USS Yorktown – Charleston, South Carolina


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The USS Yorktown, docked at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant, was the tenth aircraft carrier to serve in the United States Navy.

uss-yorktown

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The ship was commissioned on April 15, 1943 and was a key player in the Pacific Offensive that defeated Japan in 1945. The Yorktown received the Presidential Unit Citation and earned 11 battle stars for her service in World War II.

Yorktown Aerial

Larry Gleason, Aiken Aerial Photography, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

After World War II, the Yorktown was decommissioned and underwent an extensive modernization. Her new angled deck made it easier to operate jet aircraft, and she was recommissioned in the early 1950s as an anti-submarine attack carrier.

Patriots Point Aerial

Larry Gleason, Aiken Aerial Photography, 2015 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

She served again in the Pacific during the Vietnam War, earning five battle stars. One of her final missions was the recovery of the Apollo 8 crew in 1968 after its mission to the moon. The Yorktown was permanently decommissioned in 1970.

Yorktown at Patriots Point

E. Karl Braun of North Charleston, 2011 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The ship is famous for more than just her war time missions. The Academy Award-winning movie The Fighting Lady was filmed aboard the Yorktown, as was the movie Tora! Tora! Tora!, which recreated the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Don Baham of Dublin, California © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Today, the Yorktown is one of the Charleston area’s most popular attractions. Special events are offered throughout the year, and groups may even reserve a night to camp aboard the carrier for a truly one-of-a-kind experience.

Patriots Point

David C. Berry of Beaufort, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

Below she is seen next to the destroyer LAFFEY (DD-724), also known as “The Ship That Would Not Die.” While in service in Okinawa, LAFFEY not only survived attacks from 22 Japanese bombers and kamikaze aircraft on April 16, 1945, but she also shot down 11 of the attacking aircraft. She is the only surviving Sumner-class destroyer in North America.

Yorktown Patriots Point Charleston

Paul Contreras of Charleston, 2014 © Do Not Use Without Written Consent

The Yorktown is listed in the National Register, which describes it as follows:

The USS Yorktown (CV-10), the second of the Essex-class aircraft carriers to be built by the United States Navy, was constructed between 1941 and 1943 to Bureau of Ships specifications by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia.

The Yorktown was decommissioned in 1970, and in 1975 was moored in the Charleston Harbor, where it is part of the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. The ship served with distinction in the Second World War as a primary element in the United States’ military campaign against Japan in the Pacific Theater of Operations. The Yorktown is important, not only as a surviving World War II aircraft carrier, but as one of the most important of these ships.

The ship was named for an earlier aircraft carrier Yorktown (CV-5), which was sunk at the Battle of Midway in 1942. The new Yorktown initiated many technical improvements for the other two dozen Essex carriers, becoming a model for new carrier design. The Yorktown underwent numerous modifications and alterations during its years of military service in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, but it is still expressive of the technology, design, and distinguishing characteristics of the World War II-era aircraft carrier.

LAFFEY is also listed in the National Register:

The destroyer USS Laffey (Allen M. Sumner-class destroyer) was built to Bureau of Ships specifications at the Bath Iron Works, Maine, in 1943-1944. The ship served with the United States Navy in the Atlantic and Pacific fleets in World War II and saw later service in the Korean War. The Laffey is the only surviving Sumner-class destroyer. The ship performed convoy escort duty in the Atlantic during May 1944 and afterward assisted with the screening of the Normandy invasion forces and bombardment of Utah beach and the German-held port of Cherbourg. The Laffey moved to the Pacific to join the Fast Carrier Task Force in November 1944. The Laffey supported the amphibious landings at Ormoc Bay and Mindoro and the invasion forces at Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines. During the World War II invasion of Okinawa Island in April 1945, the Laffey was attacked by Japanese kamikazes and suffered five kamikaze hits, three bomb hits and two near misses. The crew, despite heavy casualties and extensive damage, repulsed the attackers and saved the ship. In comparison, the Laffey outperformed any other destroyer or carrier in this most important campaign and for her efforts received a Presidential Unit Citation.



