New personal photo gallery from USS Hornet CVA-12’s 1955 West Pacific Cruise

This new gallery is from a personal photo collection of 35mm color slides donated to the USS Hornet Museum and  includes 36 pictures from CVA-12’s West Pacific Cruise in 1955. Unfortunately, along with the donor’s name, we do not know currently know much about these photos and where they might have been taken.

You can find the photo collection by following this link:

or by going to the Photo Gallery section and selecting the “1955 West Pacific Cruise Personal Photos” gallery.

Of particular note, are the pictures showing USS Hornet in drydock. We believe this might be in Japan and the reason might be a lost/broken screw. Again, we are not sure on details.

There are also 2 photos showing a huge wave crash through the bow of the ship and a lot of deck and flight crew running away. We also do not know when this happened and whether there was any significant damage.

Deployed on board the Hornet for this cruise was CVG-7, commanded by Lt. Commander H. H. Henderson, with the following squadrons:

  • VF-71 flying McDonnell F2H-3 Banshee (tail code letters L 1xx)
  • VF-72 flying Grumman F9F-5 Panther (tail code letters L 2xx)
  • VF-73 flying Grumman F9F-6 Cougar (tail code letters L 3xx)
  • VA-75 flying Douglas AD-6 Skyraider (tail code letters L 5xx)
  • VC-6 flying North American AJ-2 Savage (tail code letters NF xx Det A)
  • VC-12 flying Douglas AD-5W Skyraider (tail code letters NE 70x Det 32)
  • VC-33 flying Douglas AD-5N Skyraider (tail code letters SS 81x Det 32)
  • VC-62 flying Grumman F9F-6P Cougar (tail code letters PL 96x Det 32)
  • HU-1 flying Piasecki HUP-2 Retriever (tail code letters UP 22 Det 17)

We will continue to look for more information about this photo collection, but please let us know if you have any details you want to share via email ( or by leaving a comment here.

CVS-12’s first cruise in the Western Pacific Ocean

This week’s photo gallery is from USS Hornet’s first operational cruise in 1959, after it has been converted to an anti-submarine warfare support carrier during her refit in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard that started in August 1958.

The cruise took place between April 4 and October 10, 1959 and covered the Western Pacific.

You can find the gallery by following this link:

or by going to the Photo Gallery section, selecting CVS-12 and then the “1959 West Pacific Cruise” gallery.

Deployed on this first anti-submarine warfare cruise was anti-submarine Air Group, CVSG-12, commanded by Commander F. Emig.

The Air Group consisted of

  • VS-38 with Grumman S2F-1 or S2F-2 Tracker aircraft (better known as Stoof) – tail code “ST”
  • HS-8 with Sikorsky HSS-1 Seabat helicopters (Navy’s version of H-34) – tail code “VB”
  • Detachment P from VAW-11 flying F2H-4 Banshees – tail code “RR”

This collection was again kindly provided by William L. Ballenger.

New photo gallery from the 1958 Western Pacific Cruise

We now have a new collection of photos from CVA-12’s 1958 Western  Pacific cruise that took place between 6 January and 2 July 1958. This cruise was the last one where USS Hornet was classified as a CVA (attack carrier). After this, the ship was converted to an “anti-submarine warfare support carrier” and classified as CVS-12.

You can find the photo collection by following this link:

or by going to the Photo Gallery section and selecting the “1958 West Pacific Cruise” gallery.

Deployed on this cruise was air group ATG-4, commanded by Commander R. L. Johns, with the following squadrons:

  • VF-94 flying North American FJ-3M Fury (tail code letters ND 1xx)
  • VF-152 flying McDonnell F2H-3 Banshee (tail code letters ND 2xx)
  • VA-214 flying North American FJ-4B Fury (tail code letters ND 3xx)
  • VA-216 flying Douglas AD-7 Skyraider (tail code letters ND 4xx)
  • VAH-6 flying North American AJ-2 Savage (tail code letters ZC/ZH xx Det K)
  • VAW-11 flying Douglas AD-5W Skyraider (tail code letters RR 72x Det K)
  • VAAW-35 flying Douglas AD-5N Skyraider (tail code letters VV 83x Det K)
  • VFP-61 flying Grumman F9F-8P Cougar (tail code letters PP 96x Det K)
  • HU-1 flying Piasecki HUP-2 Retriever (tail code letters UP 3x Det 1 Unit K)

This collection was again kindly provided by William L. Ballenger.

Hornet Tales: New section added!

We just added a new section, “Hornet Tales”,  to the website. We’ll be publishing stories from former crew members about their life on board the Hornets, CV-8 to CVS-12.

You can find the new section by following the “Hornet Tales” link on the main page or by clicking on this link

The first story is from a CV-8 crew member, who was an eyewitness to all the operations CV-8 participated in during the war, including the Doolittle Raid and Midway.

Patrol Wing 4 in the Aleutian Islands (part 2)

Hello guys,

We are now bringing you the second and last set of photos from Patrol Wing 4’s service in the infamous Aleutian Islands during World War 2.

