The USS Hornet – Sea, Air, and Space Museum

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Shame and disappointment keeps a sour spirit in the brig.

“Lights Out” for the overnight guests is obeyed. There are spectral enforcers.

Spirits go about their duties; helping the living, even without a head.

The ER is still a sacred, serious space: disrespect = spectral discipline!

 

 

DESCRIPTION

“The heart of a carrier’s combat strength is its aircraft; her Air Groups provided Hornet’s lethal sting. Hornet’s success was dependent on the capabilities of highly trained pilots and aircrews and the specialized aircraft that operated from her flight deck.”

The USS Hornet CV-12, CVA-12, CVS-12 is one of the “24 legendary Essex-class aircraft carriers built during WW 2” and in the following years. She is one of the most decorated combat aircraft carriers of the U.S. Navy.

Tom and I visited this proud aircraft carrier at the Alameda docks in Calif. After we walked up the plank, and entered the main inner deck, called the Hangar Deck, we were transported back to an era when The USS Hornet was a gutsy aircraft carrier determined to face foes and serve wherever she was needed.

This USS Aircraft Carrier is 894 ft. It’s greatest width is 191 ft, 11 inches. To the top of the mast, The Hornet is 193 Ft. 6 inches. It’s displacement of water is 41,200 tons.

While the Hangar Deck doesn’t have many planes on display, like its sister carriers: USS Livingston, etc, there are interesting exhibits from the NASA Apollo Moon exploration missions, and several retired aircraft from the Second World War and the transonic and early supersonic jet propulsion period. For extra chuckles, try flying in the flight simulator which needs another ticket to participate. Fifteen visitors can go on one simulated flight.

The floor down one level from the Hangar Deck; the Second Deck, has completely been restored as the place where all Navy personnel and their unit of Marines lived and prepared for duties before them.

In 2020, this floor is the heart of their Educational, Scientific programs for the public and organizations which brings in funds to help maintain and restore this historic vessel. These programs teach history and science in fun interactive manner. Both Daytime Programs and Overnight programs are popular indeed.

Overnight programs – Groups can spend the night on board in the bunk sections, and have dinner there as well through history-based Live-Aboard and STEM Night Ops. Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Cadets, and other groups have stayed aboard the USS Hornet; helping to bring in money needed. There is The Bluejacket Training Family Activity Room where families can relax, enjoy hands-on activities and learn how to be a sailor.

Like a small city, it had the necessities needed to live aboard ship: Dining areas, bunk rooms, Sick Bay, Post Office, War Room, Bathrooms, Armaments, Movie Room, Library, General Store, Bakery Shop, Cobbler Shop, Barber Shop, Tailor Shop, Captain’s Quarters, and Admiral Quarters.

The upper flight deck was home for the Observation Deck, Brig, and a place for all the aircraft fighters/bombers needed for any battle plan. There are also Air craft elevators that can go down to the Hangar and bring up planes that were needed, or bring planes down to the Hangar Deck as well.

The USS Hornet enjoys the help of 150 volunteers; many past servicemen and sailors. There are audio and docent tours, led by volunteers, of The USS Hornet that last about 3 hours for a total tour of everything. If you only have an hour or so, do a self-tour of the Second Deck that was completely restored to the way it was when The USS Hornet first launched on August of 1943.

 

HISTORY

The USS Hornet’s Keel was laid on August 3rd, 1942, in Newport News, Virginia. It took only 16 months to finish building her; many of the workers were women. She was christened The USS Hornet; the eighth ship to be so named. The USS Hornet originally was to be named The USS Kearsarge, but when The 7th USS Hornet was sunk in the battle of Santa Cruz on October 27th, 1942, the new aircraft carrier’s name became The USS Hornet.

The USS Hornet set sail to “hunt bear” in the South Pacific, after being commissioned as CV on November 29th, 1943. She had on board a crew complement of 3,400 with Air Wing. Her air groups consisted of a fighter (VF) squadron, a bombing (VB) squadron and a torpedo (VT) squadron. There were 100 fighter planes for the squadrons on board. She joined Task Force 58.

