Monday, November 30, 2009

The USS Yorktown, Patriots Point, Charleston SC

I had an opportunity today to photograph some of the normally "off-limits" areas on the USS Yorktown.
This is a huge vessel, and some areas still contain (consumable type) items used while it was in service during World War 2. Our engineers have been working on a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) project which involves documenting, analyzing, and managing inventory data. This is necessary for many reasons. Anyway, without getting too technical and rambling about things that I know very little about, it was a fascinating look behind the scenes.
A little history ... The USS Yorktown (CV-10) was the tenth aircraft carrier to serve in the United States Navy. Under construction as Bon Homme Richard, this new Essex-class carrier was renames Yorktown in honor of Yorktown (CV-5), sunk at the epic Battle of Midway (June 1942). Built in an amazing 16 ½ months at Newport News, Virginia, Yorktown was commissioned on April 15, 1943. Yorktown participated significantly in the Pacific Offensive that began in late 1943 and ended with the defeat of Japan in 1945. Yorktown received the Presidential Unit Citation and earned 11 battle stars for service in World War II. Much of the Academy Award-winning (1944) documentary "The Fighting Lady" was filmed aboard Yorktown.

1 comment:

  1. After WWII the Yorktown was used in support roles (air cover, supply and transport of occupation forces) throughout the Pacific. By 1948 most of these duties were no longer necessary and the Yorktown, along with many other US warships were mothballed. In 1952, as a result of the Korean conflict, the Yorktown was ordered back into service and by 1953 her refit was complete and she was recommissioned as CVA-10, (the designation for an attack carrier.) She arrived on station off the coast of Korea two months after the armistice was signed.
    In 1955, an angled deck was added during the course of yet another refit. In 1957 she was re-designated CVS-10 (to denote her new role as an anti submarine warfare ship.) In 1961 she underwent a major overhaul (primarily for maintenance as opposed to major changes in configuration,) and another one in 1967. She was deployed numerous times to Yankee Station, off the coast of North Vietnam, to provide search and rescue as well as anti-submarine protection to carrier task groups conducting air strikes against targets in North Vietnam. She also provided ASW (anti-sub warfare) and SAR (search and rescue) support to the contingency force assembled off the coast of North Korea during the Pueblo crisis in 1968. Later that year she put in for three months of repair work. After serving as a recovery ship for the Apollo 8 spaceflight, and as an actor in the movie Torra Torra Torra, she was decommissioned for the last time in 1970. After five more years in mothballs she was turned over to the Patriot's Point Development Authority and made a museum ship at Patriot's Point in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina.
    While much of the ship's hull and engineering spaces remain unchanged from her early service in WWII, major changes were made to her superstructure, flight deck, hangar deck as well as catapult and arresting gear during the course of her service life. It is doubtful that any "consumables" would have remained aboard the ship during the course of all that activity or throughout that many overhauls. Anything of WWII vintage on that ship today is likely a result of museum pieces being added post decommissioning to augment its value as a museum ship.