Located just across the sprawling Ravenel Bridge on the Mt. Pleasant side of the Charleston Harbor is Patriots Point, the home of the USS Yorktown and Naval and Maritime Museum. As you walk down the dock, passing American flags whipping in the wind, you can’t help but feel captivated by the history associated with this maritime giant.
The USS Yorktown can be seen from the shores of the Charleston Peninsula, as it sits 888 feet long weighing in at 30,000 tons. This large aircraft carrier isn’t a model; in fact it has a rich history of its own. The USS Yorktown served heavily in the Pacific Offensive that began in 1943 and ended with the defeat of Japan in 1945. It also received 11 battle stars for service in World War II and 5 more for service in Vietnam. Decommissioned in 1970, the USS Yorktown now serves as a museum ship and is designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Today, this decorated aircraft carrier houses 23 planes, a National Medal of Honor Museum, and serves as its own notable tour. With the purpose of preserving the history of the nation’s bravest, the USS Yorktown hosts unique educational programs and overnight camping excursions, as well as, serves as an exciting events venue.
When you first step onto the USS Yorktown and into the hanger bay, intricate planes of varying size and scope fill the space. These planes range in historical service from the B-25 Mitchell, used in WWII, to the A-6E Intruder, used during the 1991 Gulf War.
After you’ve finished gazing at the size and history of fighter jets, be sure to pay tribute to those who were awarded for going above and beyond the call of duty in the official Medal of Honor Museum. This museum features interactive exhibits that explain the origin of the Medal of Honor and its distinctions. Read about the brave men and women who are the embodiment of honor, courage and sacrifice as you experience their devotion to this country. The museum also serves as headquarters for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, one of the most exclusive organizations in the United States.
This Memorial Day weekend, take a walk through the rich Naval and Maritime history. Get a close up look at the engineered beasts that took flight in various wars, gaze out at the Charleston Harbor from the flight deck, and pay respects to those who served for our country. The USS Yorktown is also open daily for general admission, to purchase tickets and for more information please visit www.patriotspoint.org.