19,800 ton Yorktown class aircraft carrier vessel, the USS Enterprise, was constructed in Newport News, Virginia. In May of 1938, the carrier was commissioned by the United States Navy. The ship made voyages to South America and then continued naval operations in Caribbean waters.
Action in World War II
The USS Enterprise was later instructed to perform functions in the Pacific Ocean in April of 1939. The Enterprise also played a crucial part in defending Pearl Harbor against the Japanese air fleet and submarine attack on December 7th, 1941.
On December 10th of 1941, it destroyed a submarine and numerous Japanese air fleets. Afterward, in 1942, the Enterprise operated in defense missions such as the South Pacific attack in the Marshalls, the Wake Island relief expedition, the Doolittle Raid, and the Battle of the Coral Sea.
In June of the same year, at the Battle of Midway, the Enterprise air fleet assisted in shooting down one Japanese cruiser and three Japanese aircraft carriers. The Enterprise then went on to engage defenses at the Guadalcanal campaign, the Battle of Eastern Solomons, and the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands. In August and October of 1943, the Enterprise was hit by Japanese bombers. Despite the substantial damages the Enterprise sustained, the naval vessel aided in the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.
From late 1943 to early 1944, the Enterprise engaged in attack against the Central and South Pacific Japanese bases. From June to July of 1944, the naval vessel played a part in the Battle of the Philippine Sea under the Marianas operation. From August to December, the Enterprise continued to assist in numerous raids, in addition to attacking enemy ships at the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
After receiving a special night operations air team at the end of 1944, the Enterprise played roles in the Luzon campaign, as well as in missions in the South China Sea, Iwo Jima, Japanese islands, and Okinawa. After two repairs for Kamikaze damages sustained, a major hit taken by a Kamikaze on April 11th of 1944 sent the vessel back to the United States.
After the War
After the Japanese surrender in 1945, the damages incurred by the Enterprise were completely repaired. The Enterprise assisted in returning many naval soldiers to the United States after the completion of the war. In October of 1945, the Enterprise was presented at Fleet Review. In February of 1947, the Enterprise was decommissioned and in October of 1952, the Enterprise became re-designated as CVA-6 , and in August of 1953, CVS-6. After various efforts to memorialize the USS Enterprise failed, the vessel was sold for scrap metal in July of 1958.
Asbestos in Navy Ships
Although an essential component of the naval fleet, even today, aircraft carriers also pose a lasting health risk to soldiers serving on them. Unfortunately, products containing asbestos were common, especially on older ships, because of the material’s high resistance to heat and fire. Despite its value as an insulator, asbestos fiber intake can lead to several serious health consequences, including mesothelioma, a devastating cancer without cure. Current and former military personnel who came into contact with these ships should seek immediate medical attention in order to detect possible health consequences associated with asbestos exposure.