in-law served under him, which I thought was a very strange coinsidence. I got down to Alameda with my wife when they had the original turning it into a museam event. I think at that time it was for "PlankOwners" and by invitation only.

Forrest Reeves

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When I completed boot camp in 1954 I was sent from boot camp to the USS Hornet CVA-12 I made one Westpac cruise and took the hornet into the yards in Washington State I stayed on board the ship while in dry dock and did duty as fire watch for the people that was working on the ship. It was winter time and snow was all over the place and I was still living on board the ship and they had cut holes all over and it was very cold living onboard and no heat. We finely went to the LCPO and ask him to find us a place that was not so cold to sleep in. The chief had us move off the ship and in to bareks their in the yards while I was there. I received my orders for change of duty and was sent to Corpus Christi, Texas for shore duty and that was the start of my Naval twenty years. R.E. Lange A02 was one of the reasons I stayed in the navy for twenty years. I retired out of the navy in 1974. The hornet was my first real duty after boot camp. I made 3rd class ordnanceman the first time I took the test and went to Texas as 3rd. class. I retired as first class ordnanceman.

G. Steele Retired USNavy !954-1974

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Joined the USS Hornet CVA-12 in 1956 after yeoman school in San Diego, Calif. The ship was in Kobe, Japan with snow on the flight deck. Sure was pretty for a guy from Louisiana. I was assigned to the "r" division and worked in the "log room" from 1956-1960. I worked for some good officers and met some real good friends, Frank Thompson in the log room, Larry Klein in "E" div., Client Williams in the "M" div. And the list could go on forever. During my time aboard the hornet we lost a screw for the second time according to the chief engineer. I really enjoyed my time on the hornet and wish I had stayed in the navy and retired like I should have. One of these days my wife and I want to visit the "grey ghost" in Calif. I look at my cruise books every now and then and look at the pictures and remember the guys and wonder what's going on now in their lives. I will never forget my buddies on the Hornet and hope god will always have his hand on your shoulder. Thanks to the old lady.

Albert L. Garrett


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I was on the Hornet 64-65. I was the Log Room yeoman . I was in R Division. The one story I have was when we were on our way to West Pac. We were refueling the USS Epperson. I was the ship to ship phone talker. We had shot my line over and was talking to other ship, had the pumping pressure and other info and had started refueling, felt a tug on phone and looked down and ship was coming up at me, heard them say break away, break away, she got sucked up right into us crushing her after gun mont. The lines were screaming out and they yelled at me to jump over the lines, they caught me in mid air and pulled me away from the lines. Put the Epperson in Dry Dock in Japan. No one was hurt. I have some pictures of the damage when she pulled along side the next day. Never forget looking down and could have just jumped onto the ship. I am also retired from the Army Guard, Chief Warrant 5.

Ed Calkins YN3

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I was lucky to get through the war without a scratch until five days before we hit the typhoon at Okinawa, I got wounded, in the right arm, on Memorial Day 1945, a gunners mate 3rd class and I were the only ones wounded that day. The strange thing about it is that five days later when we hit the typhoon the war was over for the hornet, and us. Five more days and we would have made it without a problem. I always thought about the poor guys that went through their part of the war and then got killed on the last day, strange and sad feeling to almost make it, and then have something happen that you have no control over.

James R. "Jim" Armstrong

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Remember on our far east cruise when a pilot came in too fast, broke his tail hook, crashed into Tilley. We lost the pilot and a photographers mate on that crash, saw it happen while watching flight-ops on the island. This happened in 1955 while I was attached to ComCarDivOne at the time.

Ron Haun

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Ten days in a typhoon 1959:
The storm chased us from the sea of japan to the philippines and back to the sea of japan I served as helmsman on duty watches in this storm, 35o rolls waves over the bow hitting the bridge heavy seas.

Dean Moore

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Joe Linik in WWII Joe and wife Lorraine Linik

Joe Linik wrote several stories about his time onboard the HORNET in WWII. Unfortunately we lost Joe on 20 January 2011. He will truely be missed.
Above is Joe in WWII and later in life with his wife Lorraine, they were married for 61 years..

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Well Dear Adm. ( Bull ) Halsey look at the fine mess you got us into. In the middle of a typhoon. I'm growing up real fast. Now 19. Will I get 20. I'm monitoring the squak box. It is very busy. From the bowels of the ship comes a message from the Chief Engineer. He says we are reading sixty degrees at the keel. That quickly gets your undivided attention. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know we are on our side.

General Quarters the Boatswain whistles loud and clear. Man your stations. My station was all the way forward, just under the flight deck. A very small compartment just big enough for a compact transmitter and receiver. I strap the key on my leg. A large sign says, (made by some joker), No Farting allowed. You will die from asphyxiation.

Problem here is I can't get there from the flight deck, water is washing over the flight deck. All the hatches are locked for water tight integrity. I have a job to do. Years ago I read about some Captain that said, damn the torpedoes full speed ahead. And I just heard Adm. Halsey say full speed ahead. I can't let the whole Navy down. I can see neon lights in CAPITAL letters on top of the highest building in Canton Ohio, blinking on and off Joe Linick screwed up the damn war.

So= so= think, think,. Meekly I said to Commander Sauerline, Sir could I please use the emergency radio shack in the stern just over the 40mm gun tub.

Horrible shaking, crushing of metal, clinking klanking, banging and water water. Like they say in that poem , water water everywhere and all the planks did shrink. Water water every where but not a drop to drink. The ship was shuddering, like we hit an island.

My God, the flight deck is crushed by a humongous wave. Unbelievable. Take the neon signs down in Canton. Not even Adm. Halsey can get to my station. I was there, and this is the way I saw it. :- )

Retired Sailor Joe

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The USS Hornet could make 32 knots if it had to. And there were times when we needed it. There were times we didn't. We would come up to the flight deck in the evening and breath deeply in the cool, clean air. Like a walk in the park. Look at the southern cross high in the sky, beautiful quiet cool blue water. It's very restful on the flight deck on the Hornet.

We do have water rationing, run in the shower soap up, that's where soap on the rope was invented. Get out for the next man, then run back in to rinse. Not very often do we get to air the bedding. So we go up to the deck for good air.

For about 18 months the Hornet never touched land. Well, I don't want to be a loudmouth and expose a secret. But I will. We did get on shore. We called it Mog Mog. I don't no just where, could have been while we were fueling in Ulithi. Maybe somewhere at the Admiralty Islands, Green islands, all the same. We were standing out.

As far as I know that was the first time the anchor was down. We called this recreation. They put us in the admirals launch, and the Captains barge, loaded down with sailors, and one can of beer for each. The stewards had keys for the stock room. We had cans of beer in our arm pits, hats, pockets, around the belts inside skivvies, taped around the testicles.

There was a lot of coral beach. The recreation was football. No football, so they used cocoanuts. If you didn't catch the pass, you were bleeding. If the football touched you, you were bleeding. If you fell your clothes were torn and you were bleeding. The coral slashed the shoes. You were bleeding.

The boats were comming and going and we all were smashed. Some can't hardly walk. They were trying to get up the jacobs ladders and falling into the ocean. We were all bonded, every body was their buddy and if one fell in, two jumped in to save them.

Well we got them all back. They took the large crane, think it was called a tournopoul. Lowered it down with a large rope net, threw them in the net and dumped them on the hanger deck. It looked like a massacre.

Next day the Hornet and the crew were ready for battle, The recreation was a sensation. I was there and thats the way I saw it.

Joe Linick Bleeding RM1

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When I saw the Hornet in Pearl Harbor I was overwhelmed. What a Boat. My buddy says, a Ship. You bet I say. We came here on the USS HENDERSON. It was in the Boxer Rebellion, wooden plank deck, it was old, it was a pig iron fire trap. The Hornet is a true war ship.

I was thrilled to see, and be a part of the Hornet. The Hornet was the Navy and the Hornet taught me Navy things. My education rose leaps and bounds. What does a kid from high school know about the Navy. The Officers were the leaders, and we have to salute them. My parents were my leaders but I didn't have to salute them. The left and right was Port and Starboard. Front and back was the Stern and Bow. That's the way they talked on the Hornet.

The Hornet and I were steaming toward Okinawa. I mentioned before General Buckner needed Tactical air Support. We just got out of the typhoon. The flight Deck has been crushed. It caused the planes to take off to a strong draft, and they went into the water. Adm. Clark said we have to turn around and take the planes off the stern. Great Idea. Adm. Halsey says it can't be done.

Picture this. Adm. Clark said the Hornet can do it. All those ships in the division had to be turned around. It was like on the freeway going straight toward all those cars coming at us. Battle wagons, cruisers, destroyers, all over the place. HE DID IT. !!!!!!!! The Hornet had the planes on their way first of all the carriers. Taking off the stern. The Hornet planes strafed, bombed and got the job done. Of course the others also did a good job, but the Hornet was there when they needed it.

I was there, I didn't see it all but the rumor was that Adm. Halsey said "That S.O.B. could take his Hornet and his division up a dry RIVER and come back out backwards." If you looked closely, Adm. Clark had a sparkle in his eye and a silly grin all day long. I saw that.

The Hornet was my home and now is a museum in Alameda, Ca.

Backward Joe

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Thinking far back and the Hornet. I grew up in the Navy. My home was the USS HORNET. Had good neighbors. Had a good job. Didn't have to drive, or get the bus to work. The cleaners took the laundry, when we have water rationing, the clothes sometimes come back worse than we sent. Sweepers Man your brooms. Was going to invent a central vacuum system.

The Hornet had a preacher. Same Preacher for Catholic, Baptist, Jew, and all other. Sermon on the mount became the sermon on the Fan Tail. Good life. The only thing we have to worry about was the typhoons and the japs. Never knew why the japs were angry at us. The Hornet kicked their ass, and held her own with the typhoon.

Name the islands, we went there and kicked them. Especially the North Marianas. Tinian, Saipan, Rota and nearby Guam. At Guam a submarine picked up the Ghost of Guam, a radio man that the Guamanian kept alive. We took him aboard.

The story of the Mariana Turkey Shoot has been told many ways. This is the way I saw it. Our Flag Ship, Hornet with Adm. J.J. Clark, Commander Carrier Division 3 and of course Me was in Flag Plot. We were trying to find the Last of the jap fleet. The orders were Tactical Air Support to the Marianas.

Mariners and Catalinas, both had water take off and water landing capability. All night and day they flew a five hundred mile radius scouting for the jap fleet. Boom---Msg. this is their position. Here comes the maps, here comes the the Admiral, here comes everybody. Flag Plot is a small area. They went to a compartment attached to the Flag Plot.

Preparations were started. All the check points, Fuel, who and what goes and plan of attack etc. The Senior Adm. Mitchner or could have been Adm. McCain. They will decide what plan will be used.

Scouts were sent out to look at the situation. One of the scouts saw a plane already landing on Rota. UH OOH now we have a situation we hadn't talked about. First, their plan was made without knowing that japs were refueling at Rota and had enough fuel to get back. Now we go back to the blackboard.

This is urgent, we should have planes in the air. Do our planes carry enough fuel. We go around east of Rota and that helps. It goes on and on, and I can't give you the time, distance, or other facts.

