USS Hornet aka the Grey Ghost

The USS Hornet aka the Grey Ghost

2010-05-07 Sunny, highs in the 60’s….but we will be hiking on board a ship today

Before doing this over night trip (yes you heard me right, on this boat) I would have never of thought this school trip as a hike. Yeah well I’ve NEVER hurt so bad in all my life at the end of the day. I’m pretty sure I’ll need a hip replacement when I’m older….

San Francisco, as seen from pier 3 in Alameda

Park at pier 3 in Alameda, and you can’t miss boat. If you walk all the way to the end of the pier you can see the City.

These ships are massive, but if you were stationed on here in real life you wouldn’t be wandering far from your post, so you wouldn’t be doing all the walking that we did.

You see this ship is made of steel, which does not give under your feet at all.

This was an over night school trip. My thought is that they hike the kids for miles up and down (and up and down, and up and down….) these steep steal stairs in hopes to exhaust them for the sleep over.

the bakery

What were they thinking? The kids are young and resilient, the chaperones are the ones they are killing, lol. After they made the kids do kitchen duty by feeding us and cleaning up, we all broke up into groups and started the tour.

They had us sleeping right under the flight deck. Back in it’s working day this place was non stop noise. And in real life with all these kids it was also non stop noise.

This ship played a major role in WWII. It shot down 1,420 planes, and sunk 55 ships. It still has two Navy records of shooting down 72 planes in one day, and 255 in one month.

Sunset from the flight deck of the USS Hornet

You do not have to be with a school to do this. I would highly suggest doing this. The history on this boat alone is unreal.

There have been 8 USS Hornets since the American Revolution. This is the one we are on.

They should throw dinner parties up here. Of course that would only be good if one can see the City at night, and in SF Bay area you never know. We just got lucky.

Since this was a battle ship they made it so that it could be steered from 5 different points on the ship, in case of damage from incoming fire.

About half way through the tour the kids were starting to get tired, and I was in serious pain.

What you can’t see, because it’s night, is the wire cable on the flight deck. It’s over a mile long strung throughout the ship, and they would use to sling shot planes into the air.

At this point the children really should be carrying me up and down all these stairs, but apparently there is some sort of law against that.

the engine room

The engine room was really creepy.

All that white stuff around the pipes, looks like a giant plaster cast everywhere, is asbestos.

They said it’s treated now,this section we are in, but there are lots of spots on the ship that haven’t been, so this is why people can’t wander off. It’s truly not safe.

The steam is something like 800 degrees F, and can cut off your arm and seal it shut all at the same time if there is a leak. The steam was so hot you couldn’t see it. Very dangerous place to work.

We have advanced so much since then. In another 50 years who knows what our ships will look like, or what they will be able to do.

Everyone do yourselves a favor and wear your most shock absorbing shoes you can get your hands on before doing this hike.

And what did they do before letting us retire for the evening? Oh that would be showing us a movie on how this ship is haunted. Yeah, good going. That’s the way to calm down teenagers into sleeping the night away.

As you might imagine there was no sleep that night. No amount of coffee was going to do the trick the next day.

The raising of the flag the next morning brought a new respect for service people of our country. It’s not easy living on a ship.

Then after we packed up our belongs and took them off the ship, we came back on to do the museum tour. All the kids wanted to ride the flight simulator.

But at least this part is on one level. No more stairs.

Apollo Capsil

The USS Hornet also helped in the recovery of Apollo 11, the moon mission, and Apollo 12.

Can you imagine free falling to earth in that thing? There is no amount of money you could pay me to do that job!

I’m very lucky (even though can barely move at this point) to have been asked to chaperone this trip. I would have never of thought of a ship as a hike, but WOW what a work out, and the things you will learn.

USS Hornet Museum
3rd St
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 521-8448

This entry was posted in East Bay Hikes, Hiking, Museum and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to USS Hornet aka the Grey Ghost

  1. odonata9 says:

    I was searching for photos of ship engine room and came across these photos via Google Image. Would like to see if we’d be able to use 2 of these photos for another pupose. You can contact me at julie.souza AT marsh dot com if you are able to do so (or my wordpress account). I realize this is an odd request, but they are hard things to find photos of!

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