USS Yorktown in Charleston, SC

by R Long
October 04, 2022

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 that 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.

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 for 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.

bombing of the USS Yorktown

The ship had a total of 3,000 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.

The Naming of the USS Yorktown

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 an antisubmarine carrier, she received the initials CVS.

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 sunk on June 7, 1942, at the Battle of Midway during World War II.

Patriots Point Museum

The museum reflects on 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. You can view videos of airplanes in action 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.

In 1975 the US Government declared the aircraft carrier a National Historic Landmark. On its hangar and flight deck, it showcases the most significant aircraft in US aviation history. These include the Hellcat, Crusader, Tomcat, and Corsair. Many veterans flew those airplanes during WWII up to and including Desert Storm. 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.

Where to Stay in Mt. Pleasant, SC

If you want to be close to Patriot’s Point, you have many options. There are many things to see and do in Charleston. However, if you are on a limited-time budget, definitely stay on the peninsula close to Patriot’s Point and the USS Yorktown Museum.

The Harborside at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina is the closest but there are many options to choose from.

That hotel is a stone’s throw from the ship’s berth so you can easily walk to the museum in a few short minutes.

Nearby are the Embassy Suites by Hilton, Comfort Inn and Suites, Staybridge Suites, and the Candlewood Suites. They are all in great locations and are good choices. You can easily hop across the bridge over the Cooper River and enjoy all that Charleston, SC has to offer in addition to your visit to Patriot’s Point.

Update: October 4, 2022

This is a letter from Mr. Richard Chambers of the Silver Wings fraternity that meets at the Dekalb Peachtree Airport in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ms. Long,

Thank you so very much for your email.  The stars were aligned for me.  When our group was checking in to get our tickets, they had no record of our group, Silver Wings Fraternity, coming to see the USS Yorktown.  They called Kevin Sutton, Group Sales Manager, and he came over and helped us out.  I spoke to him, and he advised me to talk to the members at the information desk.

By the time we walked to the ship and got on board it had been about 10 minutes.  When I approached the information desk to start my inquiry, they said, “Oh, you’re the one with the flag.”  They called a gentleman that was head of security, Chris Jones, and he came and joined me.

The two of us went right up to the flight deck and headed to the stern.  He lowered the American flag and raised my flag right up there and I got a photo.  After we switched flags back, he asked me about flying it aboard the USS Laffey.  So off we go and boarded the USS Laffey and raised my flag there also, and another photo.

Then we go back aboard the USS Yorktown, and he is off to his office to get me a beautiful color certificate of both ships indicating that my flag had been flown aboard each ship.  After that I joined in with a tour group up on the captain’s bridge with Tom Ford, who was our tour guide, and on through other portions of the ship.

It was a wonderful day, and I am so thankful that everyone was so helpful, and I got 2 more ships added to my flag flying American flag.

Thank you very much and you should be very proud of everyone at Patriots Point.

With Sincere Gratitude,

Richard B. Chambers

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