world war ii: uss enterprise

“Ordnancemen of Scouting Squadron Six (VS-6) load a 500 pound demolition bomb on an SBD scout bomber on the flight deck of USS Enterprise (CV-6), during the first day of strikes on Guadalcanal and Tulagi, 7 August 1942. Note aircraft’s landing gear and bomb crutch; also bomb cart and hoist.”

(NHHC: 80-G-10458)

“On August 24, 1942, while operating off the coast of the Solomon Islands, the USS Enterprise suffered heavy attacks by Japanese bombers. Several direct hits on the flight deck killed 74 men; the photographer of this picture was reportedly among the dead.”


“USS Enterprise (CV-6) TBM Avenger torpedo bombers warming up on the after flight deck during operations in the Pacific, circa May 1944. An F6F Hellcat fighter is on the midships elevator, in the foreground. The original Kodachrome color transparency was received by the Naval Photographic Science Laboratory on 29 May 1944.”

(NHHC: 80-G-K-1590)

“LCP(L) and other landing craft maneuver near USS Enterprise (CV-6) on 24 July 1942, during preparations for the invasion of Guadalcanal and Tulagi. 

Note SBD-3 scout bombers on the carrier’s flight deck. That in the foreground has interesting markings: the mission letter (S) appears on the fin, with the individual aircraft number aft of the fuselage star. The plane to the left illustrates the usual practice, with the mission letter (B) and individual aircraft number both painted forward of the star.”

(NHHC: 80-G-7863)

“Artwork titled “April Showers- USS Enterprise” by artist Commander Edward T. Grigware showing the flight deck and island of the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CV-6) in 1944. In the foreground a “yellow shirt” directs an F6F Hellcat as it taxis forward.”

(National Naval Aviation Museum: NNAM.1963.074.022)


The eight pre-war aircraft carriers of the US Navy and their fate.

  • CV-1, USS Langley
    • Sunk by Japanese carrier aircraft south of Tjilatjap, Java.
  • CV-2, USS Lexington
    • Sunk by Japanese carrier aircraft in the Battle of Coral Sea.
  • CV-3, USS Saratoga
    • Survived the war. Sunk in Operation Crossroads nuclear bomb test, 1946.
  • CV-4, USS Ranger
    • Survived the war. Scrapped in 1947.
  • CV-5. USS Yorktown
    • Sunk by Japanese submarine I-168 in the Battle of Midway.
  • CV-6, USS Enterprise
    • Survived the war. Scrapped in 1958-60.
  • CV-7, USS Wasp
    • Sunk by Japanese submarine I-19 southeast of San Cristobal Island.
  • CV-8, USS Hornet
    • Sunk by Japanese destroyers Akigumo and Makigumo following the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands.

Note: At the time of her sinking, USS Langley was a seaplane tender.

“Ships of the U.S. Pacific fleet anchored at Majuro, 25 April 1944, shortly before leaving to attack Truk. USS Enterprise (CV-6) is at right, with four Essex-class carriers beyond her. Battleships at left include USS Iowa (BB-61) and New Jersey (BB-62). There are three other fast battleships and three light carriers (CVL) present, as well as several old battleships, cruisers and auxiliaries.”

(NHHC: 80-G-225251)

F6F Hellcat fighter ready for launch on board USS Lexington (CV-16), during TF 58 airstrikes on the Mariana Islands, 13 June 1944. USS North Carolina (BB-55) and two other battleships of TG 58.7 in the background, with a light carrier of TG 58.3 in the distance. Carrier beyond the bow of North Carolina might be USS Enterprise (CV-6).

(NHHC: 80-G-236892)