The fourth ship of war to bear the proud name Yorktown, and the second to see service in World War II, USS Yorktown (CV-10) bears her proud name in honor of that gallant Yorktown (CV-5) lost at the Battle of Midway in 1942. Quickly earning a reputation for excellence, Yorktown (Cv-10)’s first war cruise was preserved for posterity in the film “The Fighting Lady”. This Essex-class aircraft carrier’s World War II record includes Marcus, Truk, the Philippine invasion, the Marianas, Guam and the battle for the “Home Islands”.
With the advent of peace, Yorktown spread her “Magic Carpet”, returning more than 10,000 men to the United States. She rested in the reserve fleet from 1947 until the war trumpets sounded in Korea. From April 1952 until the armistice, Yorktown and her aircraft guarded the allied forces. She received a major “face-lift” in 1958 when she was modified for anti-submarine warfare. After several deployments to the Far East, including service in the Taiwan Straits, Vietnam and off Korea as a result of the Pueblo capture, the “Fighting Lady” was chosen as the prime recovery ship for the Christmas 1968 moon-girdling flight of Apollo 8. On December 27, astronauts Frank Borman, James Lovell and William Anders piloted their Apollo 8 spacecraft to within 3,000 yards of USS Yorktown, thus bringing a close to their 10-orbit flight around the moon.
After returning to Long Beach to bid adieu to her Pacific Fleet home of 26 years, Yorktown left the west coast for her last homeport, Norfolk, VA on January 21, 1969. She joined the Atlantic Fleet, participating in NATO exercises, SPARKPLUG and PEACEKEEPER. She served as the pilot ship for a newly formulated operational readiness testing program and cruised the Eastern Atlantic.