The radio was crackling like thunder. I have to type it. It was an officer from the Senior Adm. He told us the plan. After it was finished they asked me if I got it all. I said I have a few holes. There in Flag Plot was a young man that could take short hand. He said I got it all. I told the commander we have it and will send a "ROGER".

The Hornet's Planes are already on their way. About a half hour later some were still asking to repeat. Adm. Clark turned around pointed at Me and the other kid (sorry I can't remember his name) said give them a higher grade. Not bragging but proud.

Well, we wait and listen, a lot of nervous sweat. Adm. Clark said to the Captain, the Hornet is the finest ship in the Navy. Then the Bow'son pipes an order. Every man not on stations take a station along the port and starboard side, bow to stern with dye markers.

The pilots have whistles with them. If any one thinks they hear or see pilots in the water, they throw a dye marker. Then they switched on the two 36 in. reflector spot lights. They bounced off the clouds. It helped the pilots. We looked like Disneyland in the middle of the ocean. The Hornets radios were transmitting regularly advising the pilots to land on any Carrier. It was very dark. The Hornet landed a number of planes that weren't ours. Some of the pilots were picked up by submarines and destroyers.

The Hornet helped to trash most of the jap ships and planes. It was a hectic day or two. I was on the Hornet, my home!!!

Home again Joe

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The Hornet was steaming north at leisurely pace. We were always busy. The deck apes weren't up at the crack of dawn. The scuttlebutt was that it was just to hot to stay healthy. Every one was sunburned, we all looked like Adonis life guards on the beach. So the discussion started.

We are going north because its too hot, we have to get cooled off so we can work better. That's what them guys in the next compartment said. Geez you do-do you are just a dork like they are. Yep, I said, the Hornet is my home. Nobody picks up their home and takes off north just because it's hot. O.K. smart a*s then what are we doing. Read my lips. We haven't any deedunks for a year, no pogey bait. All we are getting for food is Spam, fried, baked, broiled and bar-b-qued. Welsh rarebit, Auhh uuhhgug.

Did you notice the Air group is not fuelling the planes. Low on fuel. Did you notice that the flyboys are not pushing around planes. That means we are going to meet the tankers and the freighters for provisions. I hope they get a better food supply place. Like what? Like chicken soup with two matzo balls, like gefiltefish with horseradish. That's worse than Spam. Well lets play some cribbage. Well will you look at sparks, after a year he is shaving. Why sparks? I'm getting pretty for the jap women. Good thinking. NOW we are shooting japs so we can have a sex with the jap women. Give me strength!!

Better get some salt peter. This is a really nice day. Nobody hurrying from here to there. Just a lazy day. NOW HEAR THIS. All the crew from the deck edge to the fan tail AIR YOUR BEDDING. At last, we bring up our bedding and lay it out in the sun. That was good for us. The sea gulls, and the porpoises smelled the sour odor and took off. We did clean up, what we called a lick and a promise.

NOW HEAR THIS, prepare to take on provisions. So much for the scuttlebutt. Couple of hours we are secured with taking on provisions. Again, NOW HEAR THIS, prepare for fueling. Can't get into battle without fuel. Here they come. Our signal men are talking with the signal men on the tanker. Anyone there from Great Bend Kansas? Where are we? Do you have a Pilot Jim Miller, he is my brother. And so on and so on.

From the tanker we hear, are you the Hornet? The scuttlebutt is you were hit. No that was the Wasp, it didn't sink. One reply came from a signalman, you are near Alaska. Now EVERYONE says, see I told you we are going to Tokyo. It is freezing. They say we are near Alaska. The cold air brought the firemen and motor macs to come topside and see what was going on. First time I ever saw them. The best part of the cold was it killed the heat rash. Witch Hazel or Bay Rum don't help much. Even the Hornet felt the cold, it spewed out black smoke from the stacks. I think she was shuddering too.

Reminds me of a another thing I never could figure out. All the crew smelled like Witch Hazel and Bay Rum. The Officers always smelled like Avon after shaving cream. I never ever saw a Avon Lady come aboard.

The Hornets planes bombed Tokyo, and so did the rest of the Carriers planes. We got a message from a submarine. They were watching horse races at the Tokyo track. The commander of the Sub. also said radio Tokyo went off the air, and from the pilots, they said Tokyo Rose had heavy nicotine stains on the back of her Kimono !!!!! That's what they said.

Tokyo Joe

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The war was ugly. Very little was asked about the war. Only my golf friends would say a few things about it. They would ask what did you do. The reply would be just one word, the Hornet. That said it all. Thanks to Dwayne Miles and his computer. Since Mr. Miles has posted my e-mail about the Hornet, my friends, relatives and mostly my family has asked what war is like.

My kids ask, all the bombing and shooting, didn't that make you a nervous wreck? Yes and No. No one wants to get killed. When a five hundred pound bomb was rolling on the flight deck, it was nervous time. Now, when and earth shakes my home I get nervous.

When I watch a man, with an asbestos suit and and a fire distinguisher running down the deck after the bomb, there was no time to think of dying, just get the dam thing off the deck. That takes courage. That would shake the Hornet. The pilot radioed that his bomb won't release. Flag plot said land very softly. It released on the flight deck and rolled into the ocean. The thought was the Angels helped the pilot to land softly and saved our Hornet and are A*s.

Have to mention about the Marines. There were twelve Marines aboard. They were for the Admiral. They were also experts on the forty mm guns. That was their General Quarters station on the gun tub. "Gabby" was one of the gunners. Gabby had absolutely no fear. His friends that knew him say He could Bullsh*t his way out off hell. When G.Q. was piped, he was as happy as a bear in the bee hive. A really Big grin. Pulled the cover off the gun, kissed the gun with a big smack, put his head phones on and began cursing. With every foul word known and some not known. In both English and Italian. Come and get me you bastards.

I was supposed to be sleeping. Just finished my watch. I went to the gun tub to watch the professor work. TALKING consistently. He would tell me to keep your eyes peeled and scream if low or high and ten o'clock or whatever. I screamed ten o'clock low. He started cursing and shot the sh*t out of the ocean. It was my fault. Turned out that the wires dangling from the emergency radio were whipping the water all over. Received a msg from a ship way out there saying, my crew is very unhappy, there are shells whistling our bows, note the planes are in the air, not in the water. It didn't faze Gabby, still cursing, grinning, and shooting, $#@& *(_+!!^^ get your damn ship out of the way. I don't know if there are statistics of how many planes he got down, the Hornet knows. I bet Gabby got his share.

When G.Q. was secured, all the heads (toilets) were filled to the hilt. Gabby was shinning his shoes, and trimming his mustache.

Rats a*s Joe

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The USS Hornet is a City. With the air group on board there are more than three thousand people. They live on the Hornet, sleep eat, work here. Just one restaurant, you won't be able to order a pizza. Ships store sells clothing, not a wide variety. Dungarees are clothes of the day. The store don't always have your size. We don't have a tailor. Thats OK , your not trying to impress anyone.

The shoe store don't stay open. Don't look for any SALES. Sunday we have a church. Movies, yes, Ben Hur, with Francis X. Bushman, not a talky. Thousands and thousands of people. No popcorn, well we don't have any money.

Play cards, there is someone that can play anything. You know it's a good thing we don't have money. Remember, they are sailors now but in the civilian world they made their money cheating. No one is perfect.

We even had Symphony music in the park. The symphony was made from the great Hornet band. The park was the forward hanger. The great Hornet Band played current hits. We got the current music from Tokyo rose. With out sheet music the Band tried Pistol Packing Mama. Lay that pistol down. It sounded a lot like jap music. We loved it.

Then looking at old mail again. This is my Mom and Dad. You look just like your Dad. Yep and my sister looks like my Mom. Hey did I ever show you my wife. Yes, about a thousand times. I miss her, she was two months pregnant. Never saw my daughter, only in this picture. Isn't she cute. Whats her name? I wish I could think of something else to write. The same letter for a year. Kiss the baby for me. Tell her I will soon be home. Damn japs.

Just like your city and any other city, the Hornet is our city. I love it!! It's a lot better than a lot of cities I have seen.

No Pizza Joe

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The Hornet and the crew were headed to Pearl Harbor for repairs. Then the course was changed. The Boats piped, Attention, the Captain announced, we have orders to go to Hunters Point in Ca. Pearl Harbor Navy Yard couldn't handle the repairs.

You could hear the screaming, laughing, crying, dancing, all over the Pacific. The Captain was offended. You can understand that he is a life long Navy man. War is his Life. The crew knew that the Hornet is a war ship. They knew the Hornet was hurting. Even the Helmsman said she is limping. We felt the war was close to being over. We felt the Hornet had a lot more service left. She will be re- paired, and continue to serve her country with honor. And she did.

We came under the bridge with many, many pig skin or pig bladder, weather balloons. It was a tradition, coming home. The balloons got tangled on the beams around the bridge. All the car traffic on the bridge stopped. People were waving, applauding, whistling. Sparks said, look at all the women, they are waiting for us.

Land Ho.........Women Yo. Now all that information and teaching about going on leave, from the old sailors can be put into play. There were a few words from the preacher. It sounded similar to the old "Rocks and Shoals" We have heard that, and watched it on the movie. The difference was, the preacher said that if you come back with such things as Gonorrhea, also called The Clap, You come right to my office, I have a table and a Bible. That's the cure !!!! That will also sober you up.

Rocks and Shoals Joe.

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I was proud to have been a member of ships company from early Jan.,1965 to July 1966 and went on a WEST PAC tour with it as well as a middie cruise to Hawaii and a trip to Seattle, Washington on it !

I was a member of V-1 division (Flight deck crew, plane handler), and went aboard her while she was undergoing a FRAMII overhaul across the bay at Hunters Point Naval shipyard in Jan 1965.

I was onboard her when we went to WESTPAC in 1965, and after the cruise was over under Rear Admiral Aurand we went to Sydney , Australia , stopping along the way to land our ship board Marines on Iwo Jima island and pass by most of all of the significant sites of World War 2. We left from Japan and went past Okinawa, the Bonin islands, past Tarawa, Saipan and Tinian, close enough to Guam that we could see the B-52 s taking off , thru the slot past Gualdacanal and then over the resting place of Hornet CV-8 , where we thru a wreath overboard to commemorate the resting place of our predecessor. We then continued on thru the Coral Sea and onto Sydney , Australia, where we stayed for 6 days!

I have several pictures of the Hornet and crew and even have some very interesting home movies of operations on board the ship , including some of us riding the tails of A-1 Skyraiders as they taxied down the flight deck!

William R. Nash Jr.

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All the way to Hunters Point, the scuttlebutt was thick. What happens now after our leave. We are not looking for the Jap Navy, it was trashed at Okinawa. Haven't seen a Kamikaze for quite a while. We haven't had G.Q. The planes were left at Barbers Point. No preparation for taking on fuel.

At one time we had a good source for information. When the radio shack sent urgent messages to be decoded, the carbon copies were thrown into the waste basket. Immediately, some one would empty the waste basket. We probably had the info. before the Captain did. The Officer that did the decoding over- heard some loudmouth telling what it was about. That was the end of our information.

