USS Hornet CV-8

Aircraft Carrier
Newport News Shipbuilding &
Drydock Company
Newport News, Virginia
Hull Number:
March 30, 1939
October 20, 1941
Keel Laid:
September 25, 1939
December 14, 1940

January 13, 1943
Sunk Oct. 27, 1942 by Japanese cruisers Akigumo and Makigumo (torpedo).
(Damaged on Oct. 26 by Japanese aircraft from Zuikaku, Shokaku and Junyo.
USS Anderson DD-411 and USS Mustin DD-413 attempt to scuttle but fail and ship is abandoned.)
Wreck found in 2019.

Location: South Pacific, 430 miles ENE of Guadalcanal Island, Solomon Islands.
(08.38S - 166.43E)

Over 130 crewmen killed, over 2,350 survivors removed by escorting destroyers.

Dimensions, machinery and performance

824' 9"
4 Parsons geared steam turbines
83' 3"
9 Babcock & Wilcox
Flight Deck:
24' (full)
20,000 std. / 25,700 full
34 knots
12,500 NM @ 15 knots

Number Carried
Maximum Range / Ceiling
5"/38 (127mm)
Mk 24 MOD 2
single mounts
17,392 yards @ 45° (9.8 miles)
AA ceiling 37,200'
55.18 lb. shell
Rate of fire 15 RPM

1.1"/75 (28mm)
4 quad mounts
7,400 yards @ 40.9° (4.2 miles)
AA ceiling 19,000"
.917 lb. HE shell
Rate of fire 100

AA machine guns
single mounts
4,800 yards @ 45° (2.7 miles)
AA ceiling 10,000'
.271 lb HE shell
Rate of fire 250-320 RPM

Combat Victories
June 6, 1942
June 6, 1942
(b) Damaged
June 6, 1942
(c) Damaged
June 6, 1942
(d) Damaged
Oct. 26, 1942
Aircraft Carrier
(e) Damaged
Oct. 26, 1942
(f) Damaged
With the assistance of aircraft from USS Enterprise CV-6 the ship is sunk at position
29.22N - 176.34E, 374 miles WNW of Midway.
640 crewmen were killed, 240 survivors picked up by the cruiser Mogami and the
destroyers Arashio and Asashio.
Two more survivors were picked up by USS Trout SS-202 on June 9.

Damaged earlier in the day by USMC aircraft, Hornet and Enterprise aircraft score six
direct hits, Mogami is out of action until May 1943.

Hit by 1 bomb which kills 37 crewmen, ship is out of action until Oct. 1942.
(it is unknown whether aircraft from Hornet or Enterprise scored the hit)

Hit by 1 bomb which kills 22 crewmen, ship is out of action until Sept. 1942.
(it is unknown whether aircraft from Hornet or Enterprise scored the hit)

Hit by up to six bombs from Hornet and Enterprise aircraft, 60 crewmen are killed and the
flight deck is wrecked. Ship is out of action until Mar. 1943.

Hit by 3 bombs from Hornet and Enterprise aircraft, 190 crewmen killed, ship out of
action until Mar. 1943.

Oct. 20, 1941
June 13, 1942
Captain Marc A. Mitscher
June 13, 1942
Oct. 26, 1942
Captain Charles P. Mason

American Defense Service Medal (Fleet clasp)
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (4 stars)
World War II Victory Medal
Presidential Unit Citation (Awarded to VT-8 for Air Battle of Midway June 4, 1942)
Combat Action Ribbon (retroactive, April 16, 1945)

Battle Stars
June 4, 1942
Oct. 5, 1942
Buin-Faisi-Tonolai strike
Oct. 16, 1942
Capture and defense of Guadalcanal
Oct. 26, 1942
Santa Cruz Islands

Nov. 1941:
Shakedown period.
Feb. 2, 1942:
Departed Norfolk Naval Station with two B-25B Mitchell bombers on board. The ship sailed
to a point aprox. 30 miles off shore and the bombers were launched as a test for the
Doolittle Raid.

