U.S. Navy - A Brief History of Aircraft Carriers - USS Yorktown (CV 10)
displacement: 27,100 tons
length: 872 feet
beam: 93 feet; extreme width at flight deck: 147½ feet
draft: 28 feet 7 inches
speed: 32.7 knots
complement: 3,448 crew
armament: 12 five-inch guns, 32 40mm.guns, 46 20mm. guns
From: Dictionary of American Fighting Ships, published by the Naval Historical Center
Full-screen images are linked from the images in the text below.
The fourth Yorktown (CV-10) was laid down on 1 December 1941 at Newport News, Va., by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. as Bon Homme Richard; renamed Yorktown on 26 September 1942; launched on 21 January 1943, sponsored by Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt; and commissioned on 15 April 1943 at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Capt. Joseph J. ("Jocko") Clark in command.
Yorktown remained in the Norfolk area until 21 May 1943 at which time she got underway for shakedown training in the vicinity of Trinidad. She returned to Norfolk on 17 June and began post-shakedown availability. The aircraft carrier completed repairs on 1 July and began air operations out of Norfolk until the 6th. On the latter day, she exited Chesapeake Bay on her way to the Pacific Ocean.
She transited the Panama Canal on 11 July and departed Balboa on the 12th. The warship arrived in Pearl Harbor on 24 July 1943 and began a month of exercises in the Hawaiian Islands. On 22 August, she stood out of Pearl Harbor, bound for her first combat of the war. Her task force, TF 15, arrived at the launching point about 128 miles from Marcus Island early on the morning of 31 August. She spent most of that day launching fighter and bomber strikes on Marcus Island before beginning the retirement to Hawaii that evening. The aircraft carrier reentered Pearl Harbor on 7 September and remained there for two days.
On the 9th, she stood out to sea, bound for the west coast of the United States. She arrived in San Francisco on 13 September, loaded aircraft and supplies, and returned to sea on the 15th. Four days later, the aircraft carrier reentered Pearl Harbor. After 10 days in the Hawaiian Islands, Yorktown returned to sea to conduct combat operations on the 29th. Early on the morning of 5 October 1943, she began two days of air strikes on Japanese installations on Wake Island. After retiring to the east for the night, she resumed those air raids early on the morning of the 6th and continued them through most of the day. That evening, the task group began its retirement to Hawaii.Yorktown arrived at Oahu on 11 October and, for the next month, conducted air training operations out of Pearl Harbor.
On 10 November, Yorktown departed Pearl Harbor in company with Task Force (TF) 50 — the Fast Carrier Forces, Pacific Fleet — to participate in her first major assault operation, the occupation of certain of the Gilbert Islands. On the 19th, she arrived at the launch point near Jaluit and Mili and, early that morning, launched the first of a series of raids to suppress enemy air-power during the amphibious assaults on Tarawa, Abemama, and Makin. On the 20th, she not only sent raids back to the airfield at Jaluit but some of her planes also supported the troops wresting Makin from the Japanese. On 22 November, her air group concentrated upon installations and planes at Mili once again. Before returning to Pearl Harbor, the aircraft carrier made passing raids on the installations at Wotje and Kwajalein Atolls on 4 December 1943. The warship reentered Pearl Harbor on 9 December and began a month of air training operations in the Hawaiian Islands.
On 16 January 1944, the warship exited Pearl Harbor once again to support an amphibious assault, Operation Flintlock, the Marshall Islands operation. Her task group, Task Group (TG) 58.1, arrived at its launching point early on the morning of 29 January, and its carriers — Yorktown, USS Lexington (CV-16), and USS Cowpens (CVL-25) — began sending air strikes aloft at about 0520 for attacks on Taroa airfield located on Maloelap Atoll. Throughout the day, her aircraft hit Maloelap in preparation for the assaults on Majuro and Kwajalein scheduled for the 31st. On the 30th,Yorktown and her sister carriers shifted targets to Kwajalein to begin softening up one of the targets itself. When the troops stormed ashore on January 31st, Yorktown aviators continued their strikes on Kwajalein in support of the troops attacking that atoll. The same employment occupied the Yorktown air group during the first three days in February. On the 4th, however, the task group retired to the Fleet anchorage at recently secured Majuro Atoll.
