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  USS Enterprise CV-6
Yorkown Class Carrier

19,800 Tons (standard)
25,500 Tons (full load)
761' x 83' 2" x 25' 11" (built)
827' 5" x 114' 2" x 25' 11"
(As built)
8 x 5"/38 cal guns
4 x Quad 1.1" guns
24 x .50 cal MG

(October 1943)
8 x 5"/38 cal guns
8 x 2x40mm Bofors
6 x 4x40mm Bofors
50 x 20mm cannon

(September 1945)
8 x 5"/38 cal guns
5 x 2x40mm Bofors
11 x 4x40mm Bofors
32 x 20mm cannons

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USN June 1940

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USN March 15, 1942

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USN March 20, 1944

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USN November 7, 1944

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USN May 14, 1945
Ship History
Built by Newport News Shipbuilding Company. Laid down July 16, 1934 as a Yorktown-class aircraft carrier. Launched October 3, 1936 as USS Enterprise as the seventh U.S. Navy ship named Enterprise sponsored by Lulie Swanson, wife of Secretary of the Navy Claude A. Swanson. Commissioned May 12, 1938 in the U.S. Navy (USN) as as the sixth aircraft carrier of the United States Navy with Captain Newton H. White, Jr. in command. During her career, the aircraft carrier had several nicknames including Big E, Lucky E, The Grey Ghost and The Galloping Ghost.

For her shakedown cruise, steamed southward to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. On December 21, 19438 placed under the command of Captain Charles A. Pownall. Operated off the east coast of the United States and Caribbean until April 1939. Assigned to the Pacific Fleet, Enterprise transited the Panama Canal to San Diego then proceeded to Pearl Harbor. On March 21, 1941 placed under the command of Rear Admiral George D. Murray.

On November 28, 1941 departs Pearl Harbor with Task Force 8 (TF 8) under the command of Vice Admiral William F. Halsey, Jr. departs with twelve F4F Wildcats from Marine Fighting Squadron 211 (VMF-211) bound for Wake Atoll as reinforcements. On December 2, 1941 the twelve F4F Wildcats are flown off and land at Wake Island Airfield then the carrier departs bound for Pearl Harbor.

Pearl Harbor Attack
On December 7, 1941 at dawn Enterprise was at sea roughly 215 nautical miles west of Oahu. During the attack, Enterprise SBD Dauntless dive bombers arrived over Pearl Harbor and six were shot down by the Japanese planes including SBD Dauntless 2159. The carrier assembled her remaining aircraft in a search for the Japanese striking force, but failed to locate them. Afterwards, Enterprise enters Pearl Harbor for fuel and supplies and sailed early the next morning to patrol against any additional attacks on Hawaii.

On December 10, 1941, Enterprise planes attack and sink Japanese submarine I-70 north of Hawaii. On December 19, 1941 departs Pearl Harbor as part of Task Force 8 (TF 8) under the command of Vice Admiral William F. Halsey to an area west of Johnston and south of Midway to cover Task Force 11 (TF 11) and Task Force 14 (TF 14). After a brief layover at Pearl Harbor, the Enterprise group departed on January 11, 1942, to protect a convoy reinforcing Samoa.

On January 16, 1942 Enterprise crossed the equator and launched TBD Devastator 0335 on a reconnaissance mission and ran out of fuel and ditched. The crew survived for 34 days at sea in their life raft before reaching Puka Puka Island.

On February 1, 1942 assigned to Task Force 8 (TF-8) her carrier aircraft strike Kwajalein, Wotje, and Maloelap in the Marshall Islands, sinking three ships, damaging eight, and destroying numerous airplanes and ground facilities. Enterprise sustained minor damage from a Japanese counterattack then retires to Pearl Harbor for repairs.

On February 24, 1942 assigned to Task Force 16 (TF-16) striking force under the command of Vice Admiral W. F. Halsey composed of USS Enterprise (CV-6) with cruiser and destroyer screening force launch planes to strike Wake and Marcus. Afterwards, returns to Pearl Harbor for minor alterations and repairs. On April 2, 1942 on a patrol mission off Oahu launches nine SBDs on a patrol mission. During a side over maneuver, SBD 2136 collides with SBD 2165 causing both planes to crash, the pilots managed to bail out and were rescued but the passengers went missing.

On April 8, 1942, Enterprise departs Pearl Harbor to rendezvous with USS Hornet and steamed westward to launch 16 B-25 Mitchell bombers for the "Doolittle Raid" against Japan. On April 18, 1942 Enterprise fighters flew a combat air patrol (CAP) as the sixteen B-25 Mitchells of the "Doolittle Raid" take off. The task force was detected and after launching the B-25s and returns to Pearl Harbor on April 25, 1943.