USS Yorktown Info


Address: 40 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
GPS Coordinates: 32.791217,-79.907135
Website: http://www.patriotspoint.org/

USS Yorktown Map



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26 Comments about USS Yorktown

Robert W. Fields says:
June 20th, 2016 at 10:49 pm

I served aboard the USS Yorktown cva 10 from 1955-1957 Proud to have served aboard this great ship and it made a man out of an 18 year old kid. Thank You.

LARRY T ELLIOTTNo Gravatar says:
February 23rd, 2016 at 10:11 pm

Served aboard 1963 to early 1966. Was in 1st Div. Was a helmsman at sea. Went aboard at 17-years-old. I was from Quapaw, Oklahoma. I feel like I grew up on that ship. Lots of hard work. I still have her picture in my living room above my TV. What a trip. I am 71 now. Would like to see her again. I live in north Idaho now.

Raymond Albert Hoffman Sr says:
February 19th, 2016 at 2:45 am

I served aboard the Yorktown (Fighting Lady) from March 1953 until I got off for discharge in June 1956. (During Korean War.) I was in the 4th Div. Gunnery Office. I & my family visited the ship in Charleston during the summer of 2001. I would love to visit it again, but I am turning 82 in May and it is hard for me to travel anymore.I also belong to the Yorktown Association. I loved every day I served aboard my ship and have so many wonderful memories of that time.

