Heroism and Heritage: Jeep at the USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum

2020 Jeep Gladiator at USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum, Alameda, California
2020 Jeep Gladiator at USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum, Alameda, California.
Automobile ride-and-drives are a fairly common thing.  Between your local dealer's tent event, the area auto show, and manufacturers pitching a key group of potential buyers, to say nothing of press events, there's probably a ride-and-drive somewhere in America every single week, if not most days of the year.

But Jeep went all-out last week for a general public event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing by staging an event on the very aircraft carrier that plucked the Apollo 11 astronauts out of the sea after splashdown and ferried them to dry land with a United States president on board.

USS Hornet, Alameda, California
The USS Hornet.
That carrier is the USS Hornet, and since 1998, it's been a sea, air and space museum permanently anchored in Alameda, California, across the bay from San Francisco.

Apollo test module
Apollo test module.
Onboard, you'll find a test module of the capsule that the Apollo astronauts used to travel through space to the moon and back.

NASA Mobile Quarantine Facility
NASA Mobile Quarantine Facility.
Fifty years ago, we didn't know what we didn't know about moon germs (turns out there weren't any), so the astronauts were kept in quarantine and subjected to rigorous testing inside this specially-built Airstream trailer onboard the Hornet.

A peek through the window shows our returning heroes weren't exactly living in the lap of luxury:

And right at this spot, on this very ship, the astronauts greeted a VIP---through very thick glass and with the help of a microphone:

The USS Hornet was already assured of its place in history well before we began space exploration.  It was the aircraft carrier from which the United States launched its first retaliatory attack upon Japan following the Pearl Harbor bombing.  So, there's a fair amount of military history on board as well:

And military history, of course, leads us to Jeep---designed as a go-pretty-much-anywhere people mover for the Army in 1940, the earliest examples are the blueprint for the Jeeps of today:

It was all very amazing and enlightening---but the best part of the three-day event was on the Hornet's flight deck:

It was up top where Jeep set up an obstacle course and a series of tests to demonstrate the agility and ability of a variety of Jeeps, with special emphasis on the new Jeep Gladiator.   Professional drivers drove and we rode, and it was purely and simply a blast.

Big thanks to Jeep for the invite---and look for more about the Gladiator in the next few days.