The theory was that if we were sunk and taken prisoner we would be interrogated. From that day forward nobody knew nothing. All of this scuttlebutt was analyzed, thoroughly, The conversation went to, what are you going to do after the war. Will we come back to the Hornet. They started adding up the points to see when you can get out sooner. This was not my problem, I was USN. If I had a million points, I would still have to complete my hitch.

One thing for sure for me, I am not going back to Ohio in the snow and cold. California was paradise. Leaving the Hornet was a sad day. At the deck we saluted the officer of the day and turn aft and salute the Flag, the Hornet, and the men. Turned back and looked at the Hornet again. I sort of mumbled thanks my friends and thanks for the ride USS HORNET.

I did meet the Hornet again many years later. My Wonderful Wife and Four Great Kids did notice that I had a tear running down my face. Names and faces have all faded. I looked at the Hornet again, and I knew she recognized and old friend.

Old Joe

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The time line is somewhere around nineteen sixty seven. The Rug Rats were watching Engineer Bill drink his milk. My kids were drinking chocolate milk. Turn down the volume on that T.V. Its the news Dad. Hey Dad look at the news, hurry its a big boat, coming into Long Beach, Calif. Hurry! Is that your Boat?

Good lord, there SHE is. My USS Hornet. Its a ship not a boat. It really is the Hornet! I would know her anywhere. What is she doing in the Long Beach ship yard? The poor Hornet, I have heard she has had a lot of surgery. Get me the phone, I have to talk to her. Cool it Dad, stop shaking.

With help from the operator, she found a phone number. I called. The Officer of the day says you sure can come to see us, so we piled the kids in the station wagon, and to the tune of the Wizard of Oz, We are off to see the Hornet------The wonderful Hornet of ours.

The Long Beach security at the gates say you can't go in here, its a restricted area. My Wife says to the guards, look at that poor man, he has gone ballistic. All we want to do is let the poor kids see the Hornet, they are all crying. Even one of the guards is crying. All are pleading, bribing, on our hands a knees, please let my kidlets go. With no avail.

Piled the kids in the station wagon and drove home like a Kamikaze. Called again, told the story to the Officer, He said, come on back. I will meet you at the main gates. He did. We parked our car inside the gates and the Officer had two jeeps to take us to the Hornet.

Saluted the Flag aft. and the officer of the day. I could see the Hornet smiling at the kids. I knew the Hornet would like to see the kids. The kids were impressed, except my youngest, he got up in the catwalks, where he shouldn't be, and I had to crawl up and get him back down.

I talked to the Hornet and we had a wonderful day. Later on we found that the Hornet was being refitted in some parts to pick up the astronauts from Apollo, that's why it was restricted. The best part of the trip, for me, was when we were debarking the Hornet, the Officer piped the VIP, I asked him if we could see the Very Important Person coming aboard, He said, That was for YOU. I lined up my family and Saluted the Hornet. I told my kids the Hornet said thanks for coming by. The kids said Dad we understand, no matter what they say, your not crazy.

Hornet Joe

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"Mess-cooking" nightmare.

I reported to the Brooklyn Navy Yard Receiving Station for duty assignment on the Hornet in the Summer before her 9/53 re-commissioning. I had come straight from "Class A Pipefitter School" in Norfolk as a Fireman Apprentice "Pipefitter Striker". While at the station I took and passed the Fireman's exam. Shortly after moving aboard I was tapped on the shoulder and advised that I had been "selected" to serve as a representative of my division as a "Mess-cook". I was to take my seabag and gear and report to the mess deck. I was then assigned another bunk and compartment which I would use while on the "mess-cooking" assignment. Mind you, this was not the "KP" punishment associated with such work in other branches of the service, just temporary duty that could be assigned to anyone below the rank of Third Class Petty Officer.

Thus I entered into a form of slavery. My job ran from 1700 one day until 0500 the next, scrubbing, and cleaning every filthy rotten job on the mess decks after, before and between every meal. Four times a day (a 2100 hamburger after movie snack was a new Navy stint at the time), we cleaned up after 3,000 crew members! The long-long chow lines which wound about through compartment after compartment and deck after deck were all heading below to leave behind a nightmare of cleaning for ME! We no sooner finished cleaning up when the next meal was upon us. At 0500 I dragged my tired 12 hour shift body to the showers and then to my sack in a dungeon compartment which was only lighted each day from 0600 to 0800 for sweeping, and keeping you awake, etc.

But it wasn't all bad. Like being on bread and water, every third day you were off duty. At sea this would have meant nothing but a card game and more sleep if possible, But the Hornet was still tied up in New York City! As anyone who knows NYC will tell you, "NYC Never Sleeps". AM and PM mean little. My sleeping schedule was reversed. I went on Liberty at 1800 and returned at 0600 to go to bed! At midnight I would go someplace for "lunch" and then perhaps take in a movie at 0200! Earlier in the evening I could get tickets from the USO for Broadway Shows, Carnegie Hall concerts , and once, the Metropolitan Opera. As it turned out, New York was a great port to be on Mess Cooking duty. When we got underway for our shakedown cruise in October I was immediately assigned back to my Pipefitter job. After that, each time I stood in one of those everlasting chow lines and visited the mess deck, I never forgot that some poor bastard was on "Mess-Cooking Duty"! I also worked harder for my Petty Officer chevrons. Ahh, the pleasures and memories of being 21 years old.

Kenneth K. Kauffman First Class Pipefitter - USN - 1952-1956.

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Went to see the USS Hornet CV 12. It's a museum now. How proud I am to show my friends and family my ship. It's still in the water. The parking area, wow, you can park four or five air- groups and still have plenty of space for your car.

My friends say that is a really big ship, Yep, almost 900 ft. I become very emotionall walking up to the hanger deck. Gee Dad there is a lot of activity. It could use a coat of paint. It is being refurbished. Look, everywhere they are replacing, repair- ing and painting.

Here is where my compartment was. My friend says it looks like a souvenir stand. It is, I am buying a hat with the scrambled egg on the bill. Just like the Admirals hat. Over there was a forty MM. gun tub. They are repairing it. I still see it as it was. The deck- edge elevator is being fitted there again. I can see it as it was.

This was the galley. a very large mess hall, Get in line and get some coffee and a large jelly donut, (they forgot to put the jelly in). I can see the guys filling up my tray. During the typhoon you have to hold the tray with one hand so that it don't slide off the table and eat with the other hand.

The flight deck is being repaired. There was a lot of planes that took off of the Hornet's flight deck. I can stand here on the Island where the signal men worked and watch the planes take off. That was a beautiful sight.

The planes are comming in to rendevous ready to land. Not to fast, dont break the hook. Take the plane to the hanger deck and secure the hooks. Everybody agreed it was worth driving from southern Calif. to Alameda Calif. Pier 3 a five hour ride. We still didn't see it all.

I close my eyes, in my bunk, and hear the bo'son pipe Tattoo, it's time to sleep. We will be back. The Grey Ghost will look like she did all spruced up and look like the Queen she always was. I looked in the mirror, and I look like I have been well used. Paint won't help for me.

Grey Ghost Joe

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Watching the late news on television, tonight. (17 December 1998) I saw the U.S.S. Enterprise launching their planes. A scene that I have watched for a couple of years. I became glued to the Television. Very seldom did we catapult the planes. The Hornet had a catapult, but it seemed it was just for an emergency.

What did we do with my dress blues. Its in the closet, all packed with moth balls. Well Joe, are you going to war? No, my dress blues are to small for me. The Hornet couldn't go either. The air planes these days are too large for the Hornet. Anyhow it's a museum.

Can't describe the feeling watching the planes taking off. Got the goose bumps just like I did when I was there. Often wondered what went threw the pilots mind when he was revving the engine, then the flag dropped and there he goes. I watched his face, he wasn't smiling. More like determination. The planes rendezvous over the ship and take off in formation.

He had to go a few hundred miles, find the target. and then find us. Now we wait and worry. Changed the radio frequency and turned up the volume to hear what they were saying. Then we hear Romeo this is Juliet, on our way home. We had a ball, do we have some hot water for a shower. It's time to chow down.

The men that work the flight deck are all in little groups, made a pool how many did they get or did they sink any. They new most of the names of the pilots. They would wager a DIME on the Pilot and another DIME on the number shot down. If you were lucky, you could win as much as a Dollar.

HERE THEY COME!!!! Even bigger goose bumps. The first Pilot got out of the plane. I looked at his face. He had a big smile, and a thumb up. The steward made coffee, a tray full. Debriefing in the ready room. Then the second debriefing was by the guys that new thew pilot like a friend and he would tell all. Can't tell you what the Pilots said. They were all four letter words mostly. With out the four letter words, you wouldn't have a sentence.

Pilot Joe

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My father served aboard the Hornet as a Supply Warrant Officer (CWO3 Don Johnson). She was the last ship ship he served aboard before retiring in '69 at NAS Corpus Christi.

I can remember standing on her flight deck, with my father and brothers, in Long Beach and seeing the Queen Mary tied up not to far away.

I also remember eating in the wardroom and miles of passageways and wondering how anyone ever found their way. We visited the barber shop, ship's store, as well as, his stateroom.

Don Johnson

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I have a vested interest of the Hornet. I enlisted in the Navy October 13, 1957 at Fort Jackson, S.C., then off to "Boot Camp" in San Diego California, and was lucky enough to be assigned to the USS Hornet CVS-12 which was home ported in San Diego. Finishing recruit training, I took a 14-day leave and went home to South Carolina for Christmas. I allowed 4 days travel time on the Gray Hound for the return trip to San Diego thinking that would give me plenty of time, but just out side of Big Springs Texas the bus had an accident which delayed me for a day. When I finally got to San Diego, the Hornet had sailed for NAS Alameda to take on the Air Crew for her 1958 West Pac. Cruse.

I spent 5 days in the transit barracks at North Island then back on the Gray Hound for Treasure Island, San Francisco, but alas, I missed her again. She was underway for Pearl Harbor. Two weeks later I was aboard the USS Fred C Answerth, a troop transport, bound for Pearl. My first taste of "Sea Legs" and ship board Mess Duty. The most eventful activity on this leg of my journey was watching about 80 "grunts" dumping their "chum" buckets each morning. By the time we arrived at Pearl their color matched their army green uniforms.

Arriving at Pearl, I learned that the Hornet was at sea on air operations, I spent another 5 days waiting, policing the grinders. On Friday morning of that week I was put on a line handling party and trucked over to the backside of Ford Island, she was finely coming in. It was a very warm day and Spring Fever was all over me, I was dozing when the blast of a fog horn brought me to my feet, turning, I could see nothing but a huge gray wall! The Hornet and I had finely met.

I reported aboard as a striking Fireman Apprentice, and was given a choice (you believe that) of ether the Engine Room or the Boiler Room. I chose the Engine room and was assigned to M-Division, working in the forward Engine Room. The Hornet was my home for the rest of my enlistment, four years and three months. I made three West Pac cruses, 1958, 1959 and 1960. Three yard stays at Bremerton. Memories of those years and places will always be with me. Made a lot of friends, of whom I have unfortunately lost contact with but hope to some day, some where, cross paths again.