Willie LagardeNo Gravatar says:
November 29th, 2015 at 3:16 pm

Living Conditions aboard USS Yorktown ’43-’46
Living conditions described in this story are no doubt familiar to all Yorktown crews but visitors with no military experience may be curious about some aspects of life at sea for the ordinary Gunnery dept sailor during WW2.
For those people and for crewmen who may have forgotten read on.
When we operated in the central Pacific there was no such thing as good nights sleep. To begin with it was only on every third night that we had the “night in” where we were off watch from 8 PM until 4 AM.
There were forty or more bunks in many sleeping compartments and only a few of them could feel the air from the oscillating fans. These bunks were claimed by the senior petty officers and no one argued about it.
If you got in your bunk and actually fell asleep you would soon awaken soaked with sweat. Many of us tried covering with a towel we had wet down with cold water but it would quickly assume room temperature and once again you were sweating. Your bedding became damp with sweat and the fire proof mattress cover kept it from drying out completely during the day.
We did have opportunities to air bedding occasionally but we learned if you attempted to sleep in your bunk the only way to keep it from becoming smelly was to leave the cover on.
As for myself, once the cold wet towel method failed I looked for other places to sleep about 70 to 80% of the time we were at sea.
Temperature on the flight deck at night was always bearable, even pleasant most of the time, but it rained almost every night, usually it seemed, just about the time you fell asleep. Sleeping under an airplane didn’t work, the rain drops would find you.
Covered weather decks like the foc’sle and fantail were popular sleeping spots but they were crowded.
Wherever you decided to sleep it had to be some place where you could be found in the dark when it was wake up time for your watch.
None of the gunnery department people I served with ever got enough sleep. Anytime of day or night if you were able to lay down in a cool spot there was no tossing or turning, you fell asleep almost immediately. “I gotta get some sleep” was the most uttered phrase in the gunnery department.
Places that I found that were good for sleeping were the top of the gun deck ammunition ready boxes, and in the wire mesh bins under the port side flight deck overhang. These bins were used to store empty 5″ powder cases and when they were full, or nearly full, if you didn’t tie a safety line around your waist you were in danger of rolling over the side of the bin into the sea below.
It was always cool and breezy but I was never completely comfortable knowing a long fifty foot drop to the sea and probable death awaited me if I made a mistake and fell in. It is doubtful the sleeping men on the fantail would have heard me yelling as the ship left me alone in the sea at night.
The men standing watch in Mt #7 twin 5″ handling room which was on the gallery deck level near the ready rooms, would lie down in the passage way next to the ready room doors. There was enough air conditioned cool air seeping through the bottom of the door to keep at least one man from sweating. So the pilots had to step over him, too bad if they were annoyed.
The longest hour at night was on the 12-4 AM watch when it was your turn with the phones. When control would start calling mounts for a phone check every hour or so invariably someone was sleeping and men on other mounts would holler or try to get over and wake him up before the third or fourth call.
Even though I managed to sleep through the GQ gong one morning, (I was already on my battle station) reaction of the men to the GQ gong was almost like a reflex reaction or instantaneous as if they had been hit with a jolt of electricity.
One moonlit night while standing the 12-4 watch on Mt # 5 40 MM, I had the phones on when we were alerted that bogies were about ninety miles out and closing. Whether or not they knew of our whereabouts or intended to attack we expected GQ to sound shortly.
Since I was already on my battle station, for the first time I was able to observe the men on the flight deck react to the gong. The initial sound of the gong and men moving was almost simultaneous. It was reported on one of these nights a man jumped up, ran over the side and was never seen again
Fresh water priority was drinking, boilers, cooking and bathing last. When we were “battle cruising” in Indian country (combat zone) often at high rates of speed there were sometimes water shortages. Shower opportunities were limited and when allowed the rule was 15 seconds to wet down, turn off water to soap down and then 15 seconds to rinse. No one was timing with a stop watch but if anyone was wasting water the other men let him know about it.
Body odor was a fact of life and almost everybody had a can of talcum powder in his locker. Men who used it frequently to hide the body odor were called “puff dusters.”
There were five cold salt water showers down on the fourth deck along with salt water soap that would lather in salt water. These were available for use as often as anybody wanted them. They got the dirt off but left a film of salty residue on your skin that was irritating to heat rash and other ailments.
Some of us began beating the system by taking a salt water shower then filling a gallon can from the scuttlebutt (drinking fountain) to wash off the salt. When this was discovered we were threatened to have the drinking water cut off. They actually did this for a short period and put a stop to our little scheme. In retrospect, the gallon of water wasn’t critical to water management and shutting off drinking water was only to encourage adherence to the spirit of the regulation.
In spite of the water restrictions, which we understood, we were told to keep our bodies as clean as possible to lessen the possibility of infection if we were wounded.
Almost everyone had heat rash and some had other conditions like impetigo and acne. One of my gun crew mates had acne so bad when we came into the states in 1944 he didn’t go home.
Heat was a part of our lives during the Pacific war and we endured it because there was no other way. Also, we were aware whatever hardships we faced, our brothers and friends running up those beach heads had it worse.
This working party may not have been typical but was not unusual.
We were loading 50 cal ammunition. We used a lot of it because each of our F6F fighters had six fifty caliber machine guns while the TBM’s had two in the wings and one in the turret.
Three of us were down in the magazine stacking the wooden boxes as they came down on the bomb elevator. These boxes weighed about sixty pounds and there was only a slight indentation on either end of the box to grab them with the finger tips. When we first went down, the deck in the magazine was spotless. Temperature was probably well over a hundred. We stripped to our skivvy shorts and began stacking the boxes in the bins. Before we were finished we were slipping and sliding in what appeared to be a thin muddy slurry on the deck. We realized that every bit of the moisture came from our bodies and the particulate matter from the boxes.
I believe if they had told us to clean it up the Port Chicago mutiny may have been the second in WW2 history. Not really.
Thankfully, we didn’t have to wash our own clothes as we did in boot camp. Dirty clothes were collected in bags and sent to the laundry on the designated day for your division. There was always some enterprising individual, or individuals who for a monthly stipend would sort the laundry when it was sent back to the sleeping compartment. If you didn’t ante up you would have to scrounge for your clothes. It was well worth the buck or two.
When we were operating near the Japanese home islands especially Hokkaido, it actually got cold and we were issued jackets and foul weather gear. Kamikaze activity increased but what a pleasure it was to sleep in our bunks and covering with a blanket.

Barbara Jarnell says:
July 24th, 2015 at 4:34 am

They appear not to use angles flight decks today?

Debra Collins AppleNo Gravatar says:
April 16th, 2015 at 3:48 pm

My father, Capt. Vincent (Rip) W. Collins was Executive Officer of the USS Yorktown plus previous to becoming the EO, he had the squadron CAG 55. The years were 1961-1964 I spent a great childhood roaming (always escorted) the magnificent ship and was proud of my Dad. I still love the smell of diesel and steel! My brother has the beautiful oil painting of The Fighting Lady presented to my Dad hanging in his living room. Ahhh, the memories.