Over the next four months, Yorktown participated in a series of raids in which she ranged from the Marianas in the north to New Guinea in the south. After eight days at Majuro, she sortied with her task group on 12 February 1944 to conduct air strikes on the main Japanese anchorage at Truk Atoll. Those highly successful raids occurred on 16 and 17 February. On the 18th, the carrier set a course for the Marianas and, on the 22d, conducted a single day of raids on enemy airfields and installations on Saipan. That same day, she cleared the area on her way back to Majuro. The warship arrived in Majuro lagoon on 26 February and remained there, resting and replenishing until 8 March. On the latter day, the carrier stood out of Majuro, rendezvoused with the rest of TF 58, and shaped a course for Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides. She reached her destination on 13 March and remained there for 10 days before getting underway for another series of raids on the Japanese middle defense line. On 30 and 31 March, she launched air strikes on enemy installations located in the Palau Islands; and, on 1 April, her aviators went after the island of Woleai. Five days later, she returned to her base at Majuro for a week of replenishment and recreation.
On 13 April 1944, Yorktown returned to sea once more. On this occasion however, she laid in a course for the northern coast of New Guinea. On 21 April, she began launching raids in support of General Douglas MacArthur's assault on the Hollandia area. That day, her aviators attacked installations in the Wakde-Sarmi area of northern New Guinea. On the 22d and 23d, they shifted to the landing areas at Hollandia themselves and began providing direct support for the assault troops. After those attacks, she retired from the New Guinea coast for another raid on Truk lagoon, which her aircraft carried out on 29 and 30 April. The aircraft carrier returned to Majuro on 4 May; however, two days later she got underway again, bound for Oahu. The warship entered Pearl Harbor on 11 May and, for the next 18 days, conducted training operations in the Hawaiian Islands. On 29 May, she headed back to the central Pacific. Yorktown entered Majuro lagoon again on 3 June and began preparations for her next major amphibious support operation-the assault on the Marianas.
On 6 June 1944, the aircraft carrier stood out of Majuro with TF 58 and set a course for the Mariana Islands. After five days steaming, she reached the launch point and began sending planes aloft for the preliminary softening up of targets in preparation for the invasion of Saipan. Yorktown aircrews concentrated primarily upon airfields located on Guam. Those raids continued until the 13th when Yorktown, with two of the task groups of TF 58, steamed north to hit targets in the Bonin Islands. That movement resulted in a one-day raid on the 16th before the two task groups headed back to the Marianas to join in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Task Force 58 reunited on 18 June and began a short wait for the approaching Japanese Fleet and its aircraft.
On the morning of 19 June 1944, Yorktown aircraft began strikes on Japanese air bases on Guam in order to deny them to their approaching carrier-based air and to keep the land-based planes out of the fray. Duels with Guam-based aircraft continued until mid-morning. At about 1017, however, she got her first indication of the carrier plane attacks when a large bogey appeared on her radar screen. At that point she divided her attention, sending part of her air group back to Guam and another portion of it out to meet the raid closing from the west. Throughout the battle, Yorktown's planes continued both to strike the Guam airfields and intercept the carrier raids. During the first day of the Battle of the Philippine Sea, Yorktown aircraft claimed 37 enemy planes destroyed and dropped 21 tons of bombs on the Guam air bases.
