USS Hornet

This week, USS Hornet (CV 12) marked the 50th anniversary of its participation in the Apollo 11 mission as the “prime recovery ship.” According to Robert Pearlman’s, the Navy selected USS Hornet on June 1, 1969, for the important role of retrieving lunar astronauts Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edward Eugene “Buzz” Aldrin from the Pacific Ocean after the trio splashed down on July 24.  


Community members joined veterans aboard the USS Hornet on Tuesday to honor the memory of the men who joined Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle on his April 18, 1942, raid on Japan. Kelly Estes, whose great-uncle Sgt. Donald Fitzmaurice lost his life during the raid, addressed those gathered for the ceremony (below). 

June Idell Foster passed away on April 20. Her spirit lives on aboard the USS Hornet, however. A Bay Area native, Foster grew up in a military family and put her support behind military and veteran causes. This included contributing the funds to restore the Grumman TBM-3 Avenger torpedo bomber aboard the USS Hornet.

During restoration volunteers painted the Avenger with the markings of VT-17, a squadron that fought from the deck of USS Hornet CV-12 during World War II.

Military history, protection of endangered birds and support for military veterans shared an Alameda Point runway on Saturday, April 2, during a lecture tour sponsored by the Naval Air Museum.  The occasion was the 74th anniversary of the departure of the USS Hornet to carry out the bombing raid on Japan led by Lt. Colonel Jimmy Doolittle. 

Three major events this weekend drew people from around the region and nation to the Island City. Dr. Buzz Aldrin, of second-man-on-the-moon fame, arrived Saturday to celebrate the 45th anniversary of his return to earth when the Apollo 11 spacecraft splashed down into the Pacific Ocean and was rescued by the Hornet itself. Aldrin brought some celebrity to the Island, and a very significant audience.

He talked about his childhood, his experience as a fighter pilot prior to becoming an astronaut, and about the voyage to the moon and back.

Locals were invited to experience the USS Hornet Air & Space Museum in a unique way free of charge all weekend courtesy of Jeep. Museum attendees took rides on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator at the Apollo 11 Splashdown 50th event on the USS Hornet flight deck, 200 feet above San Francisco Bay.

At the onset of World War II the U.S. Navy entered the conflict with highly developed radio technology for global overseas communication. Pioneering amateurs and scientists made critical advances working with high-frequency radio signals and produced mobile, long and short-range equipment later adapted for tactical use by the armed forces.  


At the end of last month a research ship located the remains of the aircraft carrier that took Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle and his “Raiders” to Japan. 


See the 1970 film Tora! Tora! Tora! described as a “dramatic retelling of the Pearl Harbor attack details everything in the days that led up to that tragic moment in American history” in commemoration of Pearl Harbor Day this weekend at the Alameda Naval Air Museum. The movie features Jason Robards.

The museum will screen the film at 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 9 and 10 and last three hours. The movie is free with regular museum admission. 


On Monday, July 3, 75 people celebrated America’s 241st birthday by becoming United States citizens aboard the USS Hornet. These brand-new Americans hailed from 26 different counties on five continents. The new citizens were part of 65 Independence Day-themed naturalization ceremonies held across the country as 15,000 people took the oath of citizenship in public libraries, national parks, museums and on baseball fields. One ceremony took place at Monticello, the home of founding father Thomas Jefferson.