NASA, the Jeep® 4×4 and the USS Hornet, an All-American Event – July 26-28!

Categories: Gatherings 

In the darkness of WWII, a friendly set of headlights provided illumination, reliability and, according to President Eisenhower, one of the keys to winning the war. As the darkness of war lifted, technological advances, a booming economy and postwar optimism gave rise to the golden age of space exploration, and on July 20, 1969, two Americans became the first humans to walk on the moon.

A green 1944 Jeep vehicle.
A 1994 Jeep® vehicle.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, and the Jeep® Brand will celebrate with an event on the aircraft carrier USS Hornet, in Alameda, California, July 26 to 28, 2019. The event is free and open to the public. Participants are invited to pre-register to experience the first-ever ride and drive obstacle course with professional drivers on the deck of an aircraft carrier!

The USS Hornet, which had participated in three key WWII battles and completed three tours of duty in Vietnam, was given the honor of scooping the Apollo 11 capsule and astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins out of the Pacific Ocean. The legendary aircraft carrier has been converted into a museum, where visitors can see, among other exhibits, a collection of Apollo artifacts.

The Apollo 11 landing in the ocean with the USS Hornet standing nearby.
Apollo 11 recovery.

After Apollo 11 successfully reached and returned from the moon, the next step was to expand our ability to explore it. And that required wheels. A two-ton gas-powered Jeep® 4×4 didn’t quite fit the bill. But that didn’t stop NASA from putting several Jeep® vehicles to work in development of the 460-pound electric lunar rover that carried astronauts David Scott and James Irwin across the lunar landscape during the 1971 Apollo 15 mission.

1951 Jeep® M38 vehicle.

Jeep® 4x4s were used to simulate the lunar rover in tests of the remote control navigation system and to test flexible, puncture-proof airless tires. NASA scientists even studied the Jeep® DJ-5E “Electruck”, an electric mail carrier that was one of the most advanced electrical vehicles on the road in the 1970s.

A green JK 75th anniversary concept Jeep vehicle.
JK 75th Anniversary Concept

Visitors to the USS Hornet event will get to see a number of historical and concept Jeep® 4x4s, and it will be a great opportunity to check out the new Jeep® Gladiator, as well as the Wrangler, Cherokee and Compass. The museum’s displays include a collection of historical aircraft and visitors are invited to tour carrier operations areas such as the flight operations control center, engine room and hangar bays.

The USS Hornet Museum
USS Hornet Museum

So much history in one place! Plus a ride in a Jeep® 4×4! Can we give an aircraft carrier the Jeep® wave?

A tan JK staff car concept.
JK Staff Car Concept

Share This Article

1 Comment


Where was it used to test the Lunar Rover? The GM Defense Research Labs in Santa Barbara? Or the Grumman Research Lab in Long Island, NY?