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USS Enterprise CV-6
The Most Decorated Ship of the Second World War

"Just as Enterprise deserves not to be forgotten, so too should her era not be forgotten."
Steve Ewing, from "USS Enterprise (CV-6): The Most Decorated Ship of World War II"

July 5, 1998 - Go to any Internet search engine, and type in "USS Enterprise". More than likely, what will appear on your screen will be page after page of listings for the starship USS Enterprise, of Star Trek fame. If you're persistent, you will eventually come across a few references to the more earthly ocean-going vessels named Enterprise, but such references are few and far between.

From Santa Cruz to Kyushu: a work-polished tool from James Shepherd's days in Enterprise CV-6.

The fact is that today, almost exactly 40 years to the day after Enterprise CV-6 was sold for scrap, the fictional starship Enterprise, sailed by a gallant but fictional crew, and engaged in challenging but fictional adventures, is far better known than the historic Enterprise CV-6, a wood-decked airplane carrier, manned by our fathers, grandfathers, brothers and uncles, which faced and fought a real and determined enemy, in service of this country.

One goal of CV6.ORG is to alter that balance: to become a complete, accessible, online source of information on Enterprise, "...the one ship that most nearly symbolizes the history of the U.S. Navy in World War II" (James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy).

A second goal is to relate a history of the Pacific War. Throughout the war, where Enterprise went, action soon followed. Of 22 major engagements with Japan, Enterprise missed just two, arriving a day late for the Battle of the Coral Sea (May 7-8, 1942), and leaving the Pacific theatre shortly before the Third Fleet sailed into Japanese waters in July 1945. With those two exceptions, to follow Enterprise is to follow the course of the Pacific War.

The final goal is offer recognition and gratitude for those who served in Enterprise, including my own father. James Shepherd, an Aviation Ordnanceman in V-5 Division, served in Enterprise from the fall of 1942 through the end of the war.

My father once described himself as "the scarediest sailor in the Navy." The men who served in Enterprise were ordinary men - boys, some of them - in extraordinary circumstances. Some, probably most, experienced moments of stark terror, and some, probably most, struggled to perform their duties amid the chaos and violence of combat. But with few exceptions, the sailors and airmen in Enterprise - my father included - kept cool, kept their heads, and fought.[1] They held the line against the full weight of the Japanese navy through even the last, bleak months of 1942, when Enterprise was the only operational U.S. carrier in the entire Pacific. When the tide of the war turned, Enterprise and her men could be counted on to be wherever the fighting was fiercest. If this web site accomplishes nothing else, my genuine hope is that it relates their story accurately and well, in order that they are remembered, and appreciated, for it.

Joel Shepherd
July 5, 1998

[1] Battle Order Number One, 28 November 1941

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