Make way for Yorktown!

80 years ago today: The brand-new Essex-class fleet carrier USS Yorktown (CV 10), was launched at Newport News Shipbuilding, Virginia, on 21 January 1943.

U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives. 80-G-33869

The second vessel in the class, the warship had been laid down on 1 December 1941– six days prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor– as Bon Homme Richard but was renamed the become the fourth USS Yorktown on 26 September 1942 some three months after the loss of the third USS Yorktown at the pivotal Battle of Midway.

Sponsored by no less a person than Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, the new Yorktown was commissioned on 15 April 1943 at the Norfolk Navy Yard with Capt. Joseph J. (“Jocko”) Clark, the skipper of the escort carrier USS Suwanee (ACV-27) during the Torch landings just five months prior, in command.

At commissioning. Official U.S. Navy photo 80-G-K-15555 photographed by Lieutenant Charles Kerlee, USNR. From the U.S. Navy Naval

A VF-1 Top Hatter F6F-3 fighter is launched from USS YORKTOWN, to intercept enemy forces during Mariana's turkey shoot 19 June 1944. Note target information board under the propeller. 80-G-248440

A VF-1 Top Hatter F6F-3 fighter is launched from USS YORKTOWN, to intercept enemy forces during Mariana’s turkey shoot 19 June 1944. Note target information board under the propeller. 80-G-248440

"Murderers' Row" Third Fleet aircraft carriers at anchor in Ulithi Atoll, 8 December 1944, during a break from operations in the Philippines area. The carriers are (from front to back): USS Wasp (CV-18), USS Yorktown (CV-10), USS Hornet (CV-12), USS Hancock (CV-19) and USS Ticonderoga (CV-14). Wasp, Yorktown, and Ticonderoga are all painted in camouflage Measure 33, Design 10a. Photographed from a USS Ticonderoga plane. 80-G-294131

“Murderers’ Row” Third Fleet aircraft carriers at anchor in Ulithi Atoll, 8 December 1944, during a break from operations in the Philippines area. The new Essex-class carriers are (from front to back): USS Wasp (CV-18), USS Yorktown (CV-10), USS Hornet (CV-12), USS Hancock (CV-19), and USS Ticonderoga (CV-14). Wasp, Yorktown, and Ticonderoga are all painted in camouflage Measure 33, Design 10a. Photographed from a USS Ticonderoga plane. 80-G-294131

Painting of USS Yorktown (CV-10) in her Cold War angled deck and hurricane-bowed SCB conversion with assorted ASW aircraft embarked. So converted in 1957, she was reclassified as an Antisubmarine Warfare Support Aircraft Carrier (CVS-10). She remains in this configuration today, although with a bit more rust. Courtesy of Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola, Florida. NH 86022-KN

After an illustrious career that saw 11 battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation earned during World War II and a further five battle stars for Vietnam service, Yorktown has served as a museum ship at Patriot’s Point, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina since 1975.

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