Charleston, SC – Two years ago, I visited the USS Yorktown (CV-10) at Patriot’s Point and posted some photos from my visit. This year I made another visit while making another attempt to see Fort Sumter. Instead of posting photos that are repeats of the 2014 post, this year I’ll try to post some different ones.
While touring the Yorktown on this trip, it struck me while I was in VF-1’s Ready Room that I was standing in a ship that was present at and played a key role in the Marianas Turkey Shoot, a battle that helped break the back of the Imperial Japanese Navy. It gave me pause and the historical significance of this ship really sunk in. Even though the flight deck isn’t in the same configuration that it was during World War II, you look down onto it from the island and you think of all of the history that the Yorktown not only saw, but was an active participant in. You can’t help but think about the men who lived and fought aboard her, especially those that died aboard and flying off of her.
This next series of photos focuses on radar, communications, and computer technology aboard the Yorktown. The Master Indicator Control Room below fed radar signals out to the various radar displays throughout the ship, including the Air Traffic Control Center and the Combat Information Center (CIC). Radio 3 shows how a radio room aboard the Yorktown was set up; based on the calendar on the wall, it’s in a configuration circa 1965. Finally, there’s a photo of a computer room aboard the ship, equipped with vintage keypunch machines and a card sorting machine.
The next two photos have to do with USS Yorktown operations. The first photo below is of two documents on display near the bridge. The one on the left lists the procedures that were used for the burial at sea on 24 November 1943 of men killed in an aircraft crash off of the Gilbert Islands. On the left is the Plan of the Day for 3 December 1943 and the attack on Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. The second photo is of a model of the Imperial Japanese Navy battleship Yamato; aircraft from the Yorktown took part in the attack that sank the massive battleship. Behind the model is an Imperial Japanese Navy Vice Admiral’s flag, the entire flag measures roughly 12 x 8 feet.
An exhibit on the Yorktown‘s hangar deck honors the USS Franklin (CV-13). The Franklin was the most heavily damaged aircraft carrier to survive World War II. On 19 March 1945, she was struck by two bombs from a Japanese aircraft. Armed and fueled aircraft in the hangar deck caught fire and the fire spread through the second and third decks, spreading destruction throughout. A total of 807 of her crew members were killed and 487 were wounded. The ship’s bell on display in the Yorktown‘s hangar deck bears testament to the intensity of the fire on board the Franklin, it caused a large crack that runs up the bell’s back.
Throughout the Yorktown, you come across exhibits on other ships. One of them is the USS Bogue (CVE-9), an escort carrier that was the center of the most successful submarine hunter-killer group in World War II. The Bogue’s task group sank 11 German U-boats and 2 Japanese submarines. One of the Japansee subs was the RO-501, a former German U-boat returning to Germany from Japan and the other was the I-52, which was transporting raw materials and gold from Japan to Germany. The I-52 was the largest submarine sunk during World War II. The Bogue’s ship’s bell is on display on board the Yorktown. In the battleship exhibit, there is a model of the USS Arizona (BB-39) which was sunk in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, next to the model is a piece of watertight bulkhead recovered from the Arizona after she was sunk. Also in the battleship exhibit is the last flag flown over the battleship USS South Carolina (BB-29), which saw service in World War I, before she was decommissioned. On the hangar deck, there is a model of and the ship’s bell from the USS Charleston (C-22), a cruiser named after Charleston, SC that was commissioned in 1905 and saw service in World War I.