On the morning of the 20th Yorktown steamed generally west with TF 58 while search planes groped for the fleeing enemy task force. Contact was not made with the enemy until about 1540 that afternoon when a USS Hornet (CV-12) pilot spotted the retiring Combined Fleet units. Yorktown launched a 40-plane strike between 1623 and 1643 and sent it winging after the Japanese. Her planes found Admiral Ozawa's force at about 1840 and began a 20-minute attack during which they went after Zuikaku on whom they succeeded in scoring some hits. They, however, failed to sink that carrier. They also attacked several other ships in the Japanese force though no records show a confirmed sinking to the credit of the Yorktown air group. On 21 June, the carrier joined in the futile stern chase on the enemy carried out by TF 58 but gave up that evening when air searches failed to contact the Japanese. Yorktown returned to the Marianas area and resumed air strikes on Pagan on June 22 and 23. On the 24th, she launched another series of raids on Iwo Jima. On 25 June, she laid in a course for Eniwetok and arrived there two days later. On the 30th, the aircraft carrier headed back to the Marianas and the Bonins. She renewed combat operations on 3 and 4 July with a series of attacks on Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima. On the 6th the warship resumed strikes in the Marianas and continued them for the next 17 days. On 23 July, she headed off to the west for a series of raids on Yap, Ulithi, and the Palaus. She carried out those attacks on 25 July and arrived back in the Marianas on the 29th.
On July 31, 1944, she cleared the Mariana Islands and headed, via Eniwetok and Pearl Harbor, back to the United States. Yorktown arrived in the Puget Sound Navy Yard on 17 August and began a two-month overhaul. She completed repairs on 6 October and departed Puget Sound on the 9th. She stopped at the Alameda Naval Air Station from 11 to 13 October to load planes and supplies and then set a course back to the western Pacific. After a stop at Pearl Harbor from the 18th to the 24th, Yorktown arrived back in Eniwetok on 31 October 1944. She departed the lagoon on 1 November and arrived at Ulithi on the 3d. There, she reported for duty with TG 38.4. That task group left Ulithi on 6 November, and Yorktown departed with it.
On 7 November, the aircraft carrier changed operational control to TG 38.1 and, for the next two weeks, launched air strikes on targets in the Philippines in support of the Leyte invasion. Detached from the task force on 23 November, Yorktown arrived back in Ulithi on the 24th. She remained there until 10 December at which time she put to sea to rejoin TF 38. She rendezvoused with the other carriers on 13 December and began launching air strikes on targets on the island of Luzon in preparation for the invasion of that island scheduled for the second week in January 1945. On December 17, the task force began its retirement from the Luzon strikes. During that retirement, TF 38 steamed through the center of the famous typhoon of December 1944. That storm sank three destroyers, USS Spence (DD-512), USS Hull (DD-350), and USS Monaghan (DD-354), and Yorktown participated in some of the rescue operations for the survivors of those three destroyers. She did not finally clear the vicinity of Luzon until the 23d. The warship arrived back in Ulithi on 24 December.
The aircraft carrier fueled and provisioned at Ulithi until 30 December 1944 at which time she returned to sea to join TF 38 on strikes at targets in the Philippines in support of the landings at Lingayen. The carriers opened the show on 3 January 1945 with raids on airfields on the island of Formosa. Those raids continued on the 4th, but a fueling rendezvous occupied Yorktown's time on the 5th. She sent her planes against Luzon targets and on antishipping strikes on the 6th and 7th. The 8th brought another fueling rendezvous; and, on the 9th, she conducted her last attack — on Formosa — in direct support of the Lingayen operation. On 10 January, Yorktown and the rest of TF 38 entered the South China Sea via Bashi Channel to begin a series of raids on Japan's inner defenses. On 12 January, her planes visited the vicinity of Saigon and Tourane Bay, Indochina, in hopes of catching major units of the Japanese fleet. Though foiled in their primary desire, TF 38 aviators still managed to rack up a stupendous score, 44 enemy ships of which 15 were combatants. She fueled on the 13th and, on the 15th, launched raids on Formosa and Canton in China. The following day, her aviators struck at Canton again and paid a visit to Hong Kong. Fueling took up her time on 17, 18, and 19 January; and, on the 20th, she exited the South China Sea with TF 38 via Balintang Channel. She participated in a raid on Formosa on the 21st and another on Okinawa on the 22d before clearing the area for Ulithi. On the morning of 26 January. she reentered Ulithi lagoon with TF 38.
