World War II: USS Yorktown (CV-10) (2024)

USS Yorktown (CV-10) was an American Essex-class aircraft carrier that entered service during World War II. Originally dubbed USS Bonhomme Richard, the ship was renamed following the loss of USS Yorktown (CV-5) at the Battle of Midway in June 1942. The new Yorktown took part in the majority of the Allies' "island hopping" campaign across the Pacific. Modernized after the war, it later served during the Vietnam War as an anti-submarine and sea-air rescue carrier. In 1968, Yorktown acted as the recovery vessel for the historic Apollo 8 mission to the Moon. Decommissioned in 1970, the carrier is presently a museum ship in Charleston, SC.

Design & Construction

Designed in the 1920s and early 1930s, the U.S. Navy's Lexington- and Yorktown-class aircraft carriers were constructed to conform to the restrictions set forth by the Washington Naval Treaty. This agreement placed limitations on the tonnage of various types of warships as well as capped each signatories’ overall tonnage. These types of restrictions were affirmed through the 1930 London Naval Treaty. As global tensions worsened, Japan and Italy left the agreement in 1936.

With the collapse of the treaty system, the U.S. Navy began creating a design for a new, larger class of aircraft carrier and one which drew from the lessons learned from the Yorktown-class. The resulting design was longer and wider as well as included a deck-edge elevator system. This had been used previously on USS Wasp. In addition to carrying a larger air group, the new design possessed a greatly enhanced anti-aircraft armament.

Dubbed the Essex-class, the lead ship, USS Essex (CV-9), was laid down in April 1941. This was followed by USS Bonhomme Richard (CV-10), an homage to John Paul Jones's ship during the American Revolution on December 1. This second ship began to take shape at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. Six days after construction began, the United States entered World War II following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

World War II: USS Yorktown (CV-10) (1)

With the loss of USS Yorktown (CV-5) at the Battle of Midway in June 1942, the name of the new carrier was changed to USS Yorktown (CV-10) to honor its predecessor. On January 21, 1943, Yorktown slid down the ways with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt serving as sponsor. Eager to have the new carrier ready for combat operations, the U.S. Navy rushed its completion and the carrier was commissioned on April 15 with Captain Joseph J. Clark in command.

USS Yorktown (CV-10)


  • Nation: United States
  • Type: Aircraft Carrier
  • Shipyard: Newport News Shipbuilding Company
  • Laid Down: December 1, 1941
  • Launched: January 21, 1943
  • Commissioned: April 15, 1943
  • Fate: Museum Ship


  • Displacement: 27,100 tons
  • Length: 872 ft.
  • Beam: 147 ft., 6 in.
  • Draft: 28 ft., 5 in.
  • Propulsion: 8 × boilers, 4 × Westinghouse geared steam turbines, 4 × shafts
  • Speed: 33 knots
  • Range: 20,000 nautical miles at 15 knots
  • Complement: 2,600 men


  • 4 × twin 5 inch 38 caliber guns
  • 4 × single 5 inch 38 caliber guns
  • 8 × quadruple 40 mm 56 caliber guns
  • 46 × single 20 mm 78 caliber guns


  • 90-100 aircraft

Joining the Fight

In late May, Yorktown sailed from Norfolk to conduct shakedown and training operations in the Caribbean. Returning to base in June, the carrier underwent minor repairs before practicing air operations until July 6. Departing the Chesapeake, Yorktown transited the Panama Canal before arriving at Pearl Harbor on July 24. Remaining in Hawaiian waters for the next four weeks, the carrier continued training before joining Task Force 15 for a raid on Marcus Island.

Read MoreUSS Yorktown CV-5: A Heroic LegacyBy Kennedy Hickman

World War II: USS Yorktown (CV-10) (3)

Launching aircraft on August 31, the carrier's planes pounded the island before TF 15 withdrew to Hawaii. Following a brief voyage to San Francisco, Yorktown mounted attacks on Wake Island in early October before joining Task Force 50 in November for the campaign in the Gilbert Islands. Arriving in the area on November 19, its aircraft provided support for Allied forces during the Battle of Tarawa as well as struck targets on Jaluit, Mili, and Makin. With the capture of Tarawa, Yorktown returned to Pearl Harbor after raiding Wotje and Kwajalein.

Island Hopping

On January 16, Yorktown returned to sea and sailed for the Marshall Islands as part of Task Force 58.1. Arriving, the carrier launched strikes against Maloelap on January 29 before shifting to Kwajalein the next day. On January 31, Yorktown's aircraft provided cover and support the V Amphibious Corps as it opened the Battle of Kwajalein. The carrier continued in this mission until February 4.

Sailing from Majuro eight days later, Yorktown took part in Rear Admiral Marc Mitscher's attack on Truk on February 17-18 before embarking on a series of raids in the Marianas (February 22) and Palau Islands (March 30-31). Returning to Majuro to replenish, Yorktown then moved south to aid General Douglas MacArthur's landings on the north coast of New Guinea. With the conclusion of these operations in late April, the carrier sailed for Pearl Harbor where it conducted training operations for much of May.

