13 Plane Carriers Receive Citations
Naval Commendations Assert 'Ships Bore Brunt of Pacific Air-Sea Offensive'
WASHINGTON, June 29 (AP) - Thirteen battle-scarred
aircraft carriers, most of them charter members of famed Task Forces 38 and 58, today were
awarded Presidential Citations or Navy Commendations for "extraordinary heroism in action."
The Navy narrative of flattop heroism covered all the great Pacific naval actions
from the time the United States began launching carriers in volume in 1943 until the Japanese
surrendered three years later.
It said the thirteen ships "bore the brunt of the Pacific air-sea offensive."
Eight ships received the Presidential individual citation:
The Lexington, dubbed "Mitscher's Blue Ghost" by the baffled Japanese
because it eluded them from Tarawa to Tokyo and participated in virtually every major carrier
action of that period, for operations between Sept. 18, 1943 and Aug. 15, 1945: the Essex, in
action without letup Aug. 31, 1943, to Aug. 15, 1945; the Bunker Hill, "Holiday Inn"
to her fighting sons, because, come a holiday, she always was in the thick of a battle and
sweated out fifty-eight consecutive days and nights in action at Iwo Jima, Tokyo, the Inland
Sea, Kyushu and Okinawa, Nov. 11, 1943 to May 11, 1945.
Five other ships received the Navy Commendation:
The Enterprise, the "Big E" of the fleet and first capital ship to
receive the Presidential Commendation (previously awarded), Nov. 19, 1943 to May 14, 1945; the
Wasp, May 19, 1944 to Aug. 15, 1945; the Hancock, Oct. 10, 1944 to Aug. 15, 1945; the Langley,
Jan. 29, 1944 to May 11, 1945; the Cowpens, Oct. 5, 1943 to Aug. 15, 1945.
The Citations, identical for each ship, said they "spearheaded the
concentrated carrier warfare in forward areas, struck crushing blows toward annihilating
Japanese fighting power and fiercely countered the enemy's aerial attacks."
The Citation told the story of Fleet Admiral William F. "Bull"
Halsey Jr. and two carriers, the old Yorktown and the Enterprise, made up a "task
force" of early war days. Their "sorties" frequently were lone-wolf expeditions.
Navy Men In Appeal To Save Big Carrier
New York, July 17 - All hands were called to
action stations yesterday in an appeal to save the aircraft carrier U. S. S. Enterprise
(known in the Navy as the "Big E") from being relegated to the reserve fleet. The
appeal was issued by a committee organized by Rear Admiral Reginald R. Belknap, USN retired,
and L. Porter Moore, national executive director.
Since the ship was commissioned in 1938, it is estimated that 32,000 officers
and men from all parts of the country have served aboard her, many of them in the Pacific
fighting. Admiral Belknap's committee, known as the "Save The Enterprise Committee,"
the address of which is care of the United States Patriotic Society, 512 Fifth Avenue, asked
all who had served in the Enterprise to join in the drive to keep the ship from going into
"moth balls." Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal has offered the vessel to the
State of New York as a war memorial and as a training ship, but no action can be taken until
the State Legislature reconvenes.
Next Tuesday a meeting will be held aboard the Enterprise, which is tied up
at Bayonne, N. J., to bring about the formal organization of the association. The skipper
of the Enterprise, Comdr. Conrad W. Craven, will preside.