Feb. 1942:
Late in the month the camouflage paint scheme was applied.
Mar. 4, 1942:
Departed Norfolk Naval Station for west coast.
Hornet Air Group embarked
Commander Hornet Air Group (CHAG) Lt. Cmdr. Stanhope Cotton Ring (Later VAdm)
Fighter Squadron 8 (VF-8) 27 Grumman F4F-4
Bomber Squadron 8 (VB-8) 19 Douglas SBD Dauntless
Scouting Squadron 8 (VS-8) 18 Douglas SBD Dauntless
Torpedo Squadron 8 (VT-8) 15 Douglas TBD-1 Devastator

Mar. 7, 1942:
Joined with a convoy bound for Panama.
Mar. 11, 1942:
Transited the Panama Canal, docked at Pier 16 Balboa, Panama overnight.
Mar. 12, 1942:
Departed Balboa, Panama. Aircrews conducted carrier qualifications between
Balboa and San Diego, California.

Mar. 20, 1942:
Arrived at San Diego, California.
Mar. 23, 1942:
Depart San Diego, California for carrier qualifications.

Mar. 25, 1942:
Returned to San Diego, California.
Mar. 30, 1942:
Departed San Diego for San Francisco, California.
Mar. 31, 1942:
Arrived at San Francisco, California.
Apr. 1, 1942:
Pulled by tugs to Alameda Naval Air Station, Hornet scrapped bottom en route.
Loaded sixteen B-25B Mitchell bombers for the Doolittle Raid and was then pulled into
San Francisco Bay.

Apr. 2, 1942:
Task Group 16.2 (TG-16.2) departs San Francisco, California at 10:15 hrs.
TG-16.2 consisted of USS Hornet CV-8, USS Vincennes CA-44, USS Nashville CL-43,
USS Gwin DD-433, USS Grayson DD-435, USS Monssen DD-436, USS Meredith DD-433
and USS Cimarron AO-22.

14:00 hrs.
Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle held a meeting in the wardroom and informed the
Hornet Air Group of the mission.

Apr. 6, 1942:
TG-16.2 is at position 40N - 155W.
Apr. 7, 1942:
TG-16.2 is at position 40N - 169W.
Night of Apr. 6-7 TG-16.2 hit by storm, winds 35 knots.

Apr. 8, 1942:
TG-16.2 is at position 40N - 170W
Unable to refuel from Cimarron due to heavy seas and fog.

Apr. 8, 1942:
Task Group 16.1 (TG-16.1) under command of Adm. William F. Halsey departs
Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
TG-16.1 consisted of USS Enterprise CV-6, USS Salt Lake City CA-25,
USS Northampton CA-26, USS Balch DD-363, USS Benham DD-397, USS Ellet DD-398,
USS Fanning DD-385, USS Sabine AO-25.

Apr. 9, 1942:
TG-16.2 is at position 40N - 175W.
TG-16.1 was late and 16.2 had to slow.
Attempt to refuel from Cimarron aborted due to heavy seas. One man went overboard
from Cimarron but was picked up by a destroyer.

Apr. 11, 1942:
TG-16.2 is at position 38.20N - 172W.
Apr. 12, 1942:
TG-16.2 is at position 38.38N - 175.50W.
Refueled from Cimarron.

Apr. 13, 1942:
Joined with TG-16.1 and formed Task Force 16 (TF-16) under the overall command of
Admiral William F. Halsey

Apr. 14, 1942:
TF-16 is at position 38N - 176W.
Apr. 15, 1942:
TF-16 is at position 37N - 172E.
Apr. 16, 1942:
TF-16 is at position 36N - 166E.
TF-16 slowed to 8 knots to keep launch schedule.

Apr. 17, 1942:

TF-16 is at position 38N - 160E.
Speed increased to 23 knots.

Apr. 18, 1942:
At 08:20 hrs. Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle takes off from the Hornet en route to bomb the
Japanese mainland. The last plane takes off at 09:19 hrs.

