USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story – Haunted Carrier

Posted: October 31, 2013 in History, Uncategorized, World War II
Tags: , , , , ,


Originally I planned on writing the haunted story of the USS Hornet after completing the story of my father’s time on the carrier but then I thought that it is a story for Halloween.  After all, the USS Hornet is considered the most haunted ship in the Navy, past or present.


The USS Hornet (CV-, CVA and CVS-12) is a floating history of the US Navy where in her years of service, she housed a hospital, a tailor shop, a cobbler shop, three barbershops, and seven galleys.  She is the size of three football fields and could carry 3,500 servicemen.  Her history is spectacular with much already reported in my previous posts; however I’ll sum up her record:  Nine battle stars for military service, In WWII, her pilots destroyed 1,410 Japanese aircrafts and almost 1.3 tons of enemy cargo.  If ever there was a ship that would be haunted, it would be the Hornet since In her 27 years of service, there were 300 deaths from battles, accidents and suicides.  The USS Hornet holds the Navy record for the most suicides.  Very sad statistics.

Now a museum docked at the Alameda Naval Air Station in California, she is reported to be full of ghosts.  There has been a lot of unexplained phenomena reported by tourists and staff members since she arrived in Alameda and many skeptics are now believers.

  • unusual noises
  • items that come up missing
  • apparitions
  • Psychics and ghost hunters have investigated and agree that the activity is probably souls of the departed sailors carrying out their final orders.
  • People reported the feeling that someone touched or grabbed them when no one else was about
  • The spotted servicemen have not all been Navy
  • Report of ghostly figures that are real looking.  They blend in with the living.  They appear dressed in uniform, patrolling the hallways and carrying out their duties
  • They have been spotted on decks, climbing ladders and in the Combat Information Center.
  • Toilets mysteriously flush by themselves
  • Lights turn on and off on their own.
  • Men have been heard talking but no one is present.

The steam room is one of the most haunted sections of the USS Hornet.  One sailor believed to have died in the steam room remains there as he doesn’t know that he is dead.

Engine Room #1 was one of two engine rooms that provided propulsion power to the Hornet. Eight boilers produced the steam required to generate 150,000 horsepower.

Engine Room #1 was one of two engine rooms that provided propulsion power to the Hornet. Eight boilers produced the steam required to generate 150,000 horsepower.

There has also been a report of ghosts that are not American.  One spirit is believed to be a Japanese pilot who had been a prisoner of war on board during WWII.  He allegedly went mad in the small cell and inhabits the room and is still trying to get out.

Another ghost that is often seen is Admiral Joseph “Jocko” Clark who served as commander during WWII.

Here are a few of the witness accounts from the following website:  There are several more like these.

In early February, 2009 I was volunteering on USS Hornet with a group of my fellow US Coast Guardsmen. We were painting a compartment and a few of us were wearing white Tyvek paper suits. When our paint started running low I went off in search of the Hornet worker that was supplying our paint, getting lost in the process. As I wandered the passageways I came off a “side” passage onto the starboard main passageway, one deck below the hangar deck. I saw what I thought was one of my coworkers stepping off the main hall onto a side passage about 25 feet away from me. I called out to him but he kept walking and when I got to the hall he stepped into, there was a chain blocking the entrance and it was an empty compartment! Needless to say I was confused, but kept walking and eventually found my way back to the room we were painting. When I saw the coworker I thought I had seen earlier, I mentioned to him that I had called him in the passageway but he told me that he hadn’t left the room for about an hour. Later when I mentioned this to the Hornet employees, one lady said that I had seen the “Dress Whites Ghost”, apparently an apparition of a sailor wearing his dress white uniform!

Bob Eiess
Coast Guard Island
Alameda, California

I love ghost stories and shows on tv about ghost and ghost investigations. About 3 or 4 years ago, I visited the Hornet with my family and about 15 other people from our church. I knew stories about seeing soldiers at certain parts of the ship, and kept my eyes open, but didn’t see anything. After the tour, before we were leaving, my mom and I stopped off at the bathroom. We were the only ones in there, and when we went to wash our hands we were chatting. When we got over to the sinks, we could hear two guys talking (one of them actually sounded like a kid perhaps) pretty loud; not loud enough to understand what they were saying, but loud enough that we noticed and had to talk over them. We figured that there was a men’s restroom next door to the women’s, but when we walked out there wasn’t, so we just figured someone must have been outside talking and we just didn’t see them. A few months later, we were watching a ghost show and they talked about the Hornet. Sure enou gh, they showed the bathroom we were in and talked about reports of men talking near the sinks! It was very creepy and I for sure will never go there at night for one of those overnighters!


My husband and I went with my aunt to tour the USS hornet. At the end of the day when the tours were closing down, my husband drug me off into a section of the ship that was obviously not open to tourists. The hallways were dark, the side rooms had bed frames just tossed into them, debris strewn all over like a trash heap. I was getting nervous we would either get lost or get into trouble for being in a section that was closed. Suddenly a full uniformed officer came from around the corner. I knew for sure we were in trouble. He walked past us. He never made ANY eye contact, no acknowlegdment of our presence what so ever. He then turned into one of the rooms about 10 feet ahead. We followed behind him, and when passing the side room he went into, again piled high with bed frames and what not, he was gone. I told my husband we had to get out of there. Just then my camera crashed to the floor. The camera came apart from the strap. I have owned this camera for 8 years. Ne ver before and never since has the camera come off the strap. I think back now – and I think what sent off alarms was the lack of air movement as he walked by, and NO acknowldgement that we were even there. I truly believe we saw a ghost!


I was recently aboard the USS Hornet on a 4H Exchange Club trip with my host family and took lots of pictures but when I got home and started looking through the pictures I took, I noticed in the medical wing in one of the rooms I took a picture and when I took it the chair in the picture was empty and when I looked at the picture that night chills ran up my spine when I seen someone sitting in the chair in that picture that was wearing something that looked like an old time pilots helmet and looked like he was tied down. I asked all the people that were on that trip if they would look at the picture and they did and saw the same thing I did. Take it this was down in medical operating wing on Tuesday, July 4, 2006 around 4:25 pm.

Steven Shirk

Here is a video about the haunted USS Hornet.


Thanks for stopping by. Tell me what is on your mind.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s