I separated from active duty on April 12th, 1962, and remember walking down the aft gangway on to Pier E at Long Beach, looking back for one last time thinking that I probably would never see the "Gray Ghost" again. In 1993, while leafing through a copy of The Legion magazine, I saw in the reunion Section a notice for the USS Hornet Club, made a few calls too find out what it was all about, and joined right away. In 1997, we held our reunion in San Francisco, and after 35 years I was once again aboard Hornet. It was a short visit, not much was open to see but I can't tell you the feelings I had. We are going back in 2000 for our reunion, from what I hear, she has been put back into great shape. We are really looking forward to seeing her again. That's my story, a book could be written in between these short lines but I'll probably never get around to doing it.

Gary D. Moore (MM2)
1253 Platt Ave.
Cairo Ga. 31728

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The Hornet was in Pearl Harbor for repairs from the typhoon.Pearl couldn't handle it. We had to go to Hunters Point in Calif. All the conversation began with civilian life. Food was first, because we had time to go out among them in Honolulu and get some good things we hadn't available.

I think we had some Kellogg's corn flakes for breakfast. Oatmeal was like mush, had no taste, but the little worms added some taste. To wash it down there was milk. Milk powder mixed with water. The Hornet was big enough to have a couple of cows for milk. It was ok, same with eggs, powder. Steak was not on the menu. We could wash the steak down with a Coca-Cola or Pepsi. No Coca-Cola on the menu. Did any of you guys have a coca cola on any of your ships. Did any of you guys have steaks? We never did. We went into Honolulu and ordered Steaks and eggs. Didn't recognize it.

Cigarettes, If you smoked, you didn't smoke much, had to go around looking for a match. If you found one, the smoking light is out because they were refueling. That's why we were so healthy. Good food and no matches. We should try this, sell cigarettes, but no matches, nowhere. The clean, cool, clear AIR made for a hearty dinner. We were so healthy, that when we tried to get a day off, we had to put a bar of saltwater soap in your arm pits and a little piece of soap under your tongue. Did any of you guys try that. It works, if you have a little to much the temperature goes up to 108. If you don't brush your teeth for a month your tongue will build a white cake half inch thick.

The shirts and dungarees were always wrinkled. So what we were not trying to impress anyone. Wondered how the a Vegetarian made out. The Hornet was a good Ship. The cooks did the best they could with what they had. It was a lot better than "K" rations or "C" rations.

Wrinkled Joe

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I am not a historian. The time is about fifty years ago. The place could be the Bonin Islands ( wo Jima), or Okinawa, can't exactly say, all the Islands looked the same. The USS HORNET CV-12 was there. The third Carrier Division was there. As I recall there were three battlewagons, and three cruisers, a lot of Destroyers, and a lot of fast Destroyer Escorts.

In the center of the oval were three Carriers. The Hornet, the Wasp and the Bennington (Think). Just outside the Carriers were the Cruisers. Next the Destroyers and the Battlewagons. The Destroyers and the Destroyers Escorts way in the front. So you can see the Japs had to get through the all of them first.

A number of us decided to sleep on the flight deck, you can breath much better on the flight deck, smells like air. In the compartments it smelled like one thousand sailors should take a shower. We took our pillows and the mattress cover. The best place to sleep was just between the Island and the five inch guns. We just finished our watch. This is an awkward situation. We have not secured general quarters, we don't have water tight integrity. We can get through the hatches.

All hell broke loose. The bell was clanging, Boat's piped general quarters and in the distance you could hear some big guns. The Big Battle begins. We have planes in the air. We have Kamikazes in the air. They were on their way. To far we couldn't see them...Yet. Still can hear some guns going off. I went to radio central. The Air Group Commander says for God sakes, whoever is shooting down there, stop it, we are getting close. These Pilots were fearless. It made us feel fearless. One pilot says, we are real close, shut off the guns, coming through right on his ass. He's mine, He's mine, He's mine. Another pilot says the plane going straight down is not friendly. He would like to land on our Flight Deck. Another says, don't let him, make him land straight in the ocean. Tell him to tighten his safety belt, Ha Ha.

Then I went out to the signal bridge. The Signalman says we are heading south east. The Kamikazes are running out of fuel. That's Great! Well we are to. Boat's pipes prepare incoming planes. Oh God did you hear that? That is the Wasp. Lot of smoke, they are putting out the fire. It's the Wasp it is the Wasp, the signalman says they are in control. Then a real BALAM and again Balam Boom. Holy sh*t , look at the fire. Wow man the whole ship is on fire!!! Oh God this is the real war. Dear God, they are gone, this is terrible.

You would think that at my age you don't get emotional. Just like when it happened , I cried and did now. The Hornet didn't get a scratch. Much later I heard that the Bennington, with a skeleton crew made it back to Pearl, and then to the States. I wish I could remember if it was the Big Ben. A friend of mine said it could be the Franklin? If you remember please send E-mail my address is on the crew members list.

Kamakize Joe.

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Did you get any letters today? When we were taking on fuel and provisions, we also received mail from home. Thinking how long ago it was that we had mail. It was called "V" mail. Mail call had its own ditty. When it was time to "chow down" either breakfast, lunch, dinner the boatswain would pipe ( whistle a certain ditty ), and also a whistle to wake up and time to go to sleep.

When we heard mail call, everybody would sing this ditty. This is it-- I got a letter------I got a letter----You got a little postal card. We didn't hear that very often. Most of the sailors would read, out loud, some of the contents. Of course they didn't read out loud the real personal items.

This is what you would hear. Dear: I love you and miss you. So does little Jim miss you. He is now starting to talk at eleven months. I am teaching him how to say Daddy. And I show him a picture of the last picture you sent. Then from another you hear what was called a Dear John letter. It goes like this; Dear John, I met a very nice man, working in the shipyard, sorry to have to tell you we are getting married next month.

No one writes anything about being, either from home or your reply, no one mentions about fear. No one lived in fear. When we had to watch while the USS Franklin, our sister ship, in flames. Can't do anything for them. It was very, very sad. The USS Wasp got hit, but they quickly put out the fire. When the Big Ben (Franklin) was told to abandon ship, not everyone left the ship. About seven hundred of the crew were killed. A skeleton crew stayed on and fought the fires and got back to Pearl Harbor and then to the States. No Letters, no way on this earth to send a letter about that. No News no where. That was censored.

We may have talked about our sister ships on the Hornet, they were part of the family. The Hornet will never go down. We were here to get this whole damn thing over with. It really made us stronger. The sneak attack at Pearl Harbor and the Big Ben and the Wasp made us more determined to Inialate the bastards. Now we have forgiven all. Like the Bible says, God forgave Cain and Able. ???

Preacher Joe

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My name is William B. (Brad) Matthews, 245-57-69. I boarded Hornet in late Sept, or early Oct. 1944 at Manus Island in the Admiralties with Air Group 11. I was an ART1/C in the Night Fighter Detachment "VF(N)11". Commanding Officer of the Detachment was Lt. Ed Helgerson who was killed in early Oct. in an operational accident that I witnessed. Other VF(N)11 pilots were Ens. Joe Pavella, Ens. Bob Witzig, Lt.Jg Bob Wright. and Lt.Jg (?) Harvey. Fighter Director Officer was Lt.Jg Hank Wade.

Believe I served until Air Group 11 was replaced by Air Group 17 in Feb. 1945, (It's gets kind of fuzzy when I think back about it).

By the way, I have read an account of Lt. Helgerson's fatal accident in a book by Tillman about VF-11 and he states that Lt. Helgerson taxied off of the flight deck in the darkness. Have been trying to locate relatives of the Lt. to set the story straight because it didn't happen that way at all.

Brad Matthews

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The USS Hornet a senior citizen. That makes me a super senior citizen. It's almost like a dream. My grand kids ask, was that a dream you had? No it was real, but it was long time ago. Would you kids like to go to see The Hornet. What's a Hornet gramps? The Hornet is a large ship that carried planes. Why, can't the planes fly. Sure they can, and they did. I will tell you all about the USS Hornet, and World War two.

The country in Europe called Germany, and another country in Asia called Japan were trying to come over here where we live and kill us. Why Gramps? I never understood that, I don't know. So we had to defend ourselves.

We needed guns, planes, and ships. Is that where the Hornet comes into the story, Gramps? Yep, the story is we had immigrants come from every country in the world. They all worked together to make this country the best. They built ships together, planes together, and everything we needed to fight the war. And they built the Hornet and many other ships.

Now we needed soldiers, sailors, and marines, to man the guns, drive the ships, and shoot the guns. Nobody knew how to do that. So men and women from every state in this country, had to go to school to learn how to fly a plane, drive a ship, and shoot the tanks. Were you an immigrant? No, my father was. Was my Dad in school to fly the planes? No, he wasn't even born.

All those people from all the states, and their parents, from the south north, east and west all came together to help. I became a sailor on the USS Hornet. We had almost three thousand people, pilots to fly the planes, gunners to shoot the guns, cooks to prepare the food, I was ships company, worked on radio and radar. Everybody on the Hornet were good friends. They all did a good job. The Hornet was given a Presidential Citation for the good work.

All the people living here from all over the world, were all together in this and every one did a good job. Now would you like to go see the Hornet, and I can tell you some more stories. YES, lets go.

Senior citizen Joe

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Its a good thing that the USS Hornet CV12 had a map room. You had to have a globe that shows all the little specs on in the ocean that they called islands. I was exchanging E-mail with Brad Matthews ART 1/C, VF(N) 11. He came aboard the Hornet 12 from places called Manus and Majuro. Get a map out and see if you can find it. You need a magnifying glass. We asked the Lt. on duty, and the helmsman, what is that over there. That's the Admiralty Islands. Bet you can't find it on a map. Is it below the equator, or north above the equator. Just went past Funafuti, or Nukuafato. We called it Nooky for two. There were more people on the Hornet than there were on any or all of the islands.

If only we had the technology that we have these days. Just a dream to think of using the smart bombs, and the rockets, five hundred pound rocets hitting the target from five or a thousand miles away. There wouldn't be any more islands in the Pacific Ocean. Talking with other shipmates, from the Hornet, fantasizing, the Hornet one thousand miles away, the men on duty sending the bombs to Tarawa, Palau, Guadalcanal, and the men off duty could be fishing, or watching the movies.

When I get to see the USS Hornet CV12 at Alameda, I will talk with the Hornet, tell her all the news and will have a good laugh.

Laughing Joe

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Air Group 11 aboard USS Hornet launched sweeps against Hong Kong from January 15th through January 20th 1945. Major portion of the effort was over Kowloon Docks. On the 16th alone, 54 sweep and strike sorties were flown. A 10,000 ton oiler was severely damaged by an estimated 12 rocket hits and the oil storage area was set afire. Two losses were suffered by VF-11. Ensign Matt Crehan's hellcat was damaged by flack over the harbor and he bailed out near Tamkan Island. Ensign Richard Wilson also fell to AA fire during the strikes. Lt(jg) Bob Wright from VF(N)-11 never returned from the his mission and was listed as MIA. Ensign Crehan was also listed as MIA, but it was found out later that he was fished out of the water by friendly Chinese who helped him get to Kunming.

