a brief history of the uss enterprise

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A brief history of the USS Enterprise.

While working on our game, Victory At Sea we started researching suitable vessels for the game and is is usually the case it took us on lots of different paths we hadn't intended.One being the history of the name Enterprise over the course of the centuries and the role it played in history.

The Enterprise has seen many forms, it was initially a British ship captured during the America Revolutionary War, she has been a sloop of war, an aircraft carrier, the worlds first nuclear carrier and even a motorboat. She travelled the world on scientific expeditions, fought enemies in many theatres of war around the world, and defended the innocent from Pirates, harassed smugglers and slaver ships. The name is so iconic Enterprise it was the name of the first Space Shuttle built by NASA as part of the Space Shuttle Program as well as being the lead vessel in numerous Star Trek films and TV Shows. One day the VSS Enterprise is planned to be the first commercial suborbital spacecraft.

The celebrity status of the U.S.S Enterprise, the naming of the first space shuttle and the first commercial space shuttle is due to the fame of the starship Enterprise from Star Trek. If you want to find out a bit more I cover a brief history of each US & Continental Naval vessel to bear the name Enterprise.

1775The first ship to bear the name Enterprise was a Continental Navysloop of war that was built in Quebec, Canada during the American Revolutionary War by the British and originally named George. She was captured in 1775 by an American force lead by Colonel Benedict Arnold. The newly captured ship was armed with 12 guns and renamed Enterprise. After serving America during several battles in Lake Champlain, Enterprise was run aground on the 7thof July 1977 and burned to prevent her from falling into enemy hands

1776The second ship to be called Enterprise was a schooner, which served mostly in Chesapeake Bay. She was purchased for the Continental Navy in 1776 and was commanded by Captain James Campbell.The Enterprise carried out reconnaissance and guarded shorelines against British raids.

1799The third Enterprise was overhauled several times, initially she was classed as a 12 gun schooner but then converted to a 14 gun topsail schooner and eventually to a brig. The 1799 Enterprise saw action in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean and by the end of her service was used to combat pirates, smugglers and slavers. In 1823 she was stranded and broke up in the West Indies.

1831.The fourth Enterprise set sail for Brazil Station on the 12thof January 1832 to protect the United States interests overseas. In 1835 accompanied by a sloop the Enterprise set sail for the Far East, past Africa and India and eventually ending up in Honolulu in September 1836. After being decommissioned for several years and recommissioned in 1839, the Enterprise was eventually sold in 1844 after 12 of years of service as a United States Naval Schooner.1874The fifth Enterprise served as a survey ship initially on the Mississippi River but eventually took a three-year hydrographic survey where she sailed around the world. This voyage added to the understanding of the Ocean and its currents. Towards the end of her service this Enterprise was used as a training vessel until it was sold in 1909.

1917The sixth Enterprise was a motorboat. She served in the 2ndNaval District(Newport, Rhode Island) during World War 2.

1938The Seventh Enterprise was nicknamed the Big E. She was a Yorktown class Carrier and was launched in 1936. She took part in some of the fiercest naval combats of the Pacific theatre of war, including the Battle of Midway and the Guadalcanal Campaign. The USS Enterprise was one of only three aircraft carriers commissioned before WW2 to survive the war. She was decommissioned on the 17thof February 1947.

1961The Eighth Enterprise was the worlds first nuclear powered aircraft carrier and like her predecessor was also named the Big E. When launched she was the largest naval vessel in the world at 1,123ft and had 4,600 crewmembers. She was decommissioned on the 1stof December 2012.

While there are more vessels that have had the name Enterprise I am sure they are far from the last. There is already a new Aircraft Carrier with that name, set to sail in 2025. Some of the most impressive ships have borne the name and who knows what vessels will next carry that name, possibly even to the Stars?

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