Milpitas Camera Club Field Trip
Field Trip: USS Hornet Museum
Trip Date: October 10, 2009
Report Author: Scott Hinrichs
Report Date: October 21, 2009

Three persons came to the Saturday, October 10, 2009 field trip to the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda.

This huge ship (CV-12, its naval designation) served during World War II in the Pacific Theater of the war and through the Korean and Vietnam conflicts. This ship was also the vessel that picked up the Apollo 11 and 12 moon astronauts upon their splashdowns in the Pacific.

The ship's previous namesake was an earlier aircraft carrier (the CV-8) which was heavily damaged in World War II and sunk in the Battle of Santa Cruz in the South Pacific. In 1943, the newly-built CV-12 sailed out to continue its predecessor's mission and contributed much to the defeat of the Japanese. The CV-12 is considered an Essex-class aircraft carrier, built in Newport News, Virginia in only 15 months. It was designated a state historical landmark in 1991 and permanently berthed at the former Naval Air Station at Alameda.

The ship is a very good example of a "living history" exhibit and also serves as a sort of pilgrimage destination for veterans. You see many former Navy men as well as others who served in other branches of the service coming to the big ship to remenisce, give tribute to fallen comrades and join with fellow veterans to chat, remember good times and heal old wounds.

I've never whined about the $14 admission fee to come aboard this 40,000-ton floating museum of North American naval supremacy. It is so large that it take several visits to this historical site before it becomes commonplace. In addition to its interesting exhibits and massive scale, the Hornet offers many activities open to veterans and the general public as well. They hold many dances on the hangar and flight decks. You can go to the website and check out the calendar:

The last time I toured the ship, I took the flight deck and bridge tour, so this time I suggested that we tour the Second Deck, which includes sick bay, the officers staterooms and wardrooms, the crews berths, the laundry, torpedo shop and storage bay, mess halls, etc. As we made our way through this steel maze of small compartments and large rooms we got a feel for the cramped and crowded conditions the crewmen had to cope with. We also noted that the designers of the ship made sure they wasted very little space. Every square inch had a purpose-oftentimes several uses. Of course our little group got permanently separated in the labyrinthine Second Deck and we departed separately.

This is a great place to bring out-of-town guests and those relatives who drop in and wish to be amused. It is a great attraction for kids, too (but you have to watch the little devils very carefully because they could easily get lost).

Our foodie meet-up was to be at Ole's Waffle Shop on Park Street in Alameda and on our way to breakfast we became aware that the Park Steet's 16th annual Alameda Classic Car Show was also going on this weekend.

After a very tasty breakfast of waffles we walked out the door and strolled along the street enjoying a visual feast of more than 400 show cars stretching along four or five blocks of the street.

Vintage moving van, hot rods, classics and antiques, including a rare 1925 Franklin, 1915 Ford Model T, 1972 Pinto, Edsel, VW Van , Datsun and, my favorite, the "Faster Farms" stock car, complete with the stuffed chickens from the TV commercials and a horn that clucked like Super Chicken.

This day turned out to be a extremely image-rich field trip with the added bonus of the car show.

After taking the Hornet tour we returned to Park Street and had a late lunch at the Pampered Pup Gormet Hot Dog restaurant. Perhaps it was all the walking or just the satisfaction of filling my memory card with images, but those hot dogs were some of the best I've eaten in a long time!

This sunny autumn day turned out to be a wonderful day. We wish all of you could have joined us!

© 2009 S.R. Hinrichs