On the morning of the 15th, about 50 miles east of the target area, a Tabby transport was spotted escorted by four Zekes. (Tabby was a Japanese-built DC-3.) The four escorts indicated an important passenger was aboard the Tabby. VF-11 pilots J.P. Wolf, H.H. Moore, Jake Robcke and Gene Fairfax each got a Zeke. Then Fairfax and "Soapy" Suddreth downed the transport. Don't know if it was ever determined just who the important passenger was.

Air Group 11 was relieved by Air Group 17 in February 1945. Whether subsequent missions were conducted over the Hong Kong area is beyond my knowledge.

As an aside, I had the opportunity to visit Hong Kong in August 1976 while an employee of IBM. Couldn't believe what I saw.

Brad Matthews

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My Grandkids say we would like to watch bugs bunny, or the road runner, or loony tunes. Grandma and I are watching the news. The kids say, why do you want to watch the news. It's just a bunch of big tanks, big guns with guys waving to all the people and all those kids and the camera. The news can't show you the war. I am so sorry for those kids. Well then why didn't you take us to the war so we could see. You were not even born then. Did my Dad go with you. No, he wasn't born yet. I was very young, I didn't even have to shave.

I will take you to the movie and see Saving Pvt. Ryan. We saw that already, Grandma took us there. It was just a movie and they never said who won. Grandpa, did you have to run up the beach. My Dad said Grandpa was on the ocean on a big ship. I enlisted in the Navy but the first year they trans ferd me to the 2nd Div Marines. There were eighteen sailors, we were called ARGUS unit. We were Radio and Radar men. Radar was very new. We practiced with the Marines going up and down the rope ladders. We were in Higgans Boats with the first assault wave. It was a disaster. It was Tarawa.

Then I was sent to the USS Hornet CV12. It is now in Alameda Naval Yard Pier Three. I will take you to the Hornet, it's a real war ship. Lets start in the Island. The ready room is where the pilots waited to take off with their planes. There were a lot of airplanes on the flight deck and hanger deck. Grampa, those airplanes have propellers. Yes they did. It has been fifty years since I walked on the flight and hanger deck. I never thought I would walk on the flight and hanger deck, and in my sleeping compartment and mess hall.

That steering wheel is what the helmsman used to drive the ship. Try it, see if it turns. This is where I slept. Grampa, it looks small and not very comfortable, where did Grandma sleep? She was home. This is where we ate. Did Grandma do the cooking. There were about three thousand sailors air group and Pilots. Grandma, there is three thousand to feed, and three thousand trays to wash. Did the sailors help you wash the trays with you and grandpa. Your gramps still never washes the dishes. Oh Yeah we have a dish washer.

Now we have eight kids turning the five inch gun, from one side to the other. That's the anchor chain, one link is almost bigger than you. All the way home the kids were saying, that is really big ship. It was fun crawling in the catwalks where grandpa used to do, when he was little. Next time, we come to see the Hornet we can sleep over and eat in the mess hall. It was an odd feeling to be here on the Hornet. It was a long long time since the war, but I remember. Bring your Grandkids to see the Hornet, the Hornet loves kids. It helps her feel young again. Me Too.

Joe Linick

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The first thing in the morning I turn on the computer, click on to Mr. Miles U.S.S. Hornet web site. Looking for names of new crew members, hoping to recognize some of my buddies. It brings me back to the wonderful world of the Hornet.

Thank God for my grand Kids. Grampa click on the picture of the Hornet. Well I am not to good on the computer. The Hornet didn't have a computer. So I have to fake it. It won't come up kids. The nine year old kid says, I can get it up gramp. Here it is gramp, I found a mime decoder in the form of a free program called win-zip to break out the pictures not mime encoded. Smart a*s I don't understand a word you said.

They ask me about the Hornet, the airplanes, the big guns and questions like why do you still wear skivvie shirts. and those funny hats. The reason for the skivvies and the funny hats, the Navy says if you want to be a sailor on the Hornet you wear that. Do you have to wear those blue-grey Levis. Those are dungarees. All the clothing on the Hornet is Grey-blue. That's because the enemy can't see dark clothing. The Hornet is called the Grey Ghost. Well Gramp, maybe the enemy can't see the sailors, but look how big the hornet is, you can't miss it. You have a good point there, kids.

Did you ever see any dolphins? Lots of dolphins, Clear blue water, the dolphins came right beside us. The sea gulls would sleep way up on the radar antennas. When we discharged all the garbage they would dive into the garbage and eat. I hope the gulls didn't get cancer from the radar Gramp. When you get really old, and die, Gramp, do you want to be dumped into the ocean like Kennedy Jr. No, not me I get sea sick. :-)

Joe Linick

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November 15, 1999. Having served on the Hornet from March 68 to the decommissioning as a QM3 and 2, there are many stories I could share. But the best story is an event which occurred just a few weeks back. First a little background. I live in the San Francisco Bay area, and was thrilled to see the Hornet arrive in the Bay a few years back. After much work by many dedicated people, the Hornet became a museum on October 16, 1998.

Getting involved with the Hornet again raised my interest in trying to find other QMs who had served during my time on board. To date, 12 have been found, and we have had a great time catching up on each other's lives. Three of those found have since visited the ship. It was great to see them after all the years.

During my search, I also came across Capt. Stockton (CO 68 - 69), and he was thus added to my E-mail list for Hornet updates. About 5 weeks ago, I received a note that he and his wife would be in the area, and would appreciate a tour of the ship.
So last month, Oct. 99, after picking him up at the airport, Capt. Stocton returned to the ship for the first time in 30 years. He was piped onboard, and with a small group of ex-crew, spent the next 4 hours exploring the ship. At the bridge, he eased into his Captains chair, and to the delight of a group of visiting 5th graders, described what it was like to be Captain of such a great ship. He really seemed to enjoy the moment and the memories.

Before he left, we had a little fun by playing a recording of one of his talks to the crew in August 68. While visiting Pearl prior to leaving for WESTPAC, it seems Hornet crew tried to rearrange some noses in the EM club. In his talk, Capt. Stockton admonished the crew, threatened our liberty, but in the end told us to enjoy the cruise. He was surprised to hear his speech from so long ago, and had a good laugh with those present.

I hope as the Hornet Museum continues to improve, more of you get a chance to visit, and relive our adventures from so long ago. Encourage your shipmates when you find them, to join Dwayne's crew list.

See you on the Hornet.

Rolf Sabye QM2 Hornet 3/68 to 7/70

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Remember the depression, around the thirties. No money, no food, get in line and get a bowl soup. We got out of the depression. headlong into a war. What is a war? Your neighbor would get drafted. He would come from boot camp, with sailor clothes, sell the car, go to war. Don't need a car, there is no gas available, no rubber for tires.

I enlisted in the Navy, in a small city in Ohio. I had to go down to city hall in the big office building in downtown. Had to wash my clothes and get a haircut. Wanted to look good for the enemy. Didn't want the enemy to be laughing at my ragged pants and torn shoes.

The Doctor examined me and gave me needles, enough needles to make me sick. If the enemy could see me then, sick, they would really laugh. The Great Lakes Naval Training Station, they fixed me up with sailor pants (too long), the shirt (too small), and haircut ( Bald). They sent me to the University of Chicago. I didn't know I had to learn war in college. Radar was new. You can find the enemy anywhere in the ocean with radar and radio.

The train to Calif. was very nice. In boot camp we were still using hammocks to sleep in. The guys on the upper level sleeping on hammocks were falling out of the hammocks like apples falling off the tree. Thump, thump, every few minutes. I thought the long ride on the train would take us to a Big Battleship doing the war stuff. The Marine officer says nope, you are going to Calif. to train with the 2nd Div. Marines. Hold the phone, turn the train around, I'm in the Navy. I have learned how to sleep in ham- mocks, without falling out. I need a couple of trees, not mud and rocks. My suggestions are to no avail. So we learned how to go up and down the rope ladders. Don't put your hands on the horizontal ropes, your hands will be crushed. Loosen your metal helmet straps, if you slip you won't break your neck.

From Maui in Hawaii we practiced our radar. The Flight Director says, "Gentlemen, the coordinates you have given us tell us the volcano Haleakala is moving west at the rate of two miles per hour. Please, gentlemen, Mountains don't move. It's the planes we are looking for. Oh well, now we are going to other islands. New Hebrides, Espirito Santo. We run on and off the Higgans boats six hundred yards on the beach. (What we didn't know was the Hornet CV12 was close in action at Santa Cruz), we called it later as Iron Bottom Bay.

Next, Tarawa! It was a total disaster. With the first assault wave we couldn't get on the beach. No Beach. They sent us to the ammunition ship to get some grenades. Throw out the gas bags, nobody could use gas in those trade winds---it would come back at us. The Captain of the ammunition ship asked us to pick up the dead Marines floating on the coral rocks. He wanted give them a decent burial.

A total disaster. They sent us to Cora, a very small island attached to Tarawa. We called Tarawa BETIO. On cora we had the first night watch. Holy Toledo, here comes a Jap, walking out of the ocean, naked and hands up. Suppose he has a grenade in his ass. I showed him to crawl toward us. I went behind to see if he had a grenade in his ass. no way in the world could anyone put a grenade in their ass.

Second day, we got on Tarawa. We received a notice from CINCPAC saying the Japs are coming, in midget submarines. to try to take Tarawa back. Oh let them bastards come. Let's get this mess over. Besides, had no cigarettes, no K rations and guess who got the night watch. Yep, it's me again. I have become an expert watcher.

Looking out on the ocean to see the Equator. Ha Ha. What I saw was sixteen million little heads, bobbing in the ocean coming toward us. I took all the clips I had for my carbine and shot the sh*t out of the ocean. Here comes the whole 2nd div. (what was left of them) and the marine commander, in his jeep. He says, what the hell are you doing? We are shooting Japs. Look at all those heads. The commander turns on his jeep lights. Shooting Japs my ass, those are coconuts from the dead coconut trees, coming in with the tide. I said, Sir , what about the clicking from the Jap boots, they have hobnail boots. Commander said hobnail boats my ass those are palm fronds clicking together. Oh sell, I said to myself, kiss my ass Sir, you shoot your war, I will do my war on my USS Hornet. One more thing, Thanks to Herman Whitton for the Zero. You saved our ass getting those Zero's and some Bettys. Thanks again.

Joe Linick

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Bong, Bong, Bong, Jap twin engine bomber closing in on the port side, drop two torpedos. Skipper turned torpedos missed!!! 40 millimeters opened up port side, brought him down.

Michael Harrison

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This is about the loss of William S. Forman, Edmund Frenyea, Robert Sennett,and Erwin Templin on 22 January 1966.

I was the Petty Officer of the Watch in Combat Information Center (CIC).

On this particular morning I was controlling the various aircraft from Judo (Hornet's call sign or name). Early in the watch I vectored that individual aircraft to the SAR and gave control to the destroyer. Two hours later I called the destroyer and asked them to return control to me. The controller on the destroyer was surprised because he said he had vectored the airplane back to Judo and had not heard from him. After a few minutes of futile at gaining radio contact (there was not radar paint of this airplane at any time - he was too far away) Search and Rescue procedures were implemented.

