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USS Yorktown in Charleston, SC

Patriots Point, Mt. Pleasant, SC

Mt. Pleasant is a suburban town across the Cooper River from Charleston, SC. It is often considered to be part of Charleston, SC as it is so close to Charleston and both are in Charleston County. Patriots Point is at the mouth of the Cooper River in Mt. Pleasant, SC. It contains a museum which showcases the USS Yorktown, a World War II aircraft carrier.

USS Yorktown

The USS Yorktown was commissioned in 1943. After the end of WWII the ship was decommissioned but then modernized and recommissioned in 1950 as an attack carrier. Later it became an antisubmarine carrier. The ship served for many years in the Pacific, including duty during the Vietnam War in 1964 and 1965.

The naming system for Navy ships is confusing. The USS Yorktown that was commissioned in 1943 was a CV-10. CV stands for aircraft carrier and 10 was the hull number. When the ship was modernized as an attack carrier it was known as a CVA. Later when she was refitted to become a antisubmarine carrier, she received the initials CVS.

USS Yorktown

USS Yorktown at Battle of Midway

The ship was named for the 1781 Battle of Yorktown which was fought during the Revolutionary War for american independence. The ship at Patriots Point was the fourth and final ship named Yorktown. Two famous ships named Yorktown were the one at Patriot’s Point as well as the previous USS Yorktown, CV-5. That ship was sunk on June 7, 1942 at the Battle of Midway during World War II.

A battle star is an award given to ships signifying participation in battles. The USS Yorktown received 11 battle stars during WWII and then another 5 during the Vietnam Era. After the end of those conflicts, the ship was used for recovery of the Apollo 8 space mission and later was highlighted in two movies, Tora! Tora! Tora! and The Philadelphia Experiment. At the present time, the ship is part of the museum located at Patriots Point in the Charleston harbor at Mt. Pleasant, SC.

The ship had a total of 3000 enlisted men and 360 officers aboard her. The top speed is 30+ knots or approximately 35 miles per hour with a range of 14,000 nautical miles. In 1944 she could carry up to 90 aircraft. It was the 10th aircraft carrier to serve in the US Navy.

Patriots Point Museum

The museum reflects the operation of the ship during its tenure as a navy vessel. Patriots Point is a remembrance of the time when the greatest generation fought in the war for our country. The museum is made up of the USS Yorktown, commissioned in 1943, as well as a destroyer used in World War II, USS Laffey, and a submarine from 1945, USS Clamagore. The museum also includes a Vietnam War Memorial and a Medal of Honor Museum.

On any of the many self-directed tours on the ship, you walk to the bowels of the ship to see what life was like on an aircraft carrier during World War II. One can see the bunk rooms, bathrooms, medical facilities, mess rooms, torpedo accesses, machine shop, infirmary, officer quarters, the chapel as well as memorials to the men who served and died on the ship. Videos of airplanes in action are highlighted throughout the available tours. The history of the USS Yorktown is detailed. as well as the history of other vessels that were in service during that time.

The aircraft carrier has been declared a National Historic Monument. On its hangar and flight deck, it showcases the most significant aircraft in US aviation history. These include the Hellcat, Crusader, Tomcat and Corsair. The airplanes were used during WWII up to and including those used in Desert Storm. The stories of the men who flew the airplanes are highlighted. It is awe inspiring to hear the radio transmissions from actual battles and to read  and hear the stories of those who fought for our country.


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