Yorktown remained at Ulithi arming, provisioning, and conducting upkeep until 10 February 1945. At that time, she sortied with TF 58, the 3d Fleet becoming the 5th Fleet when Adm. Spruance relieved Adm. Halsey, on a series of raids on the Japanese and thence to support the assault on and occupation of Iwo Jima. On the morning of 16 February, the aircraft carrier began launching strikes on the Tokyo area of Honshu. On the 17th, she repeated those strikes before heading toward the Bonins. Her aviators bombed and strafed installations on Chichi Jima on the 18th. The landings on Iwo Jima went forward on 19 February, and Yorktown aircraft began support missions over the island on the 20th. Those missions continued until the 23d at which time Yorktown cleared the Bonins to resume strikes on Japan proper. She arrived at the launch point on the 25th and sent two raids aloft to bomb and strafe airfields in the vicinity of Tokyo. On the 26th, Yorktown aircrewmen conducted a single sweep of installations on Kyushu before TG 58.4 began its retirement to Ulithi. Yorktown reentered the anchorage at Ulithi on 1 March.
She remained in the anchorage for about two weeks. On 14 March 1945, the aircraft carrier departed the lagoon on her way to resume raids on Japan and to begin preliminary support work for the Okinawa operations scheduled for 1 April. On 18 March, she arrived in the operating area off Japan and began launching strikes on airfields on Kyushu, Honshu, and Shikoku. The task
group came under air attack almost as soon as operations began. At about 0800, a twin-engine bomber, probably a Frances, attacked from her port side. The ship opened fire almost immediately and began scoring hits quickly. The plane began to burn but continued his run passing over Yorktown's bow and splashing in the water on her starboard side. Just seven minutes later, another Frances tried his luck; but he, too went down, a victim of the combined fire of the formation. No further attacks developed until that afternoon; and, in the meantime, Yorktown continued air operations. That afternoon, three Judys launched attacks on the carrier. The first two failed in their attacks and were shot down for their trouble. The third succeeded in planting his bomb on the signal bridge. It passed through the first deck and exploded near the ship's hull. It punched two large holes through her side, killed five men, and wounded another 26. Yorktown, however, remained fully operational, and her antiaircraft gunners brought the offender down. She continued air operations against the three southernmost islands of Japan on the 19th but retired for fueling operations on the 20th.
On March 21, 1945, she headed for Okinawa, on which island she began softening-up strikes on the 23d. Those attacks continued until the 28th when she started back to Japanese waters for an additional strike on the home islands. On the 29th, the carrier put two raids and one photographic reconnaissance mission into the air over Kyushu. That afternoon, at about 1410, a single Judy made an apparent suicide dive on Yorktown. Her antiaircraft gunners opened up on him and scored numerous hits. He passed over the ship, very near to her island, and splashed about 60 feet from her portside.
On 30 March, Yorktown and the other carriers of her task group began to concentrate solely on the island of Okinawa and its surrounding islets. For two days the 30th and 31st, they pounded the island in softening-up strikes. On 1 April, the assault troops stormed ashore; and, for almost six weeks, she sent her planes to the island to provide direct support for the troops operating ashore. About every three days, she retired to the east to conduct fueling rendezvous or to rearm and reprovision. The only exception to that routine came on 7 April when it was discovered that a Japanese task force built around the elusive battleship, Yamato, was steaming south for one last, desperate, offensive. Yorktown and the other carriers quickly launched strikes to attack that valued target. Air Group 9 aviators claimed several torpedo hits on Yamato herself just before the battleship exploded and sank as well as at least three 500-pound bomb hits on light cruiser Yahagi before that warship followed her big sister to the bottom. The pilots also made strafing runs on the escorting destroyers and claimed to have left one afire in a sinking condition. At the conclusion of that action, Yorktown and her planes resumed their support for the troops on Okinawa.