Five days later, sent to the South Pacific, missing the Battle of the Coral Sea. On May 26, 1942 ordered back and entered Pearl Harbor and began intensive preparations for the expected Japanese attack at Midway. On May 27, 1942 aboard Enterprise, Doris Miller was bestowed the bestowed the Navy Cross by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz.

On May 28, 1942 Enterprise sortied as the flagship of Rear Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, CTF-16, with orders "to hold Midway and inflict maximum damage on the enemy by strong attrition tactics." With Enterprise in TF 16 were Hornet, six cruisers, and 10 destroyers. On 30 May, TF 17, Rear Admiral Frank J. Fletcher in Yorktown, with two cruisers, and six destroyers, sailed to support TF 16; as senior officer, Rear Admiral Fletcher became "Officer in Tactical Command".

Battle of Midway
On June 4, 1942 during the Battle of Midway in the morning four Japanese carriers launched attacks on Midway Island. Three hours after the first bomb fell on Midway, planes from USS Hornet strike the enemy fleet and 30 minutes later carrier planes from Enterprise and Yorktown joined the attack bombing bomb Soryu and Akagi and contrubute to the sinking of three Japanese aircraft carriers for a decisive American victory. Without damage Enterprise returns to Pearl Harbor on June 13, 1942.

South Pacific
After a month of overhaul plus rest and recouperation for the crew, the carrier departs July 15, 1942 for the South Pacific and assgined to Task Force 61 (TF-61) to support the August 7, 1942 U.S. amphibious landings on Tulagi and Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands. For the next two weeks, the carrier and her planes guard the sea lanes to the southwest.

Battle of the Eastern Solomons
On August 24, 1942 a strong Japanese force was spotted roughly 200 miles north of Guadalcanal and TF-61 sortied planes to to attack. During the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, Enterprise suffered three direct hits and four near misses that inflicted heavy damage. Aboard, 74 were killed and 95 wounded. Enterprise aircraft losses include TBF Avenger 00418 (2 MIA, 1 rescued). The Japanese lost Ryūjō sunk and transports with reinforcements bound for Guadalcanal were forced back.

Despite the damage, her damage control parties allow the carrier to depart under her own power back to Pearl Harbor arriving September 10, 1942. Afterwards, under repair until October 16, 1942 then again departs for the South Pacific.

Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands
On October 24, 1942 at the start of the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands joins USS Hornet CV-8 northwest of New Hebrides forming Task Force 16 (TF 16) USS Enterprise CV-6 under command of Rear Admiral Thomas Kinkaid with Task Force 17 (TF 17) USS Hornet CV-8 under command of Rear Admiral George Murray. The carriers were supported by USS South Dakota, three heavy cruisers: USS Portland CA-33, USS Northampton and USS Pensacola (CA-24), three light cruisers USS San Juan (CL-54), USS San Diego CL-53 and USS Juneau plus 14 destroyers.

On October 26, 1942 Enterprise scout planes located a Japanese carrier force initiating the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands was underway. Enterprise aircraft struck carriers and cruisers during the struggle, while the "Big E" herself underwent intensive attack. Hit twice by bombs, Enterprise lost 44 killed and had 75 wounded.

Despite serious damage, she continued in action and took on board a large number of planes from Hornet when that carrier was sunk. Though the American losses of a carrier and a destroyer were more severe than the Japanese loss of one light cruiser, the battle gained priceless time to reinforce Guadalcanal against the next enemy onslaught. Enterprise was now the only functioning US carrier in the Pacific Theater. On the flight deck, the crew posted a sign: "Enterprise vs Japan".

On October 30, 1942 Enterprise arrived at Nouméa for repairs, but renewed Japanese thrust in the Solomons demanded the carrier rapidly deploy departing on November 11, 1942 with repair crews from USS Vestal (AR-4) still working aboard.

Naval Battle of Guadalcanal
On November 12, 1942 during the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, Enterprise planes help sink damaged Hiei. By the end of the battle on November 15, 1942 Enterprise planes participated in sinking sixteen ships and damaging eight others. On November 16, 1942 arrives Nouméa to complete repairs with Fighting Squadron 10 (VF-10) temporarily operating from Tontouta Airfield.

On December 4, 1942 Enterprise conducts training off Espiritu Santo until January 28, 1943, when she departed for the Solomon Islands.