By this time I had the Admiral and the Captain standing by my side at the radar counsel. We tried everything and never regained contact. I was discharged in March, 1966 and I have always wondered about that incident. I never had any information until I read your narrative. But I will always remember and someday I hope to go to Washington DC to put flowers or something beside the crews names.

Tino Ornelas

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The writer was a Chief Yeoman and served on the Hornet from 3/15/44 to 8/10/45 approximately. I first served in the Air Office under Cdr. Gaillard and later in the office of Captain A.K. Doyle. I have wonderful memories of the ship and especially of the Chief's Quarters where I served as Mess Treasurer. Our daughters learned of the ship and its role as a Naval Museum. Also learning it is berthed at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, CA., they decided to take my wife and me on a trip to visit both the Air Station and Ship inasmuch as I had also served as a yeoman in the Personnel Dept for about a year right after boot camp. I am interested in being a part of the Hornet group.

I recall a Chief Yeoman named Dan Wilson in the Executive Officer's area. Dan had resided in San Francisco and I would enjoy hearing from him if that could happen. Our address is P.O. Box 1995, Ocean Shores, WA. I am retired. I have two manuals; one put together by the ships crew and one put together by Air Group 17. The Hornet Manual is full of pictures and statistics relating to the ship. We encountered a gigantic typhoon in the South Pacific and the forward edges of the flight deck folded down like a spaniel's ears. As a consequence we were ordered to come into a dry dock in San Francisco. I believe it was either Hunts Point or Hunter's Point where our wounds were taken care of and we then went out on the Coast for a shakedown cruise. While out there, the Japanese surrendered and like so many of us, I opted to be discharged. I was sent to the Bremerton Ship Yard for this. I reviewed the names of crew members on the Hornet web but was not able to recognize a familiar name. Not surprising when one realizes the number of crew members and the fact that the ship was operational for some time after WWII.

Robert (NMI) Hodgson

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The forty MM gun tubs are being manned by the Marines. Right. Yep, and Gabby is on the aft tub. Hope he was trained for forty MM guns. He was in construction before the war. What about the five inch guns? I saw Boom Boom on the five inch. He was a Onion Farmer in Kentucky.

Remember when we went through the typhoon, the Helmsman. Oh yes, it was Wheels, he sure got us out of a mess. He worked at the Chevy Car factory in Detroit. He trained very well. Sounds like the planes are taking off. Talking about the planes, those pilots were trained, that one Pilot was a Math teacher in high school. He came back from the Marianas with his plane all shot up. We dumped the plane over the deck edge elevator.

Is anyone saying anything. The jay talker said the planes are rendezvous, around the carrier division. The forty MM will start when the planes are gone, Well, I hope we have hot water after secure general quarters, I stink.

Now you can see why we needed a publicist. Nobody knew anything for sure. We needed The BUZZZZ!! One more thing, that Onion Farmer, the Car Builder in Detroit, the Math teacher, and the 40MM and five inch guns, the kid in construction building houses, and the rest of the crew on the USS HORNET DID IT. No more jap fleet, the people have their islands they had before the japs took it. Some of our men didn't come home. I was lucky, and came home. I now shave daily, I grew up and old. The Hornet looks good, better than I do.

Joe Linick

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One interesting thing that happened while I was aboard was the time we were in Hong Kong and we were ordered to leave, leaving me ashore(the one that were lucky enough to be on liberty when we got the order to leave). The ship was ordered to partrol down by Sumatra to assist the rebels (trying to over throw the government). It sounds funny but it happened.

Samuel Bush Jr.

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In May of 1959 nearly 150 young sailors were assigned to the Hornet for transit to the far east, to various assignments. She was tied up solidly at North Island, San Diego, unmoving with her great bulk. Most of these young men had never been aboard any ship. Within an hour there were at least 30 of these young sailors gathered around the rear of the Hornet's flight deck, heaving their innards out! This was such a surprise to many of us who had been on real waves, on ships that were being tossed about by storms. Soon there was quite a gathering of onlookers too. The ship had not moved more that the few inches that slow movement of the water might have allowed, which hardly could be felt. She was securely tied up!

James W. McGill

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Veteran's Day--Nov. 11, 1997

A wistful sailor stood upon the wide ship's deck,
upon her westward pointed bow,
and sensed a fervent loss astern.
The precious shores of our United States, were vanishing, 
quietly behind.
Forty days that floating city glided on and on.... 
The wind-thrown waves dashed hard against her knifing keel. 
----------------------------------HORNET was her name.

Another great Carrier once bore that fearsome name.
In 1942, SHE met untimely death in ocean depth,
bombed in suicidal thrusts by a hateful enemy.
A second fighting vessel even then was taking form
in some drydock of procreated ships.
With intended mighty vengeance our Navy bestowed on that 
growing ship the same foreboding name.
Soon, entering that terrible war
she battled well her foes,
She also came to bear unhealed wounds 
upon her decks and conning tower proud. 
But impervious to ruin, by that great War's end, 
her men had earned our nation's pride and honor. 
In '59', she cruised with dignity, 
wearing even then some lasting scars of war,
emblems saved upon her tower for all to see.
This sailor proud rode her on those waves
to have his own small part in keeping peace,
peace that so many battle deaths had bought.
Upon one site of that great war,
a jewel of sadness we call Pearl,
he witness still some massive death-sleep hulks, 
victims of that enemy's aggressive rage.
(The Utah and the Arizona still moan beneath those waves!)
He felt the doleful atmosphere,
even after many melancholic years-------lingering,
forcefully reminding of the preciousness of peace. 

Years of separation from our beloved land
can bring us back to find a new appreciation 
for this broad America,
and for our lives, lived in perpetual freedom's wake.
How could I e'er forget my own return
that morn of long ago,
my feet assured upon this war-free untouched soil?
Long absence so enriched my ecstatic return
I blessed the day that gave occasion
to realize the safety America grants her every soul. 
In '97', in far-lonesome lands, 
men and women assume a guardianship. 
They keep our families safe from anguish 
and from war's abyss.
By God's grace and blessing,
and upon the willingness of those who go for us,
are we preserved from terror's clutch.

But elsewhere in the world, this moment, 
there is war!
Sorrows rain upon dear children like our own.
Somewhere in exile from their homes, 
sad and frightened children
lie in filth and hunger, 
wearing not but painful wounds of war. 
The world yet suffers violence of men
who prey upon the innocent,
and self-excuse their dreadful crimes.

How wondrous our Liberty--
oft' renewed by death,
ransomed by battle's sacrificial lives. 
How kind, the peace that shields us day by day,
as priceless as our eternal Hope in God, 
preserving in His mighty Hands! 
This is our country, yours and mine, 
and of the millions 
now sharing in her loving arms of peace.
No other nation could have ever offered more,
a refuge, safe.
With profound meaning and delight 
We sing of her beauty and her nourishment: 

O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain,
For purple mountains majesties above thy fruited plains,
America, America, God shed His Grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea!

James W. McGill

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I have the proud distinction of being married aboard the USS Hornet. In March, 1946, the Japanese had surrendered, my discharge was within sight, and the Hornet was in dry dock at Hunters Point undergoing modification. I asked my fiancee in Oklahoma to come to California and marry me. Chaplain Mueller got the necessary approvals, had the signalmen decorate the Crew Chapel, then performed the ceremony. The Chaplain's wife played an old pump organ and even took our wedding pictures using a box brownie camera.

Terry Zalabak, EM3C, USNR

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Hello there, I am a former memer of Hornet, I was onboard when we picked up apollo 11, My daugher was born on July 13, they walked on the moon on July 20 and we picked them up (not sure what that date was) in July 1969. The hornet was decomissioned in Bremmerton Washington. We were in the yards that summer, I got out of the Navy during that time, as did many of the crew. It was no fun to have a 'Short timers' attitude to find out that so many were getting out at the same time.

I do remember standing the bow watch, so that the 'hippies' could not 'attack the ship when were in Bremmerton. Also I was almost tossed over board when I took a short cut to the stern to toss of some of the items that were were 'deep sixing' before getting to the yards in Bremmerton, I decided to toss them over board mid ships, when I opened the hatch on the starbord side, I was supprized by the waves crashing against the side, I nearly lost it.

I didn't get any moon rocks, but I was in Berlin when the wall came down and have some of the wall!

Bruce Erickson

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I was a passenger on the hornet in July 1957. My discharge date of 8/8 was approaching so the captain of my ship, USS Everett F Larson DDR 830, dropped 3 of us off in sasebo. We took a train, and a plane to Atsugi air base. I was sent to the hornet as a passenger then. I was an Em2 so was assigned to electrical gang. The first day a fireman got a paint bucket and brush and took me deep into tjhe bowls of Hornet. when he left I said hell, I am a short timer I am going to enjoy this cruise. I roamed freely about for 2 weeks, eating in a different mess hall each day, and going up on the island to watch the old AD prop planes land. I remember when we hit pearl, there was no liberty, just on base at em club, big misteak, the crew almost demolished the club.


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USS Hornet CVS-12 We were tied up at pier Echo in Long Beach, CA. We were supposed to get underway at 0800 that morning but the wind was blowing real hard. We had eight tug boats trying to get us away from the pier but the tug boats could not budge us. We finally got underway at 1700 that afernoon.

We were at Subic Bay and we were tied up at Cubi Point. We were at the EM club drinking beer. The club was made out of SAWALI which is thin bamboo strips. The Construction Battalion, I think it wasMOB-3, constructed the EM club as well the rest of NAS Cubi Point. In front of the EM club there was a large bee carrying a pick, a shovel and a machine gun. This was the CB's symbol. Anyway, a bunch of Airdales from the Hornet got together and planned to put a tailhook on the bee. When it got dark outside the sailors went back to the ship and brought back a tailhook mounted it on the bee. Well, the CB's found out about the tailhook and needless to say a battle royal broke out. The shore patrol was called out and liberty for all of the Hornet sailors was cancelled. The EM club which was a pretty good looking club was completely demolished. Boy, going back to the ship at 2000 is pretty bad. The next morning as the Captain was returning the ship he was surprised to see painted on the side of ship "CAN DO" in six foot letters.

Bob Baylon

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One of the many photos on my living room wall is a picture of the Hornet's ready room in January, 1945, taken during a pre-strike briefing. Shown are my dad, VF-11 (the "Sundowners") squadron member Ensign Wallace C. "Robbie" Robinson, A1 USNR 390887, and his fellow pilots, listening intently to the briefing. In the front row is "Bullet", the Boston Terrier who was the VF-11 mascot, decked out smartly in a vest bearing the squadron logo.

On January 8, 1945, my dad and 17 other carrier replacement pilots transferred to the Hornet from the USS Cape Esperance (CVE-88). Among them were his wingleader, LTCDR Fritz E. Wolf, (A1 USNR 83370, VF Team #20) who had previously flown with Claire Chenault in China; Lts. Norman V. Brown (VF Team #21) and John W. Adams, Jr. (VF Team #22); as well as Ensigns Fred T. Scharrer, Donald R. Borgeson, and John F. Flook (VF Team #20); Ensigns Charles L. Anderson, Clarence R. Tilley, Francis W. Peak, and Lewis H. Pollock (VF Team #21); Ensigns Frederick R. Chapman, John B. McKay, Gene Broome, and Walter E. Black (VF Team #22); and Ensigns Herbert R. Hynson, Hugh J. Smith and Buel H. White ( no VF Team designation shown).

