USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story – Battle of Ormoc Bay (November – December 1944)

Maryann Holloway not only brings us her father’s WWII Naval story, but a well researched account of the Battle of Ormoc Bay. There are a number of photos, perhaps some you have never seen before.  I hope you find it interesting.

USS Hornet (CV-12)-A Father's Untold War Story

John T. Ryan US Navy John T. Ryan US Navy

The world is still at war and my father, Seaman First Class, John Thomas Ryan is still serving on the USS Hornet (CV-12).

A VF-11 F6F getting a wave off while another Hellcat taxies out of the way, Dec. 1944 on USS Hornet (CV-12). A VF-11 F6F getting a wave off while another Hellcat taxies out of the way, Dec. 1944 on USS Hornet (CV-12).
The famous "Murderers Row" at Ulithi lagoon, December 1944, as seen from USS Wasp (CV-18): USS Yorktown (CV-10), USS Hornet (CV-12), and USS Hancock (CV-19). The famous “Murderers Row” at Ulithi lagoon, December 1944, as seen from USS Wasp (CV-18): USS Yorktown (CV-10), USS Hornet (CV-12), and USS Hancock (CV-19).

The ship’s log did not specifically mention this; however according to Wikipedia, in the months following the Battle Leyte Gulf, Hornet attacked enemy shipping and airfields throughout the Philippines. This included participation in a raid that destroyed an entire Japanese convoy in Ormoc Bay.

The Battle of Ormoc Bay was a series of air-sea battles between Imperial Japan and the United States in the Camotes Sea in the Philippines from 11 November-21 December 1944, part of…

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About GP

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GP is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on October 21, 2017, in First-hand Accounts, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 33 Comments.

  1. Maryann has an excellent post here, GP. I had never heard of Purple or Magic either.


  2. Again another Excellent post or re post gp, the raid that destroyed an entire Japanese convoy in Ormoc Bay was quite an achievement, fantastic piece of military history well put together.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a very interesting post. I’m from the Philippines and I heard stories of WWII from my grand father. It’s very nice to read another great story. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you happen to remember anything your grandfather told you as we go along into 1945, please leave it here in the comments. The other readers and I enjoy first-hand accounts!


  4. Three thing caught my attention here. First was the Hellcat — my mother worked on those as a riveter. She was one of the real “Rosies.” And that flight deck really hasn’t changed much. A cousin’s son is a Navy pilot. He doesn’t fly missions any more, but thanks to him I’ve been up close and personal to their trainers. Looking at those tailhooks can focus the attention.

    And then there’s that Purple machine. I don’t know anyone who was involved in that side of things during WWII, but a friend was a cryptologist while in the Navy — one of those who floated around on a ship akin to the Pueblo, out of uniform and pretending not to be Navy. There are a lot of things we’re never privy to. Even in his case. years and years after his service, he never said much. I suppose that’s one reason he was selected — his ability to be quiet. What’s that about “loose lips sink ships”? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much for the added history and comment, Linda. It is always a pleasure hearing from you. You must be very proud of your mother – those women have only “Rosie” to help give them recognition, but oh what a job they did!! Seeing those ships, planes, etc up close sure do give you a whole new perspective on things don’t they?!! Pictures don’t do them justice.


  5. Thanks, I forwarded a link to the original story to a FB friend who served on the Hornet during the 60s.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fascinating read. I enjoy anything to do with battles in the Philippines.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That was some read GP, thanks for the link.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. More than interesting and so very important.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. In Japan, it is called “Ormoc Transportation Operation”.:D
    The story of strategy winning can be enjoyed “exciting and Enjoy” as a Reading!! 😀

    Reading these fights,I feel about the war like this,
    It seems the composition that the Brain and Authority(because of their own profit ) draw strategy on the desk ,and the soldier fights as Chess Piece on the Battle fields.
    Japan fights to protect own country, but I feel that The Battle of USA and others seems “Pofit makes Money with useing own citizens in the War for their own benefit”.

    A war for someone’s profit … If it is not so, I think it is naturaly to make Properly ensure Guarantee to the Vterans.
    If Veterans who fought for Japan for us, we respect them and naturally Guarantee their lives until the end of life, I think.

    Because,All Veterans are “Hero”.


    • In some ways i agree with you, Nasuko. But Japan was not just fighting for herself, she had taken many islands and territory simply for the resources they could supply. The people of Japan had no way to really understand what was happening, as the few in power controlled what the Emperor himself heard, controlled the schools, newspapers and radio stations and the military. The US had forced Japan into much of her situation by stopping the supplies she imported, but that was after the invasion of China.
      Anyone who sacrifices part or all of his life in the military to serve his country – in my book is a hero.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dr.GP Cox,
        > Anyone who sacrifices part or all of his life in the military to serve his country – in my book is a hero
        I agree with you !!

        In the war, the winning countries change all History and convey as Justice.
        America ‘s or other’s insist history is not always right.
        Because,That is “The war”.

        Thanks for the reply! !
        And thank you for the introduction of awesome post! ! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  10. A hugely detailed and illustrated historical story, as well as a family memoir. Very interesting to read, and so well-researched too.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. GP – THANK YOU for re-blogging this fine post!
    I haven’t yet read all the way through the comments, so excuse me if this is repetitious: U.S.S. Hornet, CV-12, for those who don’t already know this, is now a museum ship at Pier 3 of the former Naval Air Station, Alameda, California in the San Francisco Bay Area. CV-12 is docked at the very same pier where her predecessor, Hornet CV-8, took on the B-25 “Mitchell” bombers that were used in the famous Doolittle Raid on Tokyo in April, 1942. CV-8 was lost in the Battle of Santa Cruz Island in the Philippines in October, 1942 after being one of the three victorious U.S. Yorktown-class carriers at the Battle of Midway, June, 1942. CV-12 was under construction when CV-8 was lost and was slated to be christened “Kearsarge.” But our Navy has had a Hornet in its fleet almost from the inception of the Navy, so CV-12 was christened Hornet rather than Kearsarge.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I can’t believe the detail she’s included. What a battle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I thought so. I hoped the readers would also find it interesting. You wonder how people dare do so much complaining after learning just how much was sacrificed to protect their freedoms.


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