Battle of Rennell Island
On January 30, 1943, her fighters flew combat air patrol for a cruiser-destroyer group during the Battle of Rennell Island and claimed seven bombers shot down, losing F4F Wildcat 11758. Despite the destruction of a large majority of the attacking Japanese bombers by Enterprise planes, USS Chicago was sunk.

Afterwards, returned to Espiritu Santo on February 1, 1943 and operated in the vicinity for the next three months escorting U.S. vessels to the Solomons. Afterwards, Enterprise steamed to Pearl Harbor where, on 27 May 1943, Admiral Chester Nimitz presented the ship with the first Presidential Unit citation won by an aircraft carrier. On 20 July 1943, she entered Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for a much-needed overhaul.

While undergoing repairs in late 1942, Enterprise also received an extensive refit, which included an anti-torpedo blister that significantly improved her underwater protection.

Back in action by the middle of November 1943, Enterprise planes provided close air support for U.S. Marines landing at Makin Atoll between November 19, 1943 until November 21, 1943. During the night of November 26, 1943, "Big E" began carrier-based night fighter operations in the Pacific when a three-plane team from the carrier broke up a large group of land-based bombers attacking Task Group 50.2 (TG 50.2). On December 4, 1943 her planes participated in a strike against Kwajalein then departed for Pearl Harbor arriving five days later.

Next, Enterprise was assigned to Task Force 58 (TF 58) to conduct strikes in the Marshall Islands then support the U.S. landings on Kwajalein and provide close air support from January 29, 1944 until February 3, 1944.

Operation Hailstone Truk Lagoon
On February 17, 1944 and February 18, 1944 during "Operation Hailstone" Enterprise carrier aircraft with Task Force 58 (TF-58) attack Japanese shipping and targets at Truk. Enterprise made aviation history, when she launched the first night radar bombing attack from an American carrier, launching twelve torpedo bombers in this strike achieved excellent results, accounting for nearly one-third of the 200,000 tons of shipping destroyed by aircraft.

Afterwards, Enterprise detached from the main force of TF 58 escorted by one cruiser and six destroyers under the command of Rear Admiral J. W. Reeves and on February 20, 1944 launched two air strikes against Jaluit then to Majuro and Espiritu Santo.

On March 15, 1944 joined Task Group 36.1 (TG 36.1) and during March 19-25, 1944 provided combat air patrols (CAP) and close air support for the landing at Emirau Island. The carrier rejoined TF 58 on 26 March, and for the next 12 days, joined in a series of strikes against the islands of Yap, Ulithi, Woleai, and Palau. After a week's rest and replenishment at Majuro, Enterprise sailed (14 April) to support landings at Hollandia in mid April 1944 and then hit Truk during April 29-30, 1944.

On June 6, 1944, Enterprise with Task Group 58.3 (TG 58.3) sortied from Majuro to join the rest of TF 58 attacking the Marianas Islands. Between June 11-14, attacked targets on Saipan, Rota, and Guam and provided direct support to the landings on Saipan on June 15, and covered the troops ashore for the next two days. Aware of a major Japanese attempt to break up the invasion of Saipan, Admiral Spruance, now Commander 5th Fleet, positioned TF 58 to meet the threat.

Battle of the Philippine Sea
On June 19, 1944, the greatest carrier aircraft battle in history took place, the Battle of the Philippine Sea. For over eight hours, airmen of the United States and Imperial Japanese navies fought in the skies over TF 58 and the Marianas. By the end of the day, an American victory was apparent, and at the conclusion of the strikes against the Japanese fleet on 20 June, the triumph became complete. Six American ships were damaged, and 130 planes and a total of 76 pilots and aircrew lost. But with a major assist from U.S. submarines, three Japanese carriers: Hiyo, Shokaku and Taiho were sunk, and 426 ship-based aircraft were destroyed. Japanese naval aviation never recovered from this blow.

The battle over, Enterprise and her companions continued to support the Saipan campaign through 5 July. She then sailed for Pearl Harbor and a month of rest and overhaul. Back in action waters on 24 August, the carrier sailed with TF 38 and flew strikes against the Volcano and Bonin Islands between August 31, 1944 until September 2, 1944 Between September 6, 1944 until September 8, 1944 her planes flew missions against Yap, Ulithi, and Palau.

Battle of Leyte Gulf
After operating west of the Palau Islands, the Enterprise joined other units of TF 38 on 7 October and set course to the north. From October 10 to October 20, her aviators flew over Okinawa, Formosa, and the Philippines, blasting enemy airfields, shore installations, and shipping in preparation for the assault on Leyte. After supporting the Leyte landings on 20 October, Enterprise headed for Ulithi to replenish, but the approach of the Japanese fleet on October 23 brought her racing back into action.