You can find the photos through our Photo Gallery or by following this direct link:

You can read more about the background on the photos in the first part.

These photos mostly cover the Catalina squadrons that were a part of Patrol Wing 4 during World War 2 in the Aleutians, along with the ground crew.

One interesting group of photos show Joe E. Brown, a famous American actor at the time, and his visit to the base. Joe Brown was one of the first entertainers to arrange visits to troops on the front lines during World War II, even before USO was officially formed. You can read more about him here.

As always, please let us know, in the comments section, if you have any more information about these photos or units.

Patrol Wing 4 in the Aleutian Islands (part 1)

Hello guys,

In this latest addition to our photo gallery, we are making a break from the USS Hornet-related photo collections and bringing you the photos from Patrol Wing 4’s service in the infamous Aleutian Islands during World War 2.

You can find the photos through our Photo Gallery or by following this direct link:

We received these photos as a donation, literally inside a box. Unfortunately, we do not know too much about where the photos originally came from or who took most of them. But looking at the contents and some of the correspondence, we believe these came from the collection of Jack O.L. Haugen, Patrol Wing 4 Veterans’ Association’s one-time secretary. The photos and documents seem to be have been used for the association’s newsletters.

We scanned the backs of the photos as well and are publishing them here, as they have the names, places and stories behind most of the photos. You will see the photo and its back one after the other in the gallery.

This week, we are only going to publish the Ventura and Harpoon photos, followed by the Catalinas next week. There are a couple extras in this week’s gallery that we will talk about later. The photos seem to come from multiple sources and cover a long period in Patrol Wing 4’s service in the Aleutians. We have official Navy photos of aircraft and locations, period post cards showing Venturas and a lot of personal photos showing combat crews and the island itself.

As for topics, the majority of the photos show the crews and aircraft of the Ventura and Harpoon squadrons. One interesting item to see are the Disney cartoons on some of the aircraft. As far as we know, these were actually painted by Disney artists, as Disney Studios were close to Lockheed’s Burbank facilities, as the Venturas came off the assembly lines. Some units also seem to have received this artwork later as printed decals.

Also please notice the P-38 making a left turn in the distance below:

We also have some extremely interesting photos taken right after the islands were captured back from the Japanese, showing a lot of Japanese equipment and living quarters.

We also have a set of amazing pictures showing the Japanese attack on the airfield on June 4, 1942. Some of them were most likely taken by aircraft-type reconnaissance cameras used by crew members from the trenches and as a result, show the camera markers on 4 sides. You can see Zeros strafing and a close-up of 4 Vals(?) flying above the airfield.

As a bonus, you can also see pictures of Kingfishers on wheels and a PB4Y-1 (probably with a radar on the nose – all information welcome on this plane) that made a visit to the base.

As always, please let us know, in the comments section, if you have any more information about these photos or units.

Scraps of VT-2: The story of Torpedo 2’s deployment on CV-12 in 1944

This week’s photo gallery is the cruise book from VT-2’s deployment on board USS Hornet.  The cruise book starts with VT-2’s reforming in Quonset Point, RI with the squadron’s commissioning on June 1st, 1943, their long coast-to-coast journey from Quonset Point to Santa Rosa, CA and then their stay and extended training in Hawaii and finally their deployment on USS Hornet that started on March 12 1944.

The cruise book has photos of all the combat crews, as well as most of the support personnel of the squadron. Another interesting feature is the hand drawings of the pilots and officers of VT-2 by Lt. Clarence “Soup” George Campbell, Jr.  who was the resident artist on the ship. He unfortunately died during a torpedo attack against a Japanese destroyer on  4 August 1944 and was awarded a posthumous Navy Cross. We will have a dedicated photo gallery for him on our website in the upcoming weeks and the USS Hornet Museum is working on a display in the museum to honor his service.

You can also see various photos of one of our great contributors and VT-2 veteran, Dr. Kenneth M. Glass, in this cruise book. He was also roomates with Lt. Campbell and has been a great resource for the display the museum is working on. His work on the history of Air Group 2 was the subject of our earlier gallery.

The final section is the story of all the major strikes the VT-2 pilots took part in, like the Palau Islands, Wakde, Sawar, Sarmi, the dreaded Truk, Ponape, the 4 trips to Bonin Islands, Guam, the landings at Saipan,  and finally the big landings in the Philippines.

The Air Group 2’s and VT-2’s operational deployment on CV-12 ended on October 1st, 1944.

You can find the new photo gallery directly here  or by following the link on our Photo Gallery page.




Photos of CVG-2 on board CV-12 during 1944

As promised in our latest gallery entry, we are now presenting 25 new photos from Carrier Air Group 2’s service on board the USS Hornet (CV-12) during 1944.

In this collection, you will see the TBM-1c Avengers of VT-2, with 2 photos of the famous #95, Helldivers of VB-2 and Hellcats of VF-2 and VF(N)-76.

The photos and caption information were again kindly provided by Hornet veteran William L. Ballenger from his collection of USS Hornet photos in various national archives.

You can find this collection on our Photo Gallery page or directly from this link. The history of this group was covered in our previous blog post here.