Rejoining TF 58 in early June, Yorktown moved towards the Marianas to cover Allied landings on Saipan. On June 19, Yorktown's aircraft began the day by mounting raids on Guam before joining the opening stages of the Battle of the Philippine Sea. The following day, Yorktown's pilots succeeded in locating Admiral Jisaburo Ozawa's fleet and commenced attacks on the carrier Zuikaku scoring some hits.

As fighting continued through the day, American forces sank three enemy carriers and destroyed around 600 aircraft. In the wake of the victory, Yorktown resumed operations in the Marianas before raiding Iwo Jima, Yap, and Ulithi. At the end of July, the carrier, in need of an overhaul, departed the region and steamed for Puget Sound Navy Yard. Arriving on August 17, it spent the next two months in the yard.

World War II: USS Yorktown (CV-10) (4)

Victory in the Pacific

Sailing from Puget Sound, Yorktown arrived at Eniwetok, via Alameda, on October 31. Joining first Task Group 38.4, then TG 38.1, it attacked targets in the Philippines in support of the Allied invasion of Leyte. Retiring to Ulithi on November 24, Yorktown shifted to TF 38 and prepared for the invasion of Luzon. Striking targets on that island in December, it endured a severe typhoon that sank three destroyers.

After replenishing at Ulithi late in the month, Yorktown sailed for raids on Formosa and the Philippines as troops prepared to land at Lingayen Gulf, Luzon. On January 12, the carrier's planes conducted a highly successful raid on Saigon and Tourane Bay, Indochina. This was followed by attacks on Formosa, Canton, Hong Kong, and Okinawa. The following month, Yorktown began attacks on the Japanese home islands and then supported the invasion of Iwo Jima. After resuming strikes on Japan late in February, Yorktown withdrew to Ulithi on March 1.

After two weeks of rest, Yorktown returned north and began operations against Japan on March 18. That afternoon a Japanese air attack succeeded in hitting the carrier's signal bridge. The resulting explosion killed 5 and wounded 26 but had little effect on Yorktown's operations. Shifting south, the carrier began focusing its efforts against Okinawa. Remaining off the island following the landing of Allied forces, Yorktown aided in defeating Operation Ten-Go and sinking the battleship Yamato on April 7. S

Supporting operations on Okinawa through early June, the carrier then departed for a series of attacks on Japan. For the next two months, Yorktown operated off the Japanese coast with its aircraft mounting their final raid against Tokyo on August 13. With the surrender of Japan, the carrier steamed offshore to provide cover for the occupation forces. Its aircraft also delivered food and supplies to Allied prisoners of war. Leaving Japan on October 1, Yorktown embarked passengers at Okinawa before steaming for San Francisco.

Postwar Years

For the remainder of 1945, Yorktown crisscrossed the Pacific returning American servicemen to the United States. Initially placed in reserve in June 1946, it was decommissioned the following January. It remained inactive until June 1952 when it was selected to undergo a SCB-27A modernization. This saw a radical redesign of the ship's island and well as modifications to allow it operate jet aircraft.

Completed in February 1953, Yorktown was re-commissioned and departed for the Far East. Operating in this region until 1955, it entered the yard at Puget Sound that March and had an angled flight deck installed. Resuming active service in October, Yorktown resumed duty in the western Pacific with the 7th Fleet. After two years of peacetime operations, the carrier's designation was changed to antisubmarine warfare. Arriving at Puget Sound in September 1957, Yorktown underwent modifications to support this new role.

World War II: USS Yorktown (CV-10) (5)

Leaving the yard in early 1958, Yorktown commenced operating from Yokosuka, Japan. The following year, it helped deter Communist Chinese forces during the standoff at Quemoy and Matsu. The next five years saw the carrier conduct routine peacetime training and maneuvers on the West Coast and in the Far East.

With the growing American involvement in the Vietnam War, Yorktown began operating with TF 77 on Yankee Station. Here it provided anti-submarine warfare and sea-air rescue support to its consorts. In January 1968, the carrier shifted to the Sea of Japan to as part of a contingency force following the North Korean capture of USS Pueblo. Remaining abroad until June, Yorktown then returned to Long Beach completing its final Far East tour.

That November and December, Yorktown served as a filming platform for the film Tora! Tora! Tora! about the attack on Pearl Harbor. With the end of filming, the carrier steamed into the Pacific to recover Apollo 8 on December 27. Shifting to the Atlantic in early 1969, Yorktown began conducting training exercises and took part in NATO maneuvers. An aging vessel, the carrier arrived in Philadelphia the following year and was decommissioned on June 27. Struck from the Navy List a year later, Yorktown moved to Charleston, SC in 1975. There it became the centerpiece of the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum and where it remains today.