On 11 April, she came under air attack again when a single-engine plane sped in on her. Yorktown's antiaircraft gunners proved equal to the test, however, and splashed him just inside 2,000 yards' range. Sporadic air attacks continued until her 11 May departure from the Ruykyus, but Yorktown sustained no additional damage and claimed only one further kill with her antiaircraft battery. On 11 May, TG 58.4 was detached to proceed to Ulithi for upkeep, rest, and relaxation.
Yorktown entered the lagoon at Ulithi on 14 May 1945 and remained there until 24 May at which time she sortied with TG 58.4 to rejoin the forces off Okinawa. On 28 May, TG 58.4 became TG 38.4 when Adm. Halsey relieved Adm. Spruance and 5th Fleet again became 3d Fleet. That same day, the carrier resumed air support missions over Okinawa. That routine lasted until the beginning of June when she moved off with TF 38 to resume strikes on the Japanese homeland. On 3 June, her aircraft made four different sweeps of airfields. The following day, she returned to Okinawa for a day of additional support missions before steaming off to evade a typhoon. On the 6th and 7th, she resumed Okinawa strikes. She sent her aviators back to the Kyushu airfields and, on the 9th, launched them on the first of two days of raids on Minami Daito Shima. After the second day's strikes on June 10, Yorktown began retirement with TG 38.4 toward Leyte. She arrived in San Pedro Bay at Leyte on 13 June and began replenishment, upkeep, rest, and relaxation.
The warship remained at Leyte until 1 July when she and TG 38.4 got underway to join the rest of the fast carriers in the final series of raids on the Japanese home islands. By 10 July, she was off the coast of Japan launching air strikes on the Tokyo area of Honshu. After a fueling rendezvous on the 11th and 12th, she resumed strikes on Japan, this on the southern portion of the northernmost island of Hokkaido. Those strikes lasted from the 13th to the 15th. A fueling retirement and heavy weather precluded air operations until the 18th at which time her aviators returned to the Tokyo area. From the 19th to the 22d, she made a fueling and underway replenishment retirement and then, on the 24th, resumed air attacks on Japan. For two days, planes of her air group pounded installations around the Kure naval base. Another fueling retirement came on the 26th, but the 27th and 28th found her planes in the air above Kure again. On the 29th and 30th, she shifted targets back to the Tokyo area before another fueling retirement and another typhoon took her out of action until the beginning of the first week in August. On 8 and 9 August, the carrier launched her planes at northern Honshu and southern Hokkaido. On the 10th, she sent them back to Tokyo. The 11th and 12th brought another fueling retirement and a typhoon evasion, but, on the 13th, her aircraft hit Tokyo for the last time. On the 14th, she retired to fuel destroyers again; and, on the 15th, Japan agreed to capitulate so that all strikes planned for that day were canceled.
From 16 to 23 August 1945, Yorktown and the other carriers of TF 58 steamed around more or less aimlessly in waters to the east of Japan awaiting instructions while peace negotiations continued. Then, on the 23d, she received orders to head for waters east of Honshu where her aircraft were to provide cover for the forces occupying Japan. She began providing that air cover on the 25th and continued to do so until mid-September. After the formal surrender on board USS Missouri (BB-63) on 2 September, the aircraft carrier also began air-dropping supplies to Allied prisoners of war still living in their prison camps. On 16 September, Yorktown entered Tokyo Bay with TG 38.1. She remained there, engaged in upkeep and crew recreation through the end of the month. On 1 October, the carrier stood out of Tokyo Bay on her way to Okinawa. She arrived in Buckner Bay on 4 October, loaded passengers on the 5th, and got underway for the United States on the 6th.
