USS Enterprise (CV-6): the most decorated ship of world war II
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Frank Albert - I was one of 13 children born and raised in the heart of Chicago during the great depression. It was an honor and a privilege to have served aboard the USS Enterprise (CV-6) during WWII. She was the ship with the greatest war record in the history of the World and will never be equaled. When the Navy sold her for scrap, America lost forever a great historical monument.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
... After three weeks of repair we left Ulithi Harbor and headed back to join the fleet covering the invasion of Okinawa. The crew aboard the Enterprise was becoming tense. We had been out at sea for over a year and now we were constantly under attack by the dreaded Kamikaze planes. Our luck was bound to run out. After all, with the many, new, front-line carriers with their steel armor plate flight decks, they should be able to relieve us. The Big E was old and battle worn. The old pre-war carrier with its wooden flight deck had been called to action once more. We were told by high command that Enterprise was still needed, not only because of our great fighting record, but also because the fleet was overjoyed whenever Enterprise came over the horizon to join them in battle.
Okinawa, only 360 miles from Japan, had to be taken. It was the largest island of the Ryukyu chain. One hundred eighty thousand American fighting men were invading the island with over 1400 ships at least 350,000 airmen, sailors and support troops. Our forces were stationed all across the Pacific from the Hawaiian Islands, Leyte, Marianas and Guadacanal. Enterprise was engaged in and supporting every one of these islands earlier in the war. Okinawa had to be taken in order to launch the attack on the Japanese homeland. It would be the last stepping stone to launch the invasion of Japan.
We were being constantly attacked by Kamikazes, day after day, off Okinawa. These deadly suicide pilots caused havoc on our fleet. The battle ships Nevada and Tennessee were hit along with the destroyer O'Brien and the cruiser Indianapolis. We also lost 30 ships along with over 300 ships damaged by the Kamikazes. Many of our carriers were also damaged because we were the primary targets.
Enterprise, now operating as a night carrier off Okinawa flew planes both day and night. Were were at battle stations around the clock. Midnight meals were once more served. We were too long out to sea to take general quarters for granted. We could actually see crews on other ships relaxing ans sun bathing. Not us. We always expected the worst. During a Kamikaze attack on May 11, I observed two, diving, suicide planes heading straight for the Bunker Hill from my vantage point in the crow's nest. The carrier was on our starboard side when it took both hits. Her flight deck was loaded with planes, gassed and armed. From my vantage point I could see huge flames bursting in the air and heavy black smoke rising into the sky. The Bunker Hill lost over 390 men and had over 250 wounded.
Bunker Hill was the flag ship when she was hit, with Admiral mitichner and his staff aboard. Because the Bunker HIll could no longer operate, the Admiral and his staff was transferred to the Enterprise. His staff must have been elated to become a part of the mighty Big E....
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Book Description Trafford on Demand Pub, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. illustrated edition. 202 pages. 8.25x6.25x0.50 inches. This item is printed on demand. Bookseller Inventory # zk1553693833
Book Description Trafford Publishing, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P111553693833