|NOTE: Anyone planning to
visit the USS Hornet Museum should know that the tours involve climbing up and
down many very steep stairs actually called ladders by the Navy; an appropriate
Two friends (Jim and Nilo) from our RV club and I (Maury) went to the USS
Hornet Museum in the middle of a week with the idea we would avoid weekend crowds.
The museum is located in Alameda, California moored at one of the piers at the
old Alameda Naval Air Station now called Alameda Point.
One member of our small group is a veteran of the US Army (Jim) while the
other two (Nilo and Maury) are US Navy veterans. This made the visit a trip down
memory lane for two in our group. Our trio arrived shortly after the museum opened
and walked off the aircraft carrier almost five hours later it really didn't
seem like we were there that long.
When we arrived at the USS Hornet Museum we found parking places out in front
of the ship. The Hornet was an impressive sight as we approached the entrance.
The pier where the Hornet is moored is the same pier but on the other side
where my ship tied-up when it was in port. The Alameda Naval Air Station
was the home port for my ship, USS Aludra AF-55. As a result, visiting the Hornet
put me in a very familiar area.
|NOTE: For those planning
to visit the USS Hornet, keep in mind that the ship is under continuous renovation
by volunteers. As a result some areas are off-limits until restoration can take
place. This makes it possible to see newly opened areas of the ship on return
The U.S.S. Hornet CVS-12 is the ship that recovered the
Apollo 11 astronauts the first men to set foot on the moon and Apollo
12 astronauts along with the respective command modules during America's moon
program. Once on board the Hornet the astronauts were required to enter what was
called a Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF). The MQF was used to isolate astronauts
returning from the moon to ensure that any unknown pathogens that might have been
picked up on the moon would not get out into the earth's environment.
The MQF was a specially constructed Airstream travel trailer. Taking a trip
to the moon, walking on the moon and the return to earth that ends up in a travel-trailer,
sounds very much like a really great camping trip with out of this world scenery.
The original MQF is now located on board the USS Hornet, on the hanger deck,
to display just one of the many chapters in the story of this battle-tested, man-of-war
naval vessel. There also is an Apollo command module that is there to show an
example of what was retrieved by one of the Hornet's helicopters. The command
module on display flew in space as an unmanned test vehicle and
orbited the earth several times before being retrieved from the sea by crew members
of the USS Hornet. This would set the stage for the recovery of future manned
flights of Apollo command modules carrying astronauts who had walked on the moon.
To fill out the collection of moon stuff, there is the
type of helicopter a Sea King that was used to retrieve astronauts
and CMs. That helicopter number 66 has probably been seen by more
people around the world than any other such aircraft. The original Sea King number
66 that plucked the astronauts out of the sea was lost in a crash
at sea in 1975. The Sea King on display in the USS Hornet Museum is a helicopter
that was restored and given a paint job to match the original "66" Sea
King. This helicopter was used in the movie "Apollo 13".
The tours of the hornet are conducted by volunteer docents who've served in
the US Navy aboard aircraft carriers which was the case with our guide for the
first and third tour; his name is Carl. The second docent, Bill, who led us on
a topside tour, had been a pilot who flew Grumman S-2 Tracker planes like the
one on display on the hanger deck.