Listen to the legacy of the USS Yorktown who got her name in honor of those who gave their lives in the Battle of Midway. From aircraft carrier to anti-submarine carrier, learn how "The Fighting Lady" served our country in WWII and the Vietnam War.
Narrator: In honor of all American aircraft carriers, let us call her the Fighting Lady.
Tour Guide: Our keel was laid down on December the 1st, 1941, six days before Pearl Harbor, and we were going be called the USS Bonhomme Richard, John Paul Jones' ship. But after the Battle of Midway in 1942, when we lost the Yorktown CV-5, in honor of those men who gave their lives, and to help confuse the Japanese even more, they decided to name this ship the USS Yorktown.
I call this [ship the] Charleston's Titanic when I'm doing my tours up here. The main reason is because it’s the same length as the Titanic was at that time, 888 feet long, about four city blocks. [The USS Yorktown is] 14 and a half stories tall, weighs 37,900 tons, and carried a crew of 3,300 men onboard. [The ship] is 28 feet in the mud and has water in the tanks to keep it stable. We don't want [the ship] to break away and knock out a $680 million bridge, which is over here, connecting Mount Pleasant to downtown Charleston.
As far as World War II is concerned, the planes would start their take offs from right in this [central] area here. As we get into the jet age, they would move [the planes] on up to the catapult area. We did have a catapult on the starboard side in 1943 when we went into service against the Japanese. Then in 1944 the port side catapult [was added] over on the left side, right over there. You're looking up here on the flight deck where the jets were kept.
In Vietnam, [the USS Yorktown was] a CVS, which is an anti-submarine carrier. Originally, she started out as a CV carrier which is the Navy term for this type of ship and the “V” is the Navy term for a fixed wing heavier than air aircraft. [The ship] became a CVA, which is an attack carrier, and it finished out its career in Vietnam as a CVS, which is an anti-submarine carrier.
Like all service men and women in our great country, who serve their country proudly, each ship has her ribbons they wear. In this case, you can see the Yorktown's ribbons from World War II and from Vietnam. The very top one up there is, of course, the Presidential Unit Citation.
Narrator: For she is, and we salute the Fighting Lady.