Apr. 25, 1942:
Arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Apr. 30, 1942:
Departs Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for operation in the Coral Sea.
May 16, 1942:
Recalled from Coral sea operation.
May 26, 1942:
Arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
May 28, 1942:
Departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii at 11:30 hrs. for Midway operation as part of TF-16
under overall command of Rear Admiral Raymond A. Spruance.
1 SBD from VS-8 failed to start at Ewa Field, Pearl Harbor and was left behind.
The pilot Lt. William John Widhelm was flown to the Hornet in a TBD.

May 29, 1942:
Aircraft 8-S-18 from VS-8 crashed about 15 miles from the ship while on a recon mission,
both crewmen are killed.

June 4, 1942:
The Battle of Midway
09:00 hrs.

Hornet launches the first wave of aircraft.
10 of VF-8, under Sdn. Cmdr. S. G. Mitchell
15 of VT-8 armed with torpedoes.
16 of VS-8 armed with a 500 lb. bomb.
19 of VB-8 armed with a 500 lb. bomb.

All 15 aircraft of VT-8 were shot down in action over the Japanese Fleet, 29 crewmen
were killed, only one man, Ens. George H. Gay Jr. survived.

13 aircraft of VB-8 had to land at Midway due to lack of fuel, 2 of them landed in
lagoon and were damaged. The remaining 11 aircraft were refueled and went back to search for the Japanese Fleet. No contact was made with the Japanese and the aircraft returned to Hornet at 17:27 hrs.

Aircraft from VF-8 which went with Commander Hornet Air Group (CHAG),
VS-8 and VB-8 all ran out of fuel and ditched in the ocean, two pilots were lost five
were rescued.

14:10 hrs.
At about this time USS Yorktown CV-5 came under attack by Japanese aircraft.
Ens. Stephen W. Groves (8-F-17) from Hornet was shot down during this action.

14:30 hrs.
An F4F-4 Wildcat (3-F-24) from VF-3 (USS Yorktown CV-5) piloted by Ens. Daniel C. Sheedy lands on Hornet and accidentally fires his .50 cal. machine guns killing 5 and wounding 20.
(see page 13)

15:30 hrs.
An F4F-4 Wildcat (3-F-5) from VT-3 (USS Yorktown CV-5), piloted by Ens. H. A. Bass USNR, lands on the USS Hornet CV-8 and again the .50 cal. machine guns open fire.
Ens. Bass stated he "had forgotten to close the firing circuit switch, and had inadvertently pressed the firing key when the plane stopped suddenly". Fortunately the aircraft landed on the centerline and the bullets passed harmlessly over the deck.
(see page 13)

18:03 hrs.
Hornet launches second attack with 16 VSB's.
19:30 hrs.
Hornet's aircraft attack Japanese fleet claiming 3 direct hits. All aircraft returned from this mission the last one landing at 20:59 hrs.

June 5, 1942:
Midway action continues
01:10 hrs.
The casualties from the Sheedy incident are buried at sea.
17:12 hrs.
Hornet launches third attack with 26 VSB's
Aircraft failed to find the Japanese fleet and dropped their bombs on a cruiser or destroyer
but no hits were observed. All aircraft returned to ship, 1 ran out of fuel and ditched near
USS Enterprise CV-6, the crew was picked up by USS Aylwin DD-355.

June 6, 1942:
Midway action continues
09:57 hrs.

Hornet launches fourth attack with with 26 VFB's and 8 VF.
1 SBD from VS-8 (SE# 4677) shot down, crew lost. Several direct hits on Japanese ships
reported. All aircraft are recovered by 12:45 hrs.

15:30 hrs.
Hornet launches final attack with 24 VSB's. 1 returned to Hornet with mechanical problems
at 16:02 hrs.

Along with aircraft from USS Enterprise CV-6 they attack a group of Japanese ships.
The cruiser Mikuma is sunk, the cruiser Mogami is hit by six bombs and the destroyers
Arashio and Asashio are both hit once.

1 aircraft from VS-8 is shot down during the action, both crewmen were killed.
Remaining aircraft returned to Hornet beginning at 17:28 hrs.

