Yesterday I took a guided tour of the USS Hornet. My friend and neighbor, Chuck Myers, was my very excellent tour guide. The USS Hornet aircraft carrier is one of the most decorated ships of the US Navy. Here are some fun facts.
The USS Hornet fought in World War II and the Viet Nam war. Though it was attached 59 times, it was never hit by an exploding bomb, torpedo, or aircraft.
The USS Hornet was used to recover the space capsule when Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins returned from their Apollo 11 mission to be the first men to land on the moon. It was used again to recover Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad, Alan Bean, and Richard Gordon after their voyage to the moon.
The USS Hornet's first voyage was in 1943. It was decommissioned from active service in 1970. In 1991 the USS Hornet was designated as a historic landmark. It is now part of the Aircraft Carrier Hornet Foundation as a public museum. For more information, visit www.uss-hornet.org.
Some things I saw:
Based on the levers moved on the bridge, crew in the engine room would open/close two steam chambers (one forward, one reverse) to control the speed. This is where a request for a speed change was actually implemented.
There is a great view of San Francisco from the flight deck of the carrier. If you were to lay the USS Hornet on its nose on Montgomery Street, it would be taller than San Francisco's famous Trans-America building.
It is amazing that such a sophisticated piece of machinery could be built without the use of computer-aided design. The plans were all done by hand on drafting tables. The calculations were done using slide rules. Even more amazing is that the ship was built in 13 months, tested for 3 months, and then put into service. What was the most complicated project that you have worked on? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Awe of the past is alive in the lab.