The USS Hornet had a long tour of duty in the South Pacific, never docking in a port for fifteen months. This cemented very strong bonds among the men. It was also a bit rough for those who reacted to the intensity of so much stress of battle and loss in not so good way resulting in Battle Fatigue Syndrome in an era where the cure was to suck it up and go forward. It sometimes resulted in self-destruction.

The USS Hornet was in the belly fire of war, being attacked fifty-nine times; but was never hit by a torpedo, a dropped bomb or a kamikaze airplane, though some pilots lost their lives. Needless to say, all the squadrons were in plenty of action, with a stellar record of shooting the enemy out of the sky; a thousand enemy planes by the end of WW2.

In one battle over the Mariannas, the pilots from The USS Hornet shot down a record sixty-two enemy planes in one day. This confrontation was given the nickname: “The Mariannas Turkey Shoot.” In one month, they shot down 255 enemy planes.

Their great record of achievement of The USS Hornet also included: one carrier sunk, one cruiser sunk, ten destroyers sunk, forty-two cargo ships sunk, and assisted in the sinking of the IJN super battleship Yamato.

By the end of WW2, The USS Hornet had earned nine battle stars for the nine major skirmishes they helped to win. The Air Wing Groups earned a Presidential Citation for the nine big battles they participated in with such success.

After the War, The USS Hornet was decommissioned for four and a half years before being recommissioned as a CVA: Attack Carrier. The vessel was upgraded, renovated, andmodernized; a process The USS Hornet went through several times to meet the goals of its commissions. The crew compliment was 3,500 with Air Wing. There were forty-four planes in service on board.

The USS Hornet participated in the Vietnam Nam War twice, was a training facility, and stepped in to help in times of calamity.

Toward the end of its commissioned years, it had the honor of picking up NASA’s astronauts, from Apollo 11 and Apollo 12: both in 1969. The USS Hornet was decommissioned on June 26th, 1970. It began its deactivation process in Long Beach, California.

In June of 1970, The USS Hornet was officially decommissioned in the dry dock at the Naval Yard in Puget Sound. It sat in “mothballs”; its future uncertain. In 1989, its name was stricken from Naval Records. The USS Hornet may have wound up in the scrap heap but for some dedicated folks who formed the Aircraft Carrier Hornet Foundation. The USS Hornet was donated to the Aircraft Carrier Hornet Foundation. They had The USS Hornet listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks in 1991.

In 1998, The U.S Naval Yards in Alameda were closed, and the docks were given back to the city of Alameda. The City Council decided to rent out the space to tenants. Seeing their opportunity to acquire a berth for The USS Hornet, representatives from The USS Hornet Foundation did some fast talking in front of the Alameda City Council. The council agreed. A few months later, The USS Hornet Museum opened for the public.

However, The Aircraft Carrier Hornet Foundation in the first ten years couldn’t pay the rent, so the City Council lowered the rent several times. The Aircraft Carrier Hornet Foundation were not getting the foot traffic they expected. They had to start from scratch, because this vessel needed a lot of TLC and it took time to make it an attractive destination to draw in visitors, who wanted to get their money’s worth. Other ways were eventually found to increase their revenue, and the patience of the Alameda City Council paid off for everyone.

Things looked up financially for the Foundation after a decade of struggling, and they were able to pay back the rent owed the city of Alameda in 2013. A battle won that pleased everyone! The battle to find ways to raise enough money to maintain, restore The USS Hornet and pay the city rent was a long one indeed, but they did it; even restoring the second deck.

Besides adding Astronaut displays to the main deck, this restoration opened opportunities to offer more activities that would attract the public to buy a ticket and participate. It added meat to their tours as there was now more to see and experience.

Daytime audio tours and docent tours as well have new interesting displays, exhibits and gives the visitor a feeling of what it was like living on board. There is even a family fun room, The Bluejacket Training Family Activity Room, where families can relax, enjoy hands-on activities and learn how to be a sailor.

