Military history is a passion of mine and when I had the opportunity to walk through actual history, I jumped at the chance. The piece of history that I am referring to is the the USS Yorktown Essex class Aircraft carrier. Known as the Fighting Lady, this carrier was first commissioned in 1937 and was named after the battle of Yorktown. Initially a target of the Imperial Japanese Navy at Pearl Harbor, much to the surprise of the Japanese, Yorktown was at port in Norfolk during the attack on Pearl Harbor, having just completed a patrol of the Atlantic Ocean and eluded the attack at Pearl Harbor.
Yorktown played an important part in the Battle of Midway in early June. Yorktown‘s aircraft played crucial roles in sinking two Japanese fleet carriers. Yorktown also absorbed both Japanese aerial counterattacks at Midway which otherwise would have been directed at the carriers USS Enterprise and Hornet. On 4 June, during the Battle of Midway, Japanese aircraft crippled Yorktown.
Spanning about the length of 5 football fields, the Yorktown is now a museum educating visitors on the role she played in WWII securing our freedoms against the Empire of Japan. When you first see her, she is daunting with her size and length.
Walking on the flight deck you can almost feel the ghosts of people who served aboard this ship and valiantly fought kamikaze attacks and dive bombers and finally succumbed to a Japanese submarines torpedoes causing the Yorktown to capsize and sink on June 7th, 1942. To honor her memory , the CV-10 the second vessel of the Essex-class of aircraft carriers, was renamed from USS Bonhomme Richard to Yorktown in honor of her loss at Midway, and was preserved after decommissioning in 1970 to become a museum ship in 1975.
If you are looking to walk through actual history, I highly recommend taking the tour of the USS Yorktown Museum to learn about this remarkable ship, its crew and the challenges they faced during this remarkable time in history.
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