USS Hornet (CV-8) - World War II

World War II

She was launched on 14 December 1940 by Newport News Shipbuilding of Newport News, Virginia(sponsored by Annie Reid Knox, wife of Secretary of the Navy Frank M. Knox), and commissioned at Norfolk on 20 October 1941, with Captain Marc A. Mitscher in command.

During the uneasy period before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hornet trained out of Naval Station Norfolk. Her armament was upgraded in her January 1942 yard period, removing all .50 in (13 mm) machine guns and replacing them with thirty 20 mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft cannons. A hint of a future mission occurred on 2 February 1942, when Hornet departed Norfolk with two Army Air Forces B-25 Mitchell medium bombers on deck. Once at sea, the planes were launched to the surprise and amazement of Hornet's crew. Her men were unaware of the meaning of this experiment, as Hornet returned to Norfolk, prepared to leave for combat, and on 4 March sailed for the West Coast via the Panama Canal.

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