Other Daytime Programs include STEM-TO-STERN Workshops, and Passport to History, where students are assigned the identity of a sailor who served on aboard and explore the ship through his perspective.

Overnight programs – Groups can spend the night on board in the bunk sections, and have dinner there as well through history-based Live-Aboard and STEM Night Ops. Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Cadets, and other groups have stayed aboard the USS Hornet; helping to bring in money needed.

Apparently, because of the cooperation of spirits of men who served on the USS Hornet, there are paranormal tours; 7-10 pm. All the staff know well enough all the paranormal hot spots aboard this aircraft carrier.

Paranormal groups can also rent time on-board to try to contact the spirits who stay or visit here.

Fundraisers and Memberships to The USS Hornet Support organization also bring in funds.

 

HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS

In the USS Hornet’s “27 years of active service, more than 300 people lost their lives aboard ship. The majority claimed during combat, others from these horrendous shipboard accidents, still others from suicide.”

The spirits who reside or visit on this U.S. air carrier have become part of this new USS HORNET non-profit organization and like to try to help the living while enjoying their memories, enjoying being with spirit buddies and working through their pain and restlessness as well.

U.S Aircraft carriers, Battleships and Destroyers can be dangerous places to be stationed. Accidents aboard have taken lives. USS Hornet suffered some horrendous accidents on board. “Sailors have walked into aircraft’s spinning props, been sucked into their air intakes, and blown off deck by their exhaust. Dropped ordnance has exploded, burning and maiming sailors. Snapping flight arrest cables are known to have decapitated at least three men on the USS Hornet.”

Military personnel who die suddenly in the heat of battle, can leave their bodies very quickly, resulting in spirits not ready to pass over into the spirit world just yet and stay on this assigned job. Sailors and pilots were killed in battle.

When an environment is restored, spirits attached to items in this environment that they loved while alive, often are comfortable and find ways to fit into their old life the best they can as a spirit. Many spirits who served aboard The USS Hornet, still love this place and feel very comfortable to jump right in and be helpful; as well as occasionally having some innocent fun with the living.

Experiences on board or in battle that caused deep, unpleasant emotions felt during a fatal occurrence, or still felt even after a lifetime sometimes tie the spirit to a place in this world, where it happened.

A Kamikaze Japanese Pilot who took an oath to die bravely crashing into The USS Hornet, but failed in his mission; mistakingly landing in the drink beside this aircraft carrier. He was taken prisoner, winding up in the brig.

Sailors saw their buddies die. Sick Bay and the Surgery unit had its victories and losses too. Bonding and camaraderie among a group of people can cause them to stay together as spirits in this world. Being 15 months together in war conditions solidified bonds between men; not undone by death.

Suicide can cause hauntings; they still have the same feelings they tried to escape, plus guilt and regret. (Soldiers who suffer from Battle fatigue Syndrome and survivors guilt are suicide prone.) Stress and loss caused men to kill themselves. Because of being 15 months from a port during WW2, and experiencing 57 attacks, suffering the death of friends, The USS Hornet has the WW2 record for suicides of men who buckled under all the mayhem and death around them.

MANIFESTATIONS

On the Flight Deck –

Spirits of officers and enlisted men

haven’t let the fact that they are dead stop them from being members of the crew. See-through spectral Navy personnel have been seen by staff, docents and visitors, dressed in uniform going about their business.

Male spirits without heads

have been seen walking around the flight deck, going about their duties – Who needs a head to obey orders? (Victims of a snapping arrest flight cable.)

Spirit of a Fly Boy

Isn’t one to feel sorry for himself. He keeps himself busy; recently opening and slamming hatches and other chores. Enjoys laughing and talking with others spirits.

There is always one in every crowd who is a negative presence…

Spirit of Japanese pilot in Brig

He is an unhappy spirit mad at himself, and has shown the living his feelings probably by throwing papers, moving stuff, giving off negative energy. No matter how he relives his disgrace, he can’t change it.

