Today in History, December 6: 1941 –
The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV6) was at sea, returning to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii after delivering a squadron of Marine fighter planes and their pilots to Wake Island.
Seas had been rough, and the Task Force’s timing was not what they wanted. The sailors were looking forward to Saturday night on Oahu and Sunday morning relaxing on the golf course or at the Royal Hawaiian. Instead the destroyer sailors spent the night being tossed about;
the Enterprise crew, aboard a larger ship, sat down in the hangar deck to watch the now famous motion picture, “Sergeant York” about a heroic soldier from WWI.
Some of the viewers, considered lucky because they would be aboard the scout flights assigned to fly ahead to Pearl the next morning, would be dead within hours. The rest would be the lucky ones…because of the delay, the Enterprise was not at her berth on the morning of December 7th.
The Enterprise and her crew would earn 20 battle stars during WWII. Her air crews would be responsible for a large part of the victory at Midway and she would play a large part in the battles during the Guadalcanal Campaign. She would, for a time, be the only American carrier in the Pacific.
So, had she not encountered that storm, had she been in Pearl on December 7, how different would the course of WWII been? How many more lives lost?