Sea History 109 - Winter 2004-2005

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the Navy awarded a salvage co ntract to scrap her. She was towed to the San Francisco Bay Area for scrapping in 1995. Before salvage work co uld begin , the Co mmanding Officer of Naval Air Srarion (NAS) Alameda, California, Captain Jam es Dodge, requested her presence as rhe centerpi ece for the celebration of the 50th anni versary of rhe end of\Vorld War II. Soon the ACH F was formed, $2.4 million raised, and the Navy was petitioned to overturn the scrapping order and release her to become a public museum. By October 1998, the Hornet Museum opened with its principal source of income co ming from gate admissions and store sales. With fantastic suppo rt from a wide array of volunteers, significant ship restoration work was accomplished and other programs were put in place. Many corporations chose to have private evems aboard Hornet an d remed her fo r an even ing. Hornet began community outreach programs: one was a youth overnight live-aboard experience, initially created for Boy and G irl Scours and now expanded to school and other yo uth gro ups; the oth er was quarterly Big Band dances to add a unique air of nostalgia to the swing craze. Then the "perfect storm" swept into Alameda. In 2000 the dot-com busin ess impl osio n sent the Bay Area into a steep recessio n, which still exists four years later. In September 2001, immediately following the World Trade Center disaster, tourism in San Francisco " plummeted. Lasdy, ~ the former Alameda 5 NAS was supposed ~ to be handed over ~ to the city for red e¡. ~ velopmenr starting -s~ ~ . :'!'t'- ~ 111 2004. Due to 8 a Navy-City issue 40mm quad gun mount and crew in concerning toxic action on USS Hornet, 1945 waste cleanup, this privatization has stalled and full redevelopment of the base area may not be com pleted until well beyond the original dare. Although restoration work and a variety of public and private events continue to rake place, the USS Hornet remains in an our-of-rhe-way location w ith litde ability to control its destiny (or even pur up signage showing its location) and fac ing a two-year decline in attendance due to me poor local economy and the rourism decline. The Hornet Museum obtained a loan ro maintain basic operations through the most difficult period bur cominues ro seek additional ben efacror or grant support to assist it until the economy rebounds and/or the Alameda redevelopment issue is overcome. .t

n 1998, the Aircraft Carrier Hornet Foundation (ACHF), a private non-profit organization, acquired rhe world-famous and highl y-deco rated USS Hornet (CVS- 12) from rhe US Navy and co nverted her in to a museum. She has been moored ar Pier 3 at the former Alameda Naval Air Station on San Francisco Bay sin ce October of rhat year. 111is 41,000-ton Essex-class carrier made significant contributions to the Un ited States throughout her history. During World War II, she earned nine barde stars and a Presidential Unit C itation for sustai ned combat operations. She spent fifteen continuous months in the thick of the island invasion campaign and was attacked fifty-nine times bur never seriously damaged. H er air gro ups destroyed 1,410 enemy aircraft and sank over 1.2 million tons of enemy ship ping. Her on ly significant damage was sustained near the end of rhe war when a typ hoon ripped up the fo1ward 24 feet of her Aighr deck. Hornet was convened to an anti-sub marine warfare (ASW) ship in 1958 and did three tours of duty on Yankee Station during me Viemam conAict. Hornet ga ined world fame in 1969 when, on July 24rh, she recovered Apollo 11 , m e first missio n to land humans on the surface of me moon. Over 500 million people worldwide watched live as she Aawlessly gathered up rhe crew, capsule, and soil samples, while President Nixon stood on rhe bridge intently fo llowing rhe operation. USS Hornet was decommissioned Ralph Johnson is the CEO of the USS Hornet Museum. For more in 1970 and lay dor- information, contact: USS Horner Museum, PO Box 460, Alameda, CA 94501; Ph. 510 521-8448 ext. 239; e-mail: ralph. Apollo 11 spacecraft Command Module; web site: hoisted aboard USS Hornet

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