World War II: USS Yorktown (CV-10) (2024)


How many people died on the USS Yorktown CV-10? ›

In total, 141 men died aboard the USS Yorktown, though it appears some are still there.

What happened to the USS Yorktown in World War II? ›

Many anti-aircraft guns were still pointing up, providing clues about the final moments on these iconic ships.” A Japanese submarine ultimately sank the Yorktown at Midway on June 7, 1942, after the carrier sustained strikes from multiple bombs and torpedoes earlier in the battle.

What is the USS Yorktown famous for? ›

Yorktown received three battle stars for her World War II service. Although Yorktown's service to the nation was relatively short, she played a significant role in stopping Japanese expansion and turning the tide of the war during the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway.

Why is there a 10 on the USS Yorktown? ›

The USS YORKTOWN (CV-10) was the tenth aircraft carrier to serve in the United States Navy.

How deep is the wreck of the USS Yorktown? ›

On 19 May 1998, the wreck of Yorktown was found and photographed by oceanographer Dr. Robert Ballard, discoverer of the wrecks of the RMS Titanic and the German battleship Bismarck. The wreck of Yorktown, 3 miles (5 km) deep, was sitting upright in excellent condition.

Did the original USS Yorktown sink? ›

They put three bombs and two torpedoes into USS Yorktown, but a return attack by the Americans hurt Hiryu so badly that her crew had no choice but to abandon and sink her. By midnight of 4 June, the Midway Battle was lost, though we did not know it yet.

How did the USS Yorktown get repaired so fast? ›

Yard workers and sailors worked flat out over three days to get the carrier Yorktown patched up and ready for the decisive Midway battle. The Battle of the Coral Sea had barely concluded when Task Force 17 under the command of Rear Adm.

Did the USS Yorktown sink the Yamato? ›

Yorktown and the other carriers quickly launched strikes to attack that valued target. Air Group 9 aviators claimed several torpedo hits on Yamato just before the battleship exploded and sank. At least three 500 lb (230 kg) bomb hits on the light cruiser Yahagi sank her also.

Was the USS Yorktown damaged in Pearl Harbor? ›

Its blast and the resulting fires killed and injured dozens of crewmen. Fires were controlled quickly and Yorktown's effectiveness was not seriously harmed. However, structural damage was serious enough to require correction at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard during the ship's two day emergency repair period late in May.

What movie was the USS Yorktown in? ›

The Fighting Lady

What was the nickname of the USS Yorktown CV-10? ›

Nicknamed “The Fighting Lady”, she received the Presidential Unit Citation and earned eleven battle stars for World War II service. She was placed in reserve from January 1947, until December 1952. Her deck was cantilevered in 1955 in order to accommodate newer aircraft.

Are there any Yorktown class carriers left? ›

These ships bore the brunt of the fighting in the Pacific during 1942, and two of the three were lost: Yorktown, sunk at the Battle of Midway, and Hornet, sunk in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. Enterprise, the sole survivor of the class, was the most decorated ship of the U.S. Navy in the Second World War.

Was the USS Yorktown in Vietnam? ›

USS Yorktown (CV-10) was an Essex-class aircraft carrier that served with the US Navy in World War II and the Vietnam War. World War II's famous “Fighting Lady” would participate significantly in the Pacific offensive that began in late 1943 and ended with the defeat of Japan in 1945.

Are there two USS Yorktown? ›

USS Yorktown (CV-5), the lead Yorktown-class aircraft carrier commissioned in 1937 (sunk in 1942) USS Yorktown (CV-10), an Essex-class aircraft carrier commissioned in 1943 (museum ship since 1975) USS Yorktown (CG-48), a Ticonderoga-class cruiser commissioned in 1984 (undergoing scrapping)

Is USS Yorktown still afloat? ›

USS Yorktown, a 16 gun sloop, sunk in 1850. USS Yorktown, CV-5 was sunk in 1942, in lays several miles down. USS Yorktown, CV-10 has been a museum ship since 1975.

How did they fix USS Yorktown? ›

Only the most urgent repairs were made. Instead of individually fixing the hull's ruptured seams, an enormous steel plate was welded over the damaged section. At 11:00 a.m. on May 28, Drydock Number One was flooded and the Yorktown was towed into the harbor with workmen still busy aboard.

What was the nickname of the USS Yorktown CV 10? ›

Nicknamed “The Fighting Lady”, she received the Presidential Unit Citation and earned eleven battle stars for World War II service. She was placed in reserve from January 1947, until December 1952. Her deck was cantilevered in 1955 in order to accommodate newer aircraft.

Was the USS Yorktown damaged in Pearl harbor? ›

Its blast and the resulting fires killed and injured dozens of crewmen. Fires were controlled quickly and Yorktown's effectiveness was not seriously harmed. However, structural damage was serious enough to require correction at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard during the ship's two day emergency repair period late in May.


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