June 10, 1942:
Rendezvous with USS Saratoga CV-3 which transferred aircraft to Hornet and Enterprise
to replace those lost at Midway.

June 13, 1942:
Arrived at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Capt. Mitscher replaced by Capt. Charles P. Mason.
Aug. 1942:
Torpedo Squadron VT-6 embarked with Grumman TBD-1 Avenger's.
(made up of remnants of VT-6 from USS Enterprise but kept the VT-6 designation)
Fighter Squadron VF-8 replaced by VF-72.
Scouting Squadron VS-8 and Bomber Squadron VB-8 were resupplied with new aircraft.

Aug. 17, 1942:
Departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for Guadalcanal operation.
Aug. 29, 1942:
Arrived in vicinity of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.
Sept. 6, 1942:
Japanese submarine I-11 fires torpedoes at Hornet but a USN aircraft dropped bombs
in the area which disrupted the torpedoes causing them to miss.

Sept. 15, 1942:
USS Wasp CV-7 and Hornet are escorting a reinforcement convoy of six transports carrying
the 7th Marine Regiment from Espiritu Santo to reinforce Guadalcanal. The carriers are steaming in sight of each other about 8 miles apart. About 250mi SE of Guadalcanal
(12.18S - 164.15W) the Japanese submarine I-19 fires a salvo of 6 torpedoes sinking
Wasp and damaging USS North Carolina BB-55 and USS O'Brien DD-415.
The last torpedo fired narrowly missed Hornet.

Sept. 26, 1942:
Arrived at New Caledonia for supplies.
Oct. 4, 1942:

Aircraft from VF-72 attack a Japanese troop convoy bound for Guadalcanal.
An F1M2 "Pete" launched from the seaplane tender Kamikawa Maru is attacked and forced
to ditch.

Oct. 5, 1942:
Aircraft from Hornet bomb Buin-Tonolei area and Faisi, Bougainville, Solomons.
Oct. 13, 1942:
TF-17 including Hornet is located East of Malaita by a Aichi E13-A1 "Jake" floatplane
of R Area recon force, Shortlands.

Oct. 16, 1942:
TF-17 is sighted again by another Aichi E13-A1 "Jake" floatplane and the submarine
I-26 is dispatched to the area.

Oct. 16, 1942:
TF 17 strikes Japanese troops on Guadalcanal, and seaplane base at Rekata Bay,
Santa Isabel, Solomons.

Oct. 24, 1942:
Hornet and TF-17 joined with USS Enterprise CV-6 and TF-16 at position 08.45S - 171.30E
to make Task Force 61 (TF-61).

Oct. 25, 1942:
Report of Japanese Task Force received by TF-61, Enterprise launches aircraft to search
while Hornet's aircraft are kept in ready status and remain so all night.
Enterprise's aircraft do not find enemy and return to the ship.

Oct. 26, 1942:
Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
08:00 hrs.
At position 08.45S - 166.38E by this time a Combat Air Patrol (CAP) of VF-8 was
already in the air over Hornet.

08:22 hrs.
An aircraft from USS Enterprise CV-6 reports contact with an enemy force but there is no
mention of carriers. Commander of TF-61 orders Hornet's aircraft to launch.

08:32 hrs.
Hornet launches first wave with
8 VF's
15 VSB's w/1,000 bomb
6 VT's w/torpedo.

08:55 hrs.
Second wave launched with
7 VF's
9 VSB's w/1,000 bomb
9 VT's w/4 x 500lb bombs each.
The last aircraft launching at 09:10 hrs.