After a non-stop voyage, Yorktown entered San Francisco Bay on 20 October 1945, moored at the Alameda Naval Air Station, and began discharging passengers. She remained at the air station until 31 October at which time she shifted to Hunters Point Navy Yard to complete minor repairs. On 2 November, while still at the navy yard, she reported to the Service Force, Pacific Fleet, for duty in conjunction with the return of American servicemen to the United States. That same day, she stood out of San Francisco Bay, bound for Guam on just such a mission. She arrived in Apra Harbor on 15 November and, two days later, got underway with a load of passengers. She arrived back in San Francisco on 30 November and remained there until 8 December. On the latter day, the warship headed back to the Far East. Initially routed to Samar in the Philippines, she was diverted to Manila en route. She arrived in Manila on 26 December and departed there on the 29th. She reached San Francisco again on 13 January 1946. Later that month, she moved north to Bremerton, Wash., where she was placed in commission, in reserve, on 21 June. She remained there in that status through the end of the year. On 9 January 1947,Yorktown was placed out of commission and was berthed with the Bremerton Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet.
Yorktown remained in reserve for almost five years. In June of 1952, she was ordered reactivated, and work began on her at Puget Sound. On 15 December 1952, she was placed in commission, in reserve, at Bremerton. Her conversion continued into 1953 and she conducted post-conversion trials late in January. On 20 February 1953, Yorktown was placed in full commission, Capt. William M. Nation in command. The aircraft carrier conducted normal operations along the west coast through most of the summer of 1953. On 3 August, she departed San Francisco on her way to the Far East. She arrived in Pearl Harbor and remained there until the 27th at which time she continued her voyage west. On 5 September, the carrier arrived in Yokosuka Japan. She put to sea again on the 11th to join TF 77 in the Sea of Japan. The Korean War armistice had been signed two months earlier; and, therefore, the carrier conducted training operations rather than combat missions. She served with TF 77 until 18 February 1954 at which time she stood out of Yokosuka on her way home. She made a stop at Pearl Harbor along the way and then moored at Alameda once more on 3 March. After a brief repair period at Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, Yorktown put to sea to serve as a platform for the filming of the movie Jet Carrier. She conducted further, more routine, operations along the west coast until 1 July at which time she headed back to the Orient. She stopped at Pearl Harbor from 8 to 28 July before continuing on to Manila, where she arrived on 4 August 1954.
Yorktown operated out of the Manila-Subic Bay area, conducting 7th Fleet maneuvers, for the duration of the deployment. She did, however, take periodic breaks from that schedule to make frequent port visits to Yokosuka; and, during the Christmas holidays, she made a liberty call at Hong Kong on the Chinese coast. In January of 1955, she was called upon to help cover the evacuation of Nationalist Chinese from the Tachen Islands located near the communist-controlled mainland.
Yorktown entered Yokosuka for the last time on 16 February 1955 and departed again on the 18th to return home. After an overnight stop at Pearl Harbor on 23 and 24 February, she resumed her voyage east and arrived in Alameda on 28 February. On 21 March 1955, she was placed in commission, in reserve, at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard where she was to receive extensive modifications — most significantly, an angled flight deck to increase her jet aircraft launching capability. She completed her conversion that fall and, on 14 October 1955, was placed back in full commission.
The aircraft carrier resumed normal operations along the west coast soon after recommissioning. That assignment lasted until mid-March 1956. On the 19th, she stood out of San Francisco Bay on her way to her third tour of duty with the 7th Fleet since her reactivation in 1953. Yorktown stopped at Pearl Harbor from 24 March to 9 April and then continued her voyage west. She arrived in Yokosuka, Japan, on 18 April and departed again on the 29th. The warship operated with the 7th Fleet for the next five months. During that time, she conducted operations in the Sea of Japan, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea. She also visited such places as Sasebo, Manila, Subic Bay, and Buckner Bay at Okinawa. On 7 September, the aircraft carrier stood out of Yokosuka and pointed her bow to the east. After a non-stop voyage, she arrived back at Alameda on 13 September. She resumed west coast operations for about two months. On 13 November, she embarked upon a round-trip to Pearl Harbor, from which she returned to Alameda on 11 December 1956.
