USS Enterprise (CV-6)

Enterprise conducting post-refit trials off Puget Sound Navy Yard in September, 1945. US Navy photo.

Ship Class
Ship Type
Laid Down

Commissioned 12 May, 1938, USS Enterprise (CV-6) was the second on an eventual three Yorktown-class aircraft carriers built for the US Navy. The Big E (one of her many nicknames) operated with the Atlantic Fleet until Spring, 1939, when she was transferred to the Pacific. Enterprise began her rise to fame by appearing in the 1941 film Dive Bomber, before heading to the new fleet base at Pearl Harbor. In December, 1941, Enterprise was assigned to ferry Marine fighters to Wake Island, and missed the attack on Pearl Harbor by mere hours. Enterprise and her escorts refueled overnight, and sortied the next morning. She sank the Japanese submarine I-70 three days later, and spent the rest of the month on patrol to guard the damaged base. After escorting a convoy to Samoa, Enterprise began her war in earnest, raiding Japanese positions in the Marshall Islands over the next month. In April, Enterprise played second fiddle to her sister Hornet, providing fighter cover while the latter transported and launched the Doolittle Raid against Japan. Returning to Pearl Harbor in May, Enterprise was committed in the US ambush operation at Midway Island. Despite heavy losses, her air group managed to catastrophically damage the aircraft carriers Akagi and Kaga, and sank the heavy cruiser Mikuma. During the Solomons campaign, Enterprise was damaged multiple times in carrier fights. She was brought home in mid-1943 for a major refit, returning to service in November. The last of her class, Enterprise continued her campaign against Japan, participating in the Battles of the Philippine Sea and Leyte Gulf. She became a dedicated night operations carrier in December, 1944, with a specially-trained air group, and was re-designated CV(N)-6. Enterprise conducted night raids against Japan in March, before supporting the invasion of Okinawa. She took two kamikaze hits, the second of which put her out of the War. Enterprise was completing post-refit trials when the Japanese surrendered. She earned 20 battle stars during World War II, and was claimed sunk by the Japanese three times, but survived it all, earning the nickname "the Gray Ghost." Enterprise decommissioned into the reserve fleet in 1947. Plans to make Enterprise a memorial in New York fell through in 1949. Despite the best efforts of her former crew to rais funds to purchase the ship, Enterprise was sold for scrapping in 1958, with work completed in 1960.

Bonus Information

Fun Fact: Enterprise was the only ship outside the Royal Navy to be granted a British Admiralty Pennant.