09:20 hrs.
Second Combat Air Patrol with 8 VF launched, first CAP recovered, completed by 09:30 hrs.
09:20 hrs.
Outbound aircraft report two formations of enemy aircraft are inbound to TF-61
aprox. 60 miles away at 12,000'

09:48 hrs.
All 7 aircraft from the first CAP are refueled and launched.
10:00 hrs.
A Nakajima BN5 "Kate" from Zuikaku locates the Hornet and TF-16.
Also a scout plane from the cruiser Tone has also located TF-16.
(four of Tone's floatplanes were used to scout the US ships and two were lost in the battle)

10:08 hrs.
Hornet begins a hard turn to port.
10:10 hrs.
Japanese attack begins, near miss on starboard bow.
10:12 hrs.
2 near misses to starboard.
10:14 hrs.
Val dive bomber crashes Hornet's stack.
The aircraft and one 100lb. bomb explode while passing through the flight deck and start a
fire in #2 ready room below. One 100lb. Bomb explodes destroying the signal enclosure and gasoline from the plane start fires on the signal bridge. One 500lb. Bomb is a dud and comes to rest in the passageway just aft of #2 ready room.

10:14:30 hrs.
First torpedo hit on starboard side, a second torpedo hit followed seconds later. Two firerooms and forward engine room flooded, Hornet is dead in the water. All communications lost, water pressure for firefighting lost. Ship took a list of 10.5° starboard but righted to 7-8°.

10:15 hrs.
Three bomb hits; 2 aft, 1 exploding on the 4th deck the second exploded on the flight deck.
Third bomb exploded on the 3rd or 4th deck near the forward messing compartment.

10:25 hrs.
First attack is over. USS Morris DD-417, USS Russell DD-414 and USS Mustin DD-413
are ordered to come alongside to assist in fire control.

10:31 hrs.
Morris arrived first on starboard side, followed by Russell on the port bow and then by
Mustin on the port quarter.

11:00 hrs.
Fires on the Hornet are brought under control.
11:05 hrs.
USS Northampton CA-26 arrives and attempts to take Hornet under tow.
11:09 hrs.
Another Val attacked from ahead dropping a bomb which missed to starboard landing about
25 yards from the stern of Morris. The destroyers moved away and were undamaged, they returned to Hornet's side following the attack.

11:34 hrs.
USS Northampton CA-26 again in position to tow Hornet.
12:23 hrs.
USS Northampton CA-26 begins to tow Hornet.
12:40 hrs.
Tow line breaks and Hornet is adrift.
12:45 hrs.
Commander TF-17 transfers his flag to the USS Pensacola CA-24.
14:30 hrs.
USS Northampton CA-26 again takes Hornet in tow.
15:40 hrs.
Transfer of wounded and excess personnel to destroyers completed.
15:50 hrs.
Making 3 knots under tow.
15:55 hrs.
Report of unidentified aircraft approaching Hornet received.
16:20 hrs.
Between 4 and 6 enemy aircraft sighted approaching from starboard. USS Northampton CA-26 cut the tow line and turned hard to port.

16:23 hrs.
A "Kate" from Junyo attacks, one torpedo hit in after engine room. Bomb hit at starboard or flight deck at stern.

16:50 hrs.
Another attack by Japanese aircraft, no hits.
16:50 hrs.
Order to abandon ship issued, ship is reportedly listing at 18°.
16:55 hrs.
Attacked by 6 aircraft, one hit by bomb aft starboard corner of flight deck.
17:27 hrs.
Capt. Mason, the last man on board, leaves the ship.
18:02 hrs.
Attacked by 4 Val dive bombers, one hit forward of the island starting a fire.
USS Anderson DD-411 and USS Mustin DD-413 ordered to sink the Hornet to avoid capture.
The destroyers fire 369 5" shells and 9 torpedoes at the hulk but Hornet does not sink.

21:40 hrs.
All US ships leave the area, Hornet is last seen burning from stem to stern.
(Capt. Mason's report states 2,512 on board at time of attack. Gives casualties as 124
on the ship, 8 or 9 died later of wounds 19 of the air group missing)

Oct. 27, 1942:
01:35 hrs. Sunk by Japanese cruisers Akigumo and Makigumo at 08.38S - 166.43E.

Christened by Mrs. Frank M. Knox.
The Hornet was the last fleet carrier lost by the USA in the war.
The Japanese were the last to see the carrier that launched the raid on Japan.
Mrs. Frank Knox also christened the new Hornet CV-12.

Page published Oct. 7, 2007