During the Battle of Leyte Gulf spanning October 23–26, 1944, Enterprise planes struck all three groups of enemy forces, battering battleships and destroyers before the action ended. The carrier remained on patrol east of Samar and Leyte until the end of October, then retired to Ulithi for supplies. During November, her aircraft struck targets in the Manila area, and the island of Yap. She returned to Pearl Harbor on 6 December 1944.

Iwo Jima, Okinawa
Sailing 24 December for the Philippines, Enterprise carried on board an air group specially trained in night carrier operations. She joined TG 38.5 and swept the waters north of Luzon and of the China Sea during January of 1945, striking shore targets and shipping from Formosa to Indo-China. After a brief visit to Ulithi, the Enterprise joined TG 58.5 on 10 February 1945, and provided day and night combat air patrol for TF 58 as it struck Tokyo on February 16 and February 17.

She then supported the Marines in the Battle of Iwo Jima from the day of the landings, 10 February, until 9 March when she sailed for Ulithi. During one part of that period, Enterprise kept aircraft aloft continuously over Iwo Jima for 174 hours.

On March 15, departs Ulithi and her planes flew strikes against Japan including Kyushu, Honshu, and shipping in the Inland Sea. On March 18, 1945 lightly damaged by an enemy bomb and withdrew to Ulithi arriving six days later for repairs.

Kamikaze Damage
On April 5, 1945 arrived off Okinawa. On April 11, 1945 hit by a kamikaze and again was forced to withdraw to Ulithi for repairs. Returning to Okinawa on May 6, Enterprise aircraft flew patrols around the clock against kamikaze attacks.

On May 14, 1945 a kamikaze fighter piloted by Lt. Shunsuke Tomiyasu of the 721 Kokutai, 306th Squadron crashed into the flight deck and destroyed the forward elevator, killing 14 and wounding 34 men. The ship's forward elevator was blown approximately 700' into the air from the force of the explosion six decks below. The carrier departed for repairs at the Puget Sound Navy Yard, arriving June 7 and where she was still moored undergoing repairs when Japan surrendered on August 15 , 1945.

For her World War II service, Enterprise earned 20 battle stars, the most for any U.S. Navy warship during World War II. She also earned the Presidental Unit Citation (PUC). She was the only ship outside of the British Royal Navy to earn the British Admiralty Pennant. Her planes and guns claimed 911 enemy planes shot down. Her bombers claimed 71 ships sunk plus 192 others damaged or destroyed.

Post War
Repaired, Enterprise departed for Pearl Harbor then returning to the United States with 1,100 servicemen then departed via the Panama Canal to New York arriving October 17, 1945. Two weeks later, she proceeded to Boston for installation of additional berthing facilities.

Enterprise began a series of "Operation Magic Carpet" voyages to Europe, bringing more than 10,000 veterans back to the United States. During one trip to Europe, the ship was awarded a British Admiralty Pennant, the only ship not in the Royal Navy to receive this honor.

On January 18, 1946 entered the New York Naval Shipyard for inactivation. Decommissioned February 17, 1947. Although there were several attempts at preserving the ship as a museum / memorial, the fund raising efforts failed to raise enough money to buy the vessel from the Navy.

On July 1, 1958 sold for scrap to the Lipsett Corporation of New York City. Aterwards, Enterprise was broken up in Kearny, New Jersey. Scrapping was completed by May 1960.

A promise was made to save the distinctive tripod mast for inclusion in the Naval Academy's new football stadium, but was never fulfilled. Instead, a memorial plaque was installed at the base of what is known as "Enterprise Tower".

In 1984, a permanent "Enterprise Exhibit" was dedicated at National Naval Aviation Museum (NNAM) to display artifacts, photos and other items of historical interest.

The ship's bell is displayed at the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) and is traditionally rung after midshipmen victories over West Point.

One of her anchors is display at the U.S. Navy Museum (The Navy Museum) at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, DC.

The sixteen foot tall, one-ton nameplate from the stern of Enterprise is displayed near a Little League park in River Vale, New Jersey.

Afterwards, USS Enterprise (CVN-65) included one porthole from CV-6 plus other artifacts and mementos.

Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) - USS Enterprise (CV-6)
Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) - Pearl Harbor Attack, 7 December 1941 Carrier Locations - USS Enterprise Association Prisoners of War (POW) from Enterprise list from USS Enterprise

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Last Updated
December 24, 2023


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