The USS Yorktown (CV-10) is a US naval aircraft carrier built during the Second World War. Commissioned in April 1943, the ship participated in several campaigns during its time before being decommissioned in 1970 and becoming a historical landmark in 1975. Now, the USS Yorktown is a museum ship residing in Patriot's Point, South Carolina.
The ship was the tenth aircraft carrier to serve in the US Navy, and was built in 1941 by the Newport News Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. The ship was originally named the Bon Homme Richard, but was renamed the Yorktown when the USS Yorktown (CV-5) was lost in the Battle of Midway in June 1942. It then became the fourth ship to bear the name, commemorating the Battle of Yorktown of the American Revolutionary War in 1781.
The ship took over 16 months to build and was launched on 21 January 1943. On April 15th of the same year the ship was commissioned at the Norfolk Navy Yard to be commanded by Capt Joseph J Clark, and from there she started her career in the Navy.
During her time she earned 11 battle stars and the Presidential Unit Citation for service in the Second World War, as well as 5 battle stars for Vietnam service. She's also been somewhat of a film star, having the Academy Award winning 1944 documentary "The Fighting Lady'' almost entirely filmed on board, as well as being used for the 1970 movie "Tora! Tora! Tora!''.
After being decommissioned in 1970, the Yorktown spent 5 years in reserve before being taken to Charleston to be the centerpiece of Patriot's Point Naval and Maritime museum. On the 200-year anniversary of the Navy, 13 October 1975, she was officially dedicated as a war memorial.
Since then countless visitors have boarded the ship, and many can fail to be amazed by the sheer size of it. Weighing in at 27,000 and being 872 feet long and up to 147.5 feet wide, she's a sight to behold. Despite her grand size she managed to reach a speed of 33 knots or nearly 40 miles an hour during her time in service, and housed a massive 90-100 aircraft in her enormous hanger bays.
The ship still houses some of the planes today in various exhibitions. There aren't any specific tours but it's self-guided with all the information you need, and as such you can spend as much or as little time on each exhibit as you like. Be prepared to spend around 3-4 hours there to make sure you see everything, and sensible shoes are a must - as you can imagine, there are rather a lot of stairways and ladders in such an enormous ship.
Patriot's Point is open daily from 9am to 6:30pm, only being closed on Christmas Day. Admission prices range from $8 for children (aged 6-11) to $16 for adults and children age $12 and over. Children under 6 and active military personnel in uniform get in free, and seniors and military personnel with ID get in for $13.