Spirits of old medical staff and a few patients still relive their struggles here…

An apparition of a patient was spotted lying in a bunk in sick-bay.

A white mist was seen hovering around the X-ray machine.

Two spirits were seen in the OR. One spirit was holding his wounded friend’s head, who was a pilot.

Like today’s OR in modern hospitals, the same standards are maintained – visitors not welcome. On the self-guided tour, the rooms are roped off.

Respect and order is demanded in the Surgery wing. Some visitors forget… Uh oh! Discipline is required. Some scouts left their bags in this Surgery Room. When they came back to get their bags, contents of the bags were scattered around, and they felt a very cold breeze swirl around them.

Some Girl Scouts were bunked in Sick Bay where the sickest sailors were kept. When they came back from dinner, their belongings were thrown around the room.

1965-1969

The spectral spirit night shift; just waiting their chance to get back to their old jobs.

A sailor was having Iron Watch Duty in the Firebox Room where the boilers are located after the men who were scraping one of the boilers inside of its mammoth insides had gone off duty for the day. In the middle of the night, this sailor became really hungry and ran to his locker to get a snack and was back quick as a flash.

Imagine his surprise when he heard a scraping noise coming from inside the boiler. He also heard muffled disembodied voices around him and actually saw an apparition walk behind the boiler.

Taking all the courage he had, this living sailor climbed up the big ladder, and peeked in to see who was doing night duty. No one living was there. This once skeptic became a believer, and never left his station again.

1995 and 1996 Manifestations – Puget Sound Dock

In the front part of the Fight Deck; Foc’sle

A sailor noticed that the Mooring line had been pushed through in the wrong direction.

This observant sailor proclaimed, “THAT AIN’T RIGHT!” He heard a disembodied voice behind him agree with him, saying, “That isn’t right!” The observant living sailor looked behind him to see a spectral sailor dressed in dungarees walk behind him who bent down to look at something before vanishing.

2000-2012

Helping the volunteers with their chores aboard.

After The USS Hornet was given a berth in Alameda, maintenance and repair began when money was available.

One volunteer was doing some painting. He forgot to do something and went away to do it. When he came back, the painting had been done in the correct Navy-way. No one else was on his level.

After the 2013 Restoration of the Second Deck, activity jumped significantly, with a boatload of sightings of spirits of all ranks who felt welcome and at ease, enthusiastically embracing the new Educational Programs: jumping into help.

On the Second Deck – living quarters for all navy personnel

Apparently, Lights out means lights out; no exceptions which means no reading lamps- enforced by spectral personnel.

Girl Scouts found that out!

One Girl Scout Junior crew member was on the third tier up on the sleeping bunks. No one was under her. After “Lights Out” was called, she continued to read with her lamp. When she turned it out, and got ready to go to sleep, she was pushed in the back from under her bunk. She looked over and saw in the corner of the room, a white light and two spectral sailors scrutinizing her. One said to the other; “Watch that one!”

Four Girl Scouts were in a room with bunks. As they got into their bunks, a spectral sailor wearing Kakhi uniform appeared as a see-through presence in the middle of the room. One of them threw cards at him and the cards flew through him before he disappeared. When “Lights Out” was called to all, the girls turned on their reading lamps. Five minutes later, an unseen presence went around and turned off all the reading lamps!

 

STILL HAUNTED?

The USS Hornet has the honor of being the most haunted U.S. Navy vessel. The spirits who reside or visit on this U.S. air carrier have become part of this new USS HORNET non-profit organization and like to try to help the living while enjoying their memories, enjoying being with spirit buddies and working through their pain and restlessness as well.

 

LOCATION

USS Hornet – Sea, Air, and Space Museum
707 W Hornet Avenue,
Alameda, CA 94501

USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum is located across the bay from San Francisco in the dock area of Alameda.

SOURCES INCLUDE

  • www.hauntedbay.com
  • www.uss-hornet.org
  • www.its.caltech.edu
  • Pamphlet – Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum

 
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

 

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