My uncle graduated in the rush class of 1942 on December 8, 1941 from the Naval Academy. He was assigned to the USS Hornet as gunner officer. He was aboard the Hornet when they took on the B-25's and sailed for the seas off Japan to launch the raid.
After the Hornet was sunk, he came home on leave. I was able to persuade the principal of the grade school to let him give a talk about the raid. Well, the idea caught on and all the schools had him give a talk. I had the honor of introducing my uncle Bob, Lt. Robert Thum as a survivor of the USS Hornet. Pretty heady stuff for a young second grader.
Gunners on board the Hornet fire at aircraft during battle. This scene would have been a familiar one to Jay's Uncle Bob.
An interesting story happened during the sinking of the Hornet. The day it was sunk, which was in the evening in Rock Springs, Wyoming, my Aunt had a feeling not all was right with her son. There was a large portrait hanging in their music room. She went in there and looked at the portrait of her son. In the background of the picture, the artist had painted a carrier with planes taking off. My aunt sat there through the night just looking at the portrait and praying. She later told us, a voice said, "Mom, I am alright, I will survive". Of course, there was a black out of the news and the sinking of the Hornet was not made public for several months. But she knew the Hornet had been sunk and her son did survive. The date this happened coincided with the date of the sinking of the Hornet.
The Hornet, already mortally wounded, is about to be hit by a damaged Japanese bomber, above left. The ship sank shortly after this. The ship was lost on October 7, 1942 during the Battle of Santa Cruz.