Yorktown resumed normal operations out of Alameda upon her return and remained so employed until March of 1957. On 9 March, she departed Alameda for yet another tour of duty in the Far East. She made stops at Oahu and Guam along the way and arrived at Yokosuka on 19 April. She put to sea to join TF 77 on 25 April and served with that task force for the next three months. On 13 August, the warship departed Yokosuka for the last time, made a brief pause at Pearl Harbor, and arrived in Alameda on the 25th.
On 1 September 1957, her home port was changed from Alameda to Long Beach, and she was reclassified an antisubmarine warfare (ASW) aircraft carrier with the new designation CVS-10. On the 23d, she departed Alameda and, four days later, entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for overhaul and for modification to an ASW carrier. That yard period lasted until the beginning of February 1958. She departed the naval ammunition depot at Bangor, Wash., on 7 February and entered Long Beach five days later. For the next eight months, Yorktown conducted normal operations along the west coast. On 1 November, she departed San Diego to return to the western Pacific. After a stop at Pearl Harbor from the 8th to the 17th, Yorktown continued her voyage west and arrived in Yokosuka on the 25th. During that deployment, the aircraft carrier qualified for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal on three occasions. The first time came on 31 December and 1 January 1959 when she participated in an American show of strength in response to the communist Chinese shelling of the offshore islands, Quemoy and Matsu, held by Nationalist Chinese forces. During January she also joined contingency forces off Vietnam during internal disorders caused by communist guerrillas in the southern portion of that country. That month also saw her earn the expeditionary medal for service in the Taiwan Strait. The remainder of the deployment — save for another visit to Vietnamese waters late in March — consisted of a normal round of training evolutions and port visits. She concluded that tour of duty at San Diego on 21 May. The warship resumed normal operations along the west coast, and that duty consumed the remainder of 1959.
In January of 1960, Yorktown headed back to the Far East via Pearl Harbor. During that deployment, she earned additional stars for her Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for duty in Vietnamese waters at various times in March, April, May, and June. She returned to the west coast late in the summer and, late in September, began a four-month overhaul at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.
Yorktown emerged from the shipyard in January 1961 and returned to Long Beach on the 27th. She conducted refresher training and then resumed normal west coast operations until late July. On 29 July, the aircraft carrier stood out of Long Beach, bound once again for the Orient. She made an extended stopover in the Hawaiian Islands in August and, consequently, did not arrive in Yokosuka until 4 September. That tour of duty in the Far East consisted of a normal schedule of antiair and antisubmarine warfare exercises as well as the usual round of port visits. She concluded the deployment at Long Beach on 2 March 1962. Normal west coast operations occupied her time through the summer and into the fall. On 26 October, the warship left Long Beach in her wake and set a course for the Far East. During that deployment, she served as flagship for Carrier Division (CarDiv) 19. She participated in a number of ASW and AAW exercises, including the SEATO ASW exercise, Operation Sea Serpent. The deployment lasted until 6 June 1963 at which time the carrier set a course back to Long Beach.
Yorktown arrived back in her home port on 18 June 1963 and resumed normal operations for the remainder of the year. Those operations continued throughout most of 1964 as well. However, on 22 October, she pointed her bow westward again and set out for a tour of duty with the 7th Fleet. Another period of operations in the Hawaiian Islands delayed her arrival in Japan until 3 December. The 1964 and 1965 deployment brought Yorktown her first real involvement in the Vietnamese civil war. In February, March, and April, she conducted a series of special operations in the South China Sea in waters near Vietnam — presumably ASW services for the fast carriers conducting air strikes against targets in Vietnam in support of the increased American involvement in the civil war in that country. She concluded her tour of duty in the Far East on 7 May 1965 when she departed Yokosuka to return to the United States. The carrier arrived in Long Beach on 17 May.
