Visit Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum

Learn About the USS Yorktown & the Congressional Medal of Honor

A visit to the Charleston area of South Carolina is not complete unless it includes a trip to the Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum.

Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum has been the home of the WWII era aircraft carrier, the USS Yorktown since 1975. The ship is one of four vessels that act as floating educational exhibits for those interested in naval and maritime history and is the site of the Congressional Medal of Honor Museum.

Situated at the base of the Cooper River Bridge connecting Charleston and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, the museum is one of the most popular sites for area visitors and residents alike. The main attraction is the USS Yorktown, winner of 11 battle stars in WWII and five more during the Vietnam War making her one of the most highly decorated vessels in US naval history.

In addition to numerous military aircraft, displays, and exhibits, the newly renovated Congressional Medal of Honor Museum is located on the hanger deck of the Yorktown. The museum, which presents the history of the medal along with the men (and woman) who achieved our nations’ highest decoration of valor, reopened Memorial Day weekend, 2007.

The USS Yorktown CV-10, the Fighting Lady of WWII

The Yorktown on permanent display at Patriots point is an Essex class aircraft carrier, the fourth US Navy vessel to carry the name. The third Yorktown (CV-5), also an aircraft carrier, played an instrumental part in the Battle of Coral Sea in May 1942 but sank after receiving serious damage at the Battle of Midway in June of that year.

The Fighting Lady was built in an incredible 16 months and after being commissioned in 1943, immediately took up her battle station in the Pacific where she and her crew fought until the end of the war. Her illustrious career spanned the Korean War, the Cold War, and the Vietnam War before being decommissioned in 1974.

Congressional Medal of Honor Museum

In 2004, thieves stole seven Congressional Medals of Honor and a cap and jacket belonging to Admiral William Halsey from the museum on board the Yorktown. To date, none of the items has been recovered. This reprehensible act led to a campaign to fund much-needed renovations and in May 2007, the newly completed museum reopened after a hiatus of nearly a year.

Exhibits include artifacts, photographs, and descriptions of the unselfish acts of heroism performed by MOH recipients. Computerized kiosks provide the public with access to the individual stories of bravery and sacrifice that binds the recipients into the most exclusive military group in our nation’s history.

Additional Points of Interest at Patriots Point

In addition to the USS Yorktown, three other craft make up the floating portion of the facility including a destroyer, a cold war submarine, and a vintage Coast Guard cutter; two of which are available for touring. A memorial to those who fought the Cold War against the Soviet Union, several naval weapons, and a replica of a Vietnam firebase are also on display.

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