U.S. Navy Retired says:
April 12th, 2015 at 1:15 am

Even though I never served aboard her, the Yorktown was my inspiration to join the Navy 1955. My brother served aboard during the early 50's and I went to Bremerton to visit him abt. 1954 while they were adding the new angled flight deck. Got to eat a meal with the crew, explore the ship, take a shower and watch a movie from the movie booth on the hanger deck that my brother was in charge of showing. Wow, for a 15 year old small town country boy that was quite an experience. She started me off in the right direction, I never had any regrets. "Thank you Yorktown."

wilbur hill jr.No Gravatar says:
September 24th, 2014 at 9:24 am

I would like to view the crew list from 1968.

Larry KhareNo Gravatar says:
July 9th, 2014 at 3:19 am

I served aboard The Fighting Lady from 4/11/1967 to 5/1/1970. I was in V-3 Division and have a lot of great memories. Recovery of the Apollo 8 is one of them.

Stephanie NicholasNo Gravatar says:
April 3rd, 2014 at 3:07 pm

My father was aboard the USS Yorktown from 69-70. He was the youngest member aboard ship when it made it first trip to the arctic circle. We just went through his old photos of that day and I was able to see his certificate. I had a great time learning about his journey.

physics1200No Gravatar says:
March 23rd, 2014 at 8:11 pm

My son has just arrived with his NJROTC high school class. Can’t wait to here about his trip. Proud Mom

Harod BerkshireNo Gravatar says:
March 20th, 2014 at 7:35 am

I was aboard the Yorktown in 1978 and we were allowed below decks at that time. She is an amazing Girl. I was in the Air Force and would have loved to flown off her deck.

SCIWAYNo Gravatar says:
March 19th, 2014 at 10:16 am

Hi, Angela. A link to the website is provided above the map on this page. I hope that helps. Thanks for commenting!

Angela RiversNo Gravatar says:
March 19th, 2014 at 9:45 am

Hi, I would like to know more info on the USS Charleston, because I would like to bring our Cub Scout Pack 206 Zion Missionary Baptist Church to experience this wonderful time. Thank you, Angela Rivers

patty sharpNo Gravatar says:
March 7th, 2014 at 6:16 pm

My father served on the Fighting Lady during World War II; he was the first loader on the 5′ 38 #1 mount. I am enjoying talking about the ship right now.

Patrick StoneNo Gravatar says:
February 18th, 2014 at 10:21 am

Can anyone tell me if they allow you below decks into the firerooms? I was on the Shangri La as a BT and would like to revisit an Essex style carrier.

Woody Roe RM1No Gravatar says:
December 10th, 2013 at 1:52 pm

I was aboard the Lady 1967 through 1968. She was a great ship and I had many
friends there. I did go back and visit her … lots of good memories there.

Chris FryNo Gravatar says:
November 24th, 2013 at 1:06 am

I was on board The Fighting Lady in the GA Division, 03/1968 – 02/1969, “Grasshopper 102”. The USS Yorktown that sank off Midway was the CV-5 ship. The one that is now at Patriot’s Point is the CV-10, which was built after the CV-5 sank. Hope that helps.

bob dixNo Gravatar says:
October 13th, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Did this ship at any time have the number 10 in large letters on its hull opposite side of the conning tower?

Gerard ZimmerNo Gravatar says:
June 26th, 2013 at 3:28 pm

What a great place to visit. Enjoyed the afternoon exploring the ship. My wife (who hates things military) even enjoyed herself.

Danny HarrellNo Gravatar says:
April 24th, 2013 at 11:40 am

Served aboard The Fighting Lady from 1/4/67-6/2/70. Have been back to visit her many times and will go back many more. Started in 1st Div., then off to 3rd Div., when I made rate. Left as BM2.

Grasshoper102No Gravatar says:
April 23rd, 2013 at 3:41 pm

I thought the Yorktown sank at Midway.

Harold Berkshire USAF 1952-1953No Gravatar says:
February 20th, 2013 at 10:48 am

I toured the Yorktown in 1977 or ’78 – quite an experience!

tammy chandlerNo Gravatar says:
January 5th, 2013 at 2:16 pm

I love it! I have been many times! The kids love walking through also.

Chantell McCallNo Gravatar says:
March 9th, 2012 at 10:14 am

I’ve been on board before!

ChrisNo Gravatar says:
November 15th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I think that the block numbers look great!





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