Fayette County

USS Yorktown reunion planned in Lexington

Survivors of the World War II aircraft carrier USS Yorktown will meet in Lexington June 2 to 5 for a reunion.

The gathering at Hilton Suites Lexington Green coincides with the 69th anniversary of the Battle of Midway during which the Yorktown was sunk. It's the first time the Yorktown survivors have met here.

In the June 1942 battle, the Yorktown and her sister carriers USS Enterprise and USS Hornet ambushed a huge Japanese naval force intent on seizing the important American-held island of Midway in the Central Pacific.

Though heavily outnumbered, the Americans sank four Japanese carriers and several other ships, saving Midway and changing the course of the Pacific war. The Yorktown was lost in the fighting, but most of her 2,200 crewmen escaped.

Midway is still considered one of history's most important battles.

During the Lexington reunion, Yorktown survivors will tour horse farms, visit Woodford Reserve Distillery and relive old times. But Lexington's Joan Cunningham, who is helping organize the reunion, said only a few aging survivors are likely to be on hand.

"The men who remain are now in their late 80s or early 90s, and only nine were able to attend the 2010 reunion," she said. Cunningham's late father, Bayard Bernard, was a Yorktown survivor.