For the remainder of her active career, Yorktown's involvement in combat operations in Vietnam proved a dominant feature of her activities. After seven months of normal operations out of Long Beach, she got underway for the western Pacific again on 5 January 1966. She arrived in Yokosuka on 17 February and joined TF 77 on Yankee Station later that month. Over the next five months, the aircraft carrier spent three extended tours of duty on Yankee Station providing ASW and sea-air rescue services for the carriers of TF 77. She also participated in several ASW exercises, including the major SEATO exercise, Operation Sea Imp. The warship concluded her last tour of duty on Yankee Station early in July 1966, and, after a stop at Yokosuka, headed home on the 15th. She disembarked her air group at San Diego on 27 July and reentered Long Beach that same day. She resumed normal operations — carrier qualifications and ASW exercises — for the remainder of the year and during the first two months of 1967.
On 24 February 1967, Yorktown entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for a seven-month overhaul. She completed repairs early in October and, after refresher training, resumed normal west coast operations for most of what remained of 1967. On 28 December, she stood out of Long Beach, bound for her last tour of duty in the western Pacific. After a stop at Pearl Harbor, she arrived in the Far East late in January. Instead of putting in at a Japanese port for turnover Yorktown headed directly to the Sea of Japan to provide ASW and search and rescue (SAR) support for the contingency force assembled in the wake of the North Korean capture of USS Pueblo (AGER-2). She remained on that assignment for 30 days. On 1 March, she was released from that duty, and the warship headed for Subic Bay in the Philippines. During the remainder of the deployment, the aircraft carrier did another three tours of duty with TF 77 on Yankee Station. In each instance, she provided ASW and SAR support for the fast carriers launching air strikes on targets in Vietnam. She concluded her last tour of duty in Vietnamese waters on 16 June and set a course for Yokosuka where she stopped from 19 to 21 June 1967 before heading back to the United States.
Yorktown arrived back in Long Beach on 5 July and entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard that same day for almost three months of repairs. She completed repairs on 30 September 1967 and resumed normal operations. Late in November and early in December, she served as a platform for the filming of another movie, Tora! Tora! Tora!, which recreated the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In December she served as one of the recovery ships for the Apollo 8 space shot. The two unique missions mentioned above were conducted out of Pearl Harbor. She departed Pearl Harbor of 2 January 1969 and, after a two-week stop in Long Beach, continued her voyage to join the Atlantic Fleet.
Steaming all the way around South America, the aircraft carrier arrived in her new home port of Norfolk Va., on 28 February 1969. She conducted operations along the east coast and in the West Indies until late summer. On 2 September, Yorktown departed Norfolk for a northern European cruise and participation in the major fleet exercise Operation Peacekeeper. During the exercise, she provided ASW and SAR support for the task force. The exercise ended on 23 September and Yorktown began a series of visits to northern European ports. After a visit each to Brest, France, and Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Yorktown put to sea for a series of hunter/killer ASW exercises between 18 October and 11 November. She resumed her itinerary of port visits on 11 November 1969 at Kiel, Germany. After that, she stopped at Copenhagen, Denmark, and at Portsmouth, England, before getting underway for home on 1 December. She reentered Norfolk on 11 December and began her holiday leave period.
In February 1970, Yorktown transferred to Quonset Point, R.I., and was relieved by USS Intrepid (CVS 11) as the flagship for Commander Carrier Group 16. On 27 June 1970, Yorktown was decommissioned at Philadelphia, Pa., and was berthed with the Philadelphia Group, Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She remained there almost three years before her name was struck from the Navy list on 1 June 1973. During 1974, the Navy Department approved the donation of Yorktown to the Patriot's Point Development Authority, Charleston, S.C. She was towed from Bayonne, N.J., to Charleston S.C., in June of 1975. She was formally dedicated as a memorial on the 200th anniversary of the Navy, 13 October 1975.
Yorktown (CV-10) earned 11 battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation during World War II and five battle stars for Vietnam service.
See also USS Yorktown (CV 5)
Last Update: 26 May 2009