11 Amazing WWII Color Pictures Of The USS Enterprise – “Big E”

En route to New York to take part in the Navy Day Fleet Review, October 1945. She is steaming in company with a light carrier (CVL) -- in the right distance-- and another warship

USS Enterprise (CV-6) was an Aircraft Carrier which was known to the troops as the “Big E”. Enterprise was a Yorktown-class carrier, was launched in 1936 and together with the Saratoga and the Ranger, they were the only three American carriers commissioned before the start of the Second World War to survive the war.

The USS Enterprise participated in more major actions of the war against Japan than any other US ship, these actions included the Battle of Midway, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands, various other air-sea engagements during the Guadalcanal Campaign, the Battle of the Philippine Sea, and the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

The Japanese announced on three separate occasions that she had been sunk, which earned her the name “The Grey Ghost”.

Enterprise earned a total of 20 battle stars, more than any other U.S. warship in World War II, and became the most decorated US ship that war.

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Operating in the Pacific, circa late June 1941. She is turning into the wind to recover aircraft. Note her “natural wood” flight deck stain and dark Measure One camouflage paint scheme. The flight deck was stained blue in July 1941, during camouflage experiments that gave her a unique deck stripe pattern.
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U.S. Navy Douglas SBD-2 Dauntless dive bombers and Douglas TBD-1 Devastator torpedo bombers (aft) on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) in early 1942.
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View of the bulged flight deck structure of the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6), resulting from a bomb that exploded below during the 24 August 1942 Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Photographed a few days later, after the ship had returned to port. Note the Atlanta-class light cruiser in the background.
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USS Enterprise (CV-6) Flight deck damage caused by a bomb explosion during the 24 August 1942 Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Photographed a few days later, after the ship had returned to port. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
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USS Washington (BB-56) and USS Enterprise (CV-6) Transiting the Panama Canal from the Pacific to the Atlantic, early in October 1945. They were then en route to the U.S. East Coast to participate in Navy Day celebrations. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
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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. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
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USS Enterprise (CV-6) Damage to the starboard quarter 5/58 gun gallery, resulting from a bomb that hit nearby during the 24 August 1942 Battle of the Eastern Solomons. Photographed a few days later, after the ship had returned to port. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
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USS Shannon (DM-25) Steams past task forces gathering for the Okinawa Operation, circa March 1945. Location is probably Ulithi Atoll. Ships in the near background include USS Flint (CL-97), in left center, and USS Miami (CL-89), at right. Three Essex class aircraft carriers are anchored in the middle distance. USS Enterprise (CV-6) is at the far left. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
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Photographed from USS Enterprise (CV-6) in August 1942, during the Guadalcanal Campaign. USS Saratoga (CV-3) is in the center, with a Farragut-class destroyer to the left and a New Orleans-class heavy cruiser to the right. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.
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Douglas SBD Dauntless scout bomber Takes off from USS Enterprise (CV-6) during operations in the Pacific Ocean, circa early 1944. The original Kodachrome color transparency was received by the Naval Photographic Science Laboratory on 29 May 1944. Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.

The Sad End

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Enterprise awaiting disposal at the New York Naval Shipyard on 22 June 1958; the recently launched USS Independence is fitting-out on the opposite pier face.