Tag Archives: CV 6

Santa’s Reindeer, TBM edition

December 25, 1943: “On Christmas Day, Santa Claus arrives aboard the USS Enterprise (CV-6) in a dive bomber with six torpedo planes bearing names of his steeds, to distribute gifts. Lt. Louis L. Bangs (Air Group 10) plays the part. ‘Vexen’ in background.”

National Archives 80-G-207814 via NARA https://catalog.archives.gov/id/148728468

Several other TBMs of “Santa’s” team were photographed that day as well. 

According to DANFS, Enterprise began December 1943 in heavy action, raiding Japanese shipping around Kwajalein and Wotje Atolls at the close of Operation Galvanic— the Tarawa campaign– with her airwing damaging the light cruisers Isuzu and Nagara and sinking the cargo ship Tateyama Maru, among others.

Returning to Pearl Harbor on 9 December, she “stood down the channel and trained two days before Christmas 1943, and early in the New Year (4–7 January 1944) qualified planes flying from NAS Punnene. The ship’s next action occurred during Operation Flintlock — the occupation of the Marshalls.”

As for “Santa,” Bangs, a Kansan, would go on to earn the Navy Cross with VB-10 from Enterprise’s decks in the Philippines Sea just six months after the above image was snapped. Turns out, Kris Kringle could fight.

The Big E, at the end of an era, 75 years ago today

Here we see a Kodachrome of the sole surviving Yorktown-class carrier to make it out of WWII, USS Enterprise (CV-6), being pushed by tugboats, New York, 17 October 1945.

The 7th U.S. Navy ship to bear the name, Enterprise was present and in the thick of it at Midway, the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, the Santa Cruz Islands, Guadalcanal, the Battle of the Philippine Sea and the Leyte Gulf, winning 20 battlestars the hard way. From the period between USS Wasp‘s sinking on 15 September 1942 and USS Essex‘s entrance to the Pacific after rushed builder’s trials in May 1943, she and Saratoga, which earned 8 battlestars, were the only U.S. fleet carriers in the Pacific.

Decommissioned 17 February 1947, the Big E was scrapped in 1958 though remnants have of her have remained aboard both the 8th Enterprise (CVN-65) and the newest to carry the name, CVN-80.

Farewell Big E, you will live on

The Enterprise – CVN 65 – was the eighth Navy ship to carry that name. She was the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, her keel laid 4 Feb 1958 – exactly 59 years ago this month– at Newport News. Over her generations of service, some 250,000 Sailors and Marines walked her decks. Her decommissioning ceremony, above, was held in the ship’s hangar bay, Feb. 3. The ceremony not only marked the end the ship’s half-century career, it also served as the very first decommissioning of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

However, she will endure as Naval History and Heritage Command’s curators have combed the ship for artifacts.

Steel from her will be recycled into the hull of the new USS Enterprise (CVN-80) as will the portholes from her Captain’s cabin (which were carried on CV-6 during WWII!) and her bell.

One of six porthole frames and covers removed from the bridge of USS Enterprise (CV-6) in 1958. These portholes were installed in the Captain’s cabin aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65) and are slated to be installed aboard the next ship to bear the name of Enterprise, CVN-80.

One of six porthole frames and covers removed from the bridge of USS Enterprise (CV-6) in 1958. These portholes were installed in the Captain’s cabin aboard USS Enterprise (CVN-65) and are slated to be installed aboard the next ship to bear the name of Enterprise, CVN-80.

Plaque, Historical Data, USS Enterprise (CVN-65) 47 ¼” x 21 ½” x 1” Brass NHHC 2013.025.002 Headquarters Artifact Collection: Naval History and Heritage Command Eight U.S. Navy vessels have born the name Enterprise. This plaque displays the different engagements that each vessel bearing the name Enterprise was involved in since 1775. This plaque was on display aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) which is the longest serving aircraft carrier in United States Navy history with 51 years of active service.

Plaque, Historical Data, USS Enterprise (CVN-65)
47 ¼” x 21 ½” x 1”
Brass
NHHC 2013.025.002
Headquarters Artifact Collection: Naval History and Heritage Command
Eight U.S. Navy vessels have born the name Enterprise. This plaque displays the different engagements that each vessel bearing the name Enterprise was involved in since 1775. This plaque was on display aboard the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) which is the longest serving aircraft carrier in United States Navy history with 51 years of active service.

Bell, Ship’s, USS Enterprise (CVN-65) 23” x 22”, 200 lbs. Brass NHHC 2013.025.001 Headquarters Artifact Collection: Naval History and Heritage Command This bell hung within the hull of USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. During its career, the ship saw service as a tracking station for the Friendship 7 space capsule, performed blockade duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis, had six combat deployments to Southeast Asia, was refitted to support the brand new F-14A Tomcat, and deployed to the North Arabian Sea in the fall of 2001 to take part in Operation Enduring Freedom.

Bell, Ship’s, USS Enterprise (CVN-65)
23” x 22”, 200 lbs.
Brass
NHHC 2013.025.001
Headquarters Artifact Collection: Naval History and Heritage Command
This bell hung within the hull of USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. During its career, the ship saw service as a tracking station for the Friendship 7 space capsule, performed blockade duty during the Cuban Missile Crisis, had six combat deployments to Southeast Asia, was refitted to support the brand new F-14A Tomcat, and deployed to the North Arabian Sea in the fall of 2001 to take part in Operation Enduring Freedom.

And she will always endure in maritime art and in the hearts of those who walked her decks.

"Enterprise on Yankee Station" by R.G. Smith, Oil Painting, c. 1968. Accession: 88-160-EU Courtesy U.S. Navy Art Gallery, Naval History and Heritage Command

“Enterprise on Yankee Station” by R.G. Smith, Oil Painting, c. 1968. Accession: 88-160-EU Courtesy U.S. Navy Art Gallery, Naval History and Heritage Command