Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton signed the donation contract yesterday officially transferring the historic aircraft carrier Hornet (CV 12) to the Aircraft Carrier Hornet Foundation of Alameda, Calif.
The Hornet memorial museum is scheduled to open to the public in August 1998, following restoration of the vessel by the Aircraft Carrier Hornet Foundation.
A national historic landmark, Hornet is currently located at Pier 3 of the former Naval Air Station Alameda, which the Navy has leased to the Alameda Reuse and Redevelopment Authority.
Commissioned Nov. 29, 1943, this Essex-class carrier achieved an exemplary combat record in World War II, earning seven battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation.
Hornet destroyed numerous Japanese aircraft during the battle of the Philippine Sea, supported the amphibious assault landings of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and helped to sink the entire task force of the Japanese battleship Yamato.
Following World War II, Hornet was decommissioned in 1947 and transferred to the Pacific Reserve Fleet.
Hornet was recommissioned in 1953 after conversion to an attack aircraft carrier (CVA 12) and served her country for another 17 years, supporting the 7th Fleet for combat operations off the coast of Vietnam, as well as providing a peacetime presence throughout Southeast Asia.
In 1958, Hornet was converted to an antisubmarine warfare support carrier (CVS 12).
Astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr., and Michael Collins made their return trip home aboard the carrier in 1969, when Hornet recovered the Apollo 11 space capsule and, months later, recovered the all-Navy Apollo 12 crew.
"Hornet" is one of the oldest names in the U.S. Navy, with CV 12 the eighth ship to bear this name.
The first Hornet was a merchant sloop (1775-1777) in Esek Hopkins' Fleet.
Second to bear the name was a 10-gun sloop, whose bombardment off Tripoli in 1805 helped force the surrender of Derna and the raising of the American flag on "the shores of Tripoli." The seventh Hornet (CV 8) carried the Doolittle Raiders to launch the first American air strike on Tokyo, assisted in the battle of Midway, and was sunk in October 1942 while defending Guadalcanel during the battle of the Santa Cruz Islands.
For additional information, visit the U.S. Navy homepage at: http://www.navy.mil