The U.S. Navy has had a variety of famous ships. Most of these date back to the 1940s, as it was then that the Navy was involved in a series of naval battles with the IJN. These are a few of the ships that are among the more famous in U.S. naval history.

USS Arizona

The Arizona was a battleship added to the U.S. Navy in 1916. At about 37,000 tons it was then among the largest battleship's constructed. This was among the dreadnoughts that the U.S. Navy was adding to its fleets.

The USS Arizona was a flagship of the U.S. Navy during the interwar period. It was not called up into any naval engagements during this period, but at any rate it was a reminder of what the Navy could call upon if ever they joined China in its war with the Japanese Empire during the 1930s.

During the 1930s, the Navy added it to the U.S. Pacific Fleet. This fleet was at Pearl Harbor, which became the target for the Japanese Empire as the Allies established an economic embargo in the early '40s. Operation Z was the bold plan which went ahead in late 1941. On December 7, 1941 hundreds of Japanese aircraft flew over the battleships stationed at Pearl Harbor, dropping armor-piercing bombs that ensured the demise of the USS Arizona. The ship remains at the bottom of Pearl Harbor today.

USS Yorktown[1]

The USS Yorktown was one of the aircraft carriers of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. After Pearl Harbor the carrier was called up for further naval support in the Pacific. This began with the transporting of Marine reinforcements, and then some early naval battles with the IJN.

The USS YorktownCredit: Licensed as public domain on Wiki Commons.

It was at the Battle of Coral Sea, a battle that was the first dominated by carriers. Then the Japanese sent troop transports to occupy Port Moresby, but first their aircraft carriers had to clear Coral Sea. In this naval engagement Japanese aircraft bombed the Yorktown and Lexington, and the Lexington was lost at sea. However, the Yorktown still remained afloat and returned to port for further repairs. As the Japanese withdrew before occupying Moresby, the Allies could celebrate something of a victory.

The Yorktown was quickly repaired and replenished for the Battle of Midway in 1942. In this naval battle the U.S. fleet was coming up against larger number of Japanese ships. Four Japanese aircraft carriers, with generally more effective planes, headed to Midway Island. However, the surface fleet ships were largely superfluous in this naval engagement which began in the skies over Midway Island.

During this naval battle the Japanese lost all of their aircraft carriers, which SBD Dauntless planes sank. But not before two waves of Japanese planes broke through to strike at the Yorktown, which was subsequently set ablaze. The crews did what they could to dampen the fires, but abandoned ship. When salvage ships arrived, it seemed the carrier could make it back to port. However, a Japanese submarine intercepted it and its torpedoes ensured that the aircraft carrier went down.

USS Enterprise (CV-6)[2]

The USS Enterprise was added to the U.S. Pacific Fleet in the late 1930s. After Pearl Harbor it was available for further naval support in the Pacific. This aircraft carrier was among the most effective in the Pacific, as it could not be taken out by the IJN. It was a part of the fleets at the triumphant Battle of Midway, Battle of Santa Cruz, Battle of the Philippine Sea and Battle of Leyte Gulf. In 1945, the carrier also provided further support for land battles in the Pacific. In all the Enterprise picked up 20 battle stars, more than any other U.S. Navy vessel during the period.

Whilst this carrier was not preserved, the Navy built more advanced Enterprise aircraft carriers. Among them was the first nuclear aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), commissioned in the 1960s. That too is another famous ship of the U.S. Navy, which was partly inspired by the original Enterprise ship.

USS Missouri

The USS Missouri was a battleship added to the Pacific Fleet in 1944. As a battleship it provided naval support for amphibious landings, bombarding Japanese coastal positions from the sea. When the Pacific War ended, it was aboard this ship that Japan surrendered at Tokyo Bay.

After the Pacific War, the USS Missouri remained a part of the Navy. Although the U.S. Navy abandoned it in the 1950s, the Missouri was modernized in the 1980s and returned for further naval support. In the early 1990s, it provided naval support in the Persian Gulf before it was anchored at Pearl Harbor. It remains there today as a preserved museum ship, the only remaining ship from the Pacific War.

These are four famous ships of the U.S. Navy. From the Arizona to the Enterprise, they were at the forefront of the Navy that provided naval support for both naval engagements and land campaigns in the Pacific and beyond.