During my Dad's time on the CV-12 Hornet, VF-11 was led by LTCDR Eugene G. Fairfax, and the Hornet was commanded by Austin K. Doyle. My Dad participated in strikes on Formosa (1-09-45); Cam Ranh Bay (1-12-45); Hong Kong and Kowloon (1-15/16-45); the Pescadores and again Formosa (1-21-45); and strikes against Okinawa (1-22-45).

On February 1, 1945, in dispatch 300645 from Commander, Task Force 58, VF-11's CO was directed to comply with orders transferring Team #20 members Ensigns Wallace C. Robinson, Fred T. Scharrer (390889) and Donald R. Borgeson (395258) to the USS Yorktown (CV-10), where they would be reunited with their wingleader Fritz Wolf, commander of the newly formed Squadron VBF-3, created when VF-3 ("Felix the Cat") was split in two.

My Dad served under Fritz Wolf in Squadron VBF-3 aboard the Yorktown until April of 1945, when he transferred to the USS Lexington for the trip back stateside. During his time on the Yorktown, in a February 16, 1945 pre-dawn strike on airfields around Tokyo, he and his fellow VBF-3 members became the first carrier-based fighter pilots to strike targets on mainland Japan.

My Dad was born on December 28, 1923, and died on December 14, 1998, at age 74. The often chilly reception accorded WWII-era replacement pilots by fellow pilots who had just lost good friends in combat is a fact not often remarked upon by historians, and one my Dad only seldom mentioned. Newcomers were resented because their presence was a constant reminder of friends lost. Nevertheless my Dad relished his short time aboard CV-12, and it was an experience that shaped him for the rest of his life.

Clay S. Robinson

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My father, Paul Lowe was on the Hornet as a BT in 1960-1963. As a teenage boy, there is always some kind of trouble to get into. This is one of the many stories I have heard.
There was a certain chief whom no one liked, and my father was not the exception to the rule, either. Somehow my father made "the hit list" of "old chiefy" (as my dad called him), and he was asked to go and count all the fire brick, and this wasn't just a regular assignment, he was to do this alone! So, there goes a reluctant and very anger teenager, meanwhile the chief is laughing, because he finaly got the best of this jokster. After a day of grumbling and counting, it dawned on him- no one really knows how much fire brick is down here unless THEY count it. Everyday he would go grumbling in to this "job" which was really a chance to catch up on sleep, read a book, eat a candy bar, and drink a few sodas. This lasted for about ten days, till the chief wanted this list of fire brick. My dad made up an "estimated list" and gave it to "chiefy". This man knew my father well enough to know that something was up, because he had gone along with the whole thing so easily (NOT ! like him!). The chief gave him a funny look and asked if it was all correct, and my dad said, "if you don't beleive me, count it yourself". Right then, "chiefy" knew who had actually got the best of whom.

Rebecca Lowe

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I served on the Hornet from Nov. 1961 to Nov. 1964 assigned to Fox Div., I served under Lt. Le Clerk And Lt. Cunningham Chief Door was promoted to Chief while I was in Fox Div.and Lt. Le Clerk was transferred to the HASPS in Hawaii, The plane crash on the flight Deck,we were watching a flick in the Bow when it happened and General Quarters was sounded, the Marine Jet went over the side and the post to the cat walk buried up in the belly of the plane allowing the pilot time to get out on the flight deck and tilly the flight deck crane on wheels dumped it overboard.I was aboard the Hornet when the Typhoon hit.I have a lot of wonderful memories of my time aboard the Hornet.

Don McBeth

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I announced to Lorraine, my wonderful wife, I AM GOING TO THE USS HORNET. She says, take a sweater. I will look for your sailor clothes. The last time I saw them they were too small and the white round caps were all blue colored. Yep they were blue-gray, during the war, like the Hornet, it was blue-gray. With three thousand white round caps , the jap could see us clearly. When will you get back, you know the war is over. O.K. smarty pants, I am too old to go to war, I was eighteen then and now I am close to eighty.

They are having the fifty-second reunion, on the Hornet. It is birthed at pier 3 in Alameda, Ca. Its a museum now. Maybe I can recognize some of my old buddys. They have pictures when they were young. Here we are and that's my ship, the Hornet CV 12 and there are my buddys. Eight sailors, all around the tables talking stories about the Hornet. It started with current changes. Did you see the new real toilets and sinks in the Head ( Head is a bathroom). Now you can have some privacy. The showers, the real glass mirrors. you can see how to shave. Thats Luxury. Now they are talking about their stories while on the their hitch on the Hornet.

I remember the typhoon. Others say I remember, after eighteen months on the ocean we got recreations while we were fueling. We got on the island and played football. Had no football so we used coconuts. This is fifty-two years ago. Relaxing in our compartment. The conversation begins. Why don't the Captain tell us where in the hell are we. They told us if we got sunk the japs would pick us up and interrogate us. If you don't know anything what do you say. Kyle says I will give them my social security number. Yeah, right. Franky says I will sing for them. Like to sing what? I will sing we were sail-ing along--down moonlite bay--- or we could sing -- we came to see the herring fish, that lives in the beautiful sea. winken, blinken, and nod. Joe says I will tell them we are twenty-thousand miles from Ohio.

Jime says, I have a good idea. I would tell them I would like to have a date with Tokyo Rose. HA!!!!!. Rich says better still I will get the jap captain a date with Betty Gable. From the next compartment someone says with this crew, how in the hell can we win the war. It's time to chow down. On the way to the mess hall, the argument goes to another subject. The cooks on the Hornet are very good. How come they forgot to put the jelly in the jelly donuts. Steve says, it wasn't the cook, it was the baker. Do you know why the baker didn't put the jelly in the jelly donuts? We were being attacked and we went to General Quarters. He didn't have time. Oh yeah, I hope the gunners remember to put the bullets in the guns.

Now the boatswain pipes- now listen up. Six barbers on the fantail for hair cutting. Six barbers my butt, one is a barber, others are butchers. No matter what you ask, you come out bald. Nope, if you get Jack and give him a dollar you get a haircut.

It goes on and on and still at the fifty-second reunion the sailors are telling their storys, on the USS Hornet.

Joe Linick

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In May of 1967 while working in the Post Office on the night shift a marine knocked on the door and stated he need stamps, informed him that he need to come back in the morning about 8am. He then stated that he wanted them for the Adimarl, I said sure and closed the door in his face. About 5min. went by and the phone rang I answered Post Office PC3 Butler, the voice on the other end informed me he was the Adimarl and needed some stamps. I explained that they were locked up and I had no combination to get out. He said he would send his aid back in the morning and thanked me.

Walt Butler

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I was aboard the Hornet from Dec 64 to Jan 67. I remember the Westpac cruse of 65-66. We spent Christmas and New Years in Sasabo, Japan. It was just a cold as the winters in Iowa. Best of all I remember going to Sydney, Aust. and crossing the equater and becoming a shellback. If you have ever crosed the equator you know what I mean. I had a lot of good times and met alot of nice guys. I'm going to visit the Hornet this year. I also remember the Sea of Japan that winter. We had snow on the flight deck and icicles everywhere. That ship really bobed around. A lot of sick guys that week.

David L. Skipton (RM3)

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I was A crew member on an AJ 2pAircraft .We made several landings and takeoffs on cv12 off the coast of lJapan. the first one hit the barrier and was a guest of CV-12for awhile, does anyone remember this

Arnold Barker Jr.

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Recently I took my grand kids to see the USS Hornet. I didn't tell them any- thing about the haunted sailors. I wanted the kids to have fun going all over the ship. Before we got on the Hornet I realized that I wasn't sure what a haunted sailor was. I got the dictionary and found they were like a ghost, or "To come to the mind of again and again. Thats a good description of a nice ghost.

Lets look into this haunted sailors. With three thousand people on board the Hornet including the aircraft it would be a mess. When they pipe general quarters you would be knocking all the haunted in the way. You can't see a haunted, but they really smell. More than that they stink. They can't use the fresh water for the shower. That water is rationed. Thats what I heard.

It could be the haunted baker. We hated the haunted baker, he was the one that made the Jelly Doughnuts and didn't put in the jelly. You can't rely on haunted bakers. And the haunted Pilots. They all came on the flight deck, all of them landing on the same place, at the same time and crushed the bow of the flight deck during the typhoon.

Other suspects could be the haunted shellback and polywogs. When the USS Hornet crossed over the equater and we had the initiation, what haunted barber cut all the hair on the polywogs. Every time I go to the Hornet, I think the salesman that sold me my Hornet Hat with the scrambled eggs was a haunted ghost because year after year I loose more hair.

My wonderful wife of 55 years said, everytime I ask you to wash the dishes and do the laundry you become a haunted sailor, nobody can find you. You don't stink. Its because the AVON lady, she should have been a haunted AVON.

Joe the Hornets Grey Ghost :–)

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This is my baby sitting day. The kids want to eat. They ask me, Gramp did you make your lunch on the Hornet? No, we had sailors that were good cooks. Now that you have mentioned it, I can't remember anything we ate . It was good and hot. You always make macaroni and cheese and sometimes hot dogs. So I made Mac and cheese with slices of hot dogs. Good enough, I will have some too. I was young and skinny. Look in the mirror Gramp, you are not skinny.

Did you have a radio on the Hornet? Sure, we got songs on the radio from Tokyo Rose. The one she always played was "Pistol Packing Moma put That Pistol Down. The best part of it was when she played it in Jap. That was funny. She would tell us to put grease on our shoes, when your ship is sunk, your shoes won't get wet.

Was the Hornet always shooting the planes all day? No but we were always looking for them. During the Marianas Turkey Shoot we did some shooting, and our airplanes did a lot of shooting. That reminds me, we picked up one of our Radio Men, he was hiding for a long time in Guam. We picked up some Pilots that had run out of gas. The Pilots had whistles and we had little packs of stain, and if we saw or heard a whisle we would drop the stain so that the submarines and destroyers would pick them up. When we were at Okinawa the Hornet Pilots shot down a lot off the Kamikaze. They were suicide pilots.

The Hornet gunners sunk a ship, and we picked up a number of them in the water and put them in a small compartment. After General Quarters some of the Hornet crew gave some cigarettes to the japs. Cigarettes were very cheap at that time. :-)

Well Gramp did you have time to relax? There was time to relax, the Captain would say "Its time to bend your elbows at the bar." What did that mean? Ask your Dad.

Joe Linick The Fat Gray Ghost

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My story is like Ron Haun. My battle station was in the control tower with Cdr. Berry. I also saw the plane that broke it's tail hook and killed the photographer and pilot. On another occasion we launched planes and this one was airborne only for about 1/4 miles when it exploded. The only other wild excursion was we were suppose to leave Japan for the states on Nov. 6 and we got orders to leave on Nov. 5th. because there was a hurricane moving in and we needed to get away from the docks. Boy was that some ride to hawaii.

Raymon Harris

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Toward the end of the war, I with quite a few more fellow crewman were standing on the port side on the hanger deck, looking out across the elevator. When the Jap Betty bomber coming right at us. We were firing everything we had, as well as the other ships on our convoy. Finally the plane was splashed near our ship. We talked later, what if he had opened up with his wing guns, though he might not of had any. We felt very lucky. Do any of you remember this incident, which I am sure you do. Write me.

Lee Sparks

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The day I reported aboard the Hornet - 30 September 1968 - we were to deploy for a WestPac/Gulf of Tonkin cruise, with a quick stop in San Diego (to include a little liberty). I was a DP2 (Data Processing Technician, 'buttonpusher') & was to be the #2 enlisted man in charge of the computer room, so I elected to stay aboard & get to know my job & my men. We were just barely pulling away from San Diego when we heard the 1MC squawk, "Man overboard, man overboard !!". I/we immediately initiated the required muster & came up 1 hand short ! Someone exclaimed, "Where's Rickets ?", Rickets being a young, skinny Seaman from Phoenix. Minutes later, in walked Rickets into the computer room, soaking wet, wrapped in a blanket, & shivering - seems he got involved in a pool game at the rec hall & forgot all about time. When he ran down to the pier & saw us pulling away, he panicked & jumped into the water , swimming toward the ship ! As if the possibility of maybe catching the ship wasn't wierd enough , he told us that just before jumping in he removed his smokes from his shirt pocket & put them in the back pocket of his dungaree trousers, like they wouldn't get wet there either ! My 1st day aboard & I had to write up one of my own men !

John Meagher

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A shot is fired,an american dies,A Doorbell rings a lonely mother cries,what a price for freedom,paid in tears,what a price for peace how many years?I know the price and this I'll say,my life for yours is what I'll pay.Oh but it hurt and the pain prolonged,dying for you when you think I'm wrong.You fools back home listen to me,you with your marching and the vdc,you know not what you're marching for I too want peace instead of war,I did not ask to join this fight,but fight I will because it's right.My one regret for what I do is that I might die for fools like you.Its you my friends I'm sorry for marching around and doing nothing more,then show to all what a fool you are,what price for peace have YOU paid so far?You march around and curse and shout,selling yourself and your country out.Burn your draftcards and yourself too,so many foolish things I'm sorry for you.But march you fools then march some more we dont need you to win this war,for war it is and war it will be un! til this country like ours is free.This feeling I have is hard to define,but I'm glad there are others with feelings like mine,glad there are always men like me,insuring that OUR country and others are free.

(Written by the men of OI Division)in 1964-1965

Thomas E.(Swamp Rat)Robertson RD-3 OI Div.1962-66

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I came aboard the Hornet in 1964. She was tied to a pier at Hunters Point for major re-hab. I was assigned to the fwd. engine rm.under the command of an MM1 named Weber.He and I took an immediate liking to one another, I believe, because we both were knowledgable with the machinery and we both liked to get nuts on the beach. We had nearly completed our part of the overhaul when a shipyard welder sparked a fire in the ventilation duct above no.1 main engine.I was on the quarter deck when the fire alarm sounded.I happened to glance up at the stack and it was belching smoke and flames. As I was running below decks, I heard that the fire was in my engine room. There was an apprentice on watch and I suddenly became very concerned for his safety.He had just come aboard and he was alone because the ship was on shore power and the powerplant was "cold" As I reached the main hatch to no.1, the apprentice was standing in the acrid smoke peering down into the engineroom. When he saw me, he yelled "Weber's down there, and he helped me to get out". I yelled several times into the smoke, then listening for a response, but there was nothing. Several of the base firemen had arrived and as I was to the point of hysteria knowing that Weber was likely to die, I heard footsteps and loud profanities coming from below--- It was Weber, coated with soot, burned, but very much alive as he emerged from hell. He had saved his engineroom, and in all probability saved the life of a young apprentice.

Robert Kuecher

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I retired from Naval Service in 1997 after 37 years. I am currently the ship's electrician on USS Hornet (CVS-12) Museum. While repairing the lighting circuits in No. 2 Engineroom I found a medallion laying on the deck plates. It's round, and stamped from aluminum. It has an insription which reads "To Buddy Love Elsa". There's a four leaf clover in the middle with the words "Good Luck". On the back is a horse shoe with the same words "Good Luck". It's dated 4.9.68, two years before the ship was laid up. I'm looking to return it to it's rightful owner. Are you out there?

Richard Nabuda

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Fourty-two years ago I was eight years old, our neighbor in Gardenia, Calf. invited us to share Thanksgiving dinner with his family on the U.S.S. Hornet. I had never seen such awsome sight and so many people too. After dinner our friend took us on a tour of the deck, hangers and engin room. I remmeber being excited being where the raid on Tokyo had begun. Later when ever I saw the Hornet in news for a slash down i was always proud I had been on board. I hope I have this part right, our neighbor was a Chief in the engin room, I think his name was Clarence Beltman thanks.

Fred Gabrielsen

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My Life as a Blue Jacket
In 1969 I was an able seaman in the Australian Navy. My ship DERWENT was in the delightful port of Hongkong, as was the HORNET. I got to enjoying the company of some US sailors - interesting in itself as though we usually got on well together we normally stuck to our little cliques. Anyway, quite late in the night, I mentioned that I had never been onboard a US ship. What is all a haze now, I remember journeying out in the liberty boat, being briefed on how to salute the quarterdeck and "don't speak for Gods sake". After sleeping in a spare bunk, I awoke to the sight of a dozen faces just staring at me and, as I found out later, waiting for me to utter a few words. I spent an enjoyable day or so exploring the absolutely new sights sounds and tastes of the Hornet. I have some excellent memories of that time, especially the friendly attitudes of the sailors who I found were not much different to myself - surprise surprise. You can imagine the numerous predicaments we found ourselves in trying to keep the operation covert but at the same time having queues of sailors trying to make contact with what must have seemed to them like ET. A standout in my travels was the Sonar Area which was decked out liked a Wanchai disco with all the strobe lighting and Jimmi Hendrix blazing away. Anyway,

Fond Memories

Jim Zeiher

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After one year in the navy stationed in kodiak alaska, I was assigned to the USS Hornet. On arrival of pier E in long beach, I saw the biggest ship I had ever seen. Being a kentucky boy I knew nothing about ships. I was carrying 2 sea bags (75lbs each) full of cloths and wanting to board this giant ship. The first browl I came to was the officers browl. These sea bags were killing my shoulders from the weight. I thought to myself this must be where you go aboard. I preceaded to climb the plank. A voice came out of no where and said wrong plank sailor. It was the officer of the deck telling me to go to the aft of the ship. He also pointed it out for me. It seemed like a mile to the aft of the ship, it took me another 20 minutes just to reach the aft browl. I was never so happy to unload those sea bags off my shoulder. This mighty ship turn a kentucky boy into grown man. I just wonder how many men did the same thing.

Max Hellmueller ABH-3 V-3 Div 1968-1970

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My name is RICH (HORK) HORKY I got aboard in Brooklyn, NY I served aboard the HORNET from 1953-1956. My first Div. was the 1st (focsle) later transfered to Fox Div. Like KEN KAUFMAN I did "MY TIME" mess cooking. i'm from New York and thank God I did'nt get it till we left for the far east cruise! I was aboard until 1956-I got shore duty my last year(I almost had a heart attack) cause the Essex was at the next dock-I thought I was going to walk my seabag over to Her and board Her, and put mostly all my time "at sea". One thing for sure, I was really "proud" to serve aboard the Hornet and walk the decks that all those brave sailors who walked them before me. Of which I happen to know one of them per- sonally- his name is ED HEUSTON-a great guy! and we are in the same VFW post together and live near each other in Murrells Inlet, SC.



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This story is being told in the second person, my father, Robert Whitby, ( Ships company, RM2c USS Hornet, 1943-46) died last October 29th, 2003 from complications connected to several strokes while in a board and care for that last several years. Dad had a lot of physical problems but to the very end had an alert quick mind. He had related this story to me many years ago but close to the end, before he went into a coma, he talked about it again, with tears in his eyes. This starts back in Pennsylvania in the 1930s My father and his first cousin, Stanley N. Whitby lived close to each other and played together as friends. In 1939, my Dad's family moved out to Southern California and lost contact with the rest of the family. The war started and by 1943, Dad inlisted in the Navy. unbeknownst to him, back in Pennsylvania, Stanley also had inlisted in the Navy. Dad was assigned to ships company, USS Hornet and came aboard early January, 1944 prior to her shakedown cruise in the Atlantic. Her new airgroup was CVG-15, the same airgroup Stanley was assigned to as a gunner in the early SB2C-1C's. Stan survived the training over the Atlantic in these "not so dependable" aircraft ( they lost several due to structural or mechanical failure). The Hornet transited the Atlantic, Caribbean, Panama Cannel and eastern Pacific to Hawaii. On March 5th, while at Pearl Harbor, Airgroup 15 left Hornet for further training, later to be assigned as CV-9 USS Essex's airgroup. Dad never knew Stan was aboard ship for those three months. Not surprising considering the size of an Essex Class and the amount of people. Several months later (I think he said around Christmas 1944) A CPO from Hornet's Aviation Dept. looked Dad up to ask him if he knew or was related to a Stanley N. Whitby. It turned out this CPO had become friends with Stan in the three months he was aboard Hornet. Dad was surprised and said yes, he's my first cousin. The CPO had some bad news. Stan, after 31 combat missions against the Japanese, and his pilot, were shot down and killed on October 13, 1944 while attacking the Japanese at the Ansan Navel Base on Boko Island in the Pescadores while flying from the Essex. Dad also found out that three months before Stan's death, he had been shot down before, off the island of Tinian in the Marianas, making a successful water landing. His pilot, Lt. (j.g.) Cliff Jordan was wounded, simi-conscious and had sustained injuries from the ditching. Stan got Lt. Jordan out of the cockpit and into the water before the Helldiver sank. He kept Lt. Jordan's head above water until help arrived. For this, Stan was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps medal for heroism. Stan was killed before he was ever presented the medal. My father was shocked and deeply hurt over the lose of his cousin and the fact that he never knew that for three months, Stan was on the same ship. They hadn't seen each other in six years, that would have been a great reunion if they had found each other. Dad carried this with him all of his adult life, and at the end, still shed a tear over it. He told me that soon, he would finely get his reunion with Stan. I believe that happened.

Steve Whitby

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Dad (harold) tells the story of the typhoon opening up the Hornet and being dry docked in San Fransisco for a few months. He also recalls the time flying a mission over the pacific when a jap fighter fired a round through the fuselage...that singed his flight jacket. He says if he had a belly then like he has now...he'd probably be dead. He also loves to tell stories about when the ship was patrolling in the they would jump off the first flight deck into the ocean. He says he did it once...and thought he would never come back up. He also talks about how they would throw the sacks of waste food off the deck and island people would swim all the way out...maybe a mile and collect the sacks full of potato peels and such and take it back to shore.

Harold Campau

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