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USS Wasp

Ten ships of the United States Navy have borne the name USS Wasp.

The first Wasp was a merchant schooner originally named Scorpion and purchased by the Continental Navy in late 1775. Wasp and sister ship Hornet set sail from Baltimore on January 14, 1776, becoming the first ships from the Continental Fleet to set to sea. Wasp served the Continental Navy well capturing many vessels to include: HMS Betsy, HMS Leghorn Galley and Two Brothers. Wasp also recaptured USS Success, previously taken by HMS Roebuck. In the fall of 1777, Wasp was run aground, set on fire and destroyed when its gunpowder exploded.

The second Wasp was a sloop constructed in 1806 and commissioned some time in 1807. Wasp operated along the coast of the U.S. during the War of 1812. Wasp's single action of war was in October 1812 when she engaged HMS Frolic in battle, firing from a distance of 50-60 yards. Both ships sustained heavy damage, but Wasp prevailed. Later that same day Wasp, heavily damaged and unable to fight or run, surrendered to HMS Poictiers. Wasp served briefly in the Royal Navy as HMS Peacock and was lost off the Virginia Capes in 1813.

The third Wasp was a schooner built in 1810. Put into action in July 1812 for a privateering foray, Wasp took two British merchant ships as prizes. She was returned to her owners in November, 1812. Rearmed and refitted she was chartered to the U.S. Navy during the summer of 1813. The last reference to Wasp's career was an advertisement for her owners to settle accounts on August 4, 1814. Presumably, Wasp was sold.

The fourth Wasp was a sloop chartered on Lake Champlain in the late summer 1813. Of small size and poor sail, Wasp saw no combat. Wasp was returned to her owners in early 1814 and the Lake Champlain battery transferred to the schooner USS Ticonderoga.

The fifth Wasp was a ship-rigged sloop-of-war constructed in 1813 and commissioned in early 1814. Wasp put to sea on May 1, 1814, for a war cruise to the western approach of the English Channel where she destroyed HMS Avon and captured 15 British ships including HMS Reindeer. Wasp was last seen in late November 1814 by a Swedish merchantman and was apparently lost in a storm at sea.

The sixth Wasp, originally the captured Confederate iron-hulled sidewheel steamer CSS Emma Henry, was renamed Wasp while under going repairs in June 1865. Her primary duties were protection of American interests in South America and the eastern coast of Africa. Wasp continued those duties until early in 1876 when she was surveyed, found unfit for further service and sold.

The seventh Wasp, a steam yacht commissioned at New York on April 11, 1898, spent its first year of operation between Florida, Cuba, and Puerto Rico in support of the blockade on Cuba. From the end of 1898 until being formally decommissioned in 1919, Wasp was used as a training ship and recruiting tool. Wasp was sold on December 1, 1919.

The eighth Wasp (CV-7) was an aircraft carrier that saw action in World War II in the Atlantic and Pacific. Although she proved invaluable to the war effort in many ways, her most noted contribution was the resupply of Malta on not only one but two occasions. After Wasp successfully launched aircraft on April 20, 1941, to assist Malta, Prime Minister Winston Churchill requested additional reinforcement. Wasp again passed through the Straits of Gibraltar and launched aircraft on May 9. Churchill sent a message to the Captain and the crew of Wasp, which said, "Many thanks to you all for the timely help. Who said a Wasp couldn't sting twice?" Wasp continued to serve in World War II, earning two battle stars, until she was torpedoed and sunk on September 15, 1942, during the Battle for the Solomon Islands.

The ninth Wasp (CV-18) was laid down as USS Oriskany in March 1942 and renamed on November 13. During World War II she operated in the Pacific theater, earning 8 battle stars, then placed out of commission and assigned to the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. Wasp was refitted for the jet age, recommissioned and assigned to both the East and West coasts from 1951-1953. In October 1956, Wasp was reclassified as an anti-submarine warfare aircraft carrier (CVS-18). Wasp participated in the Cuban blockade in November 1962 and recovered the Gemini 4 astronauts in June of 1965. Wasp went on to recover Gemini 6A and Gemini 7 in December of that same year and Gemini 9 and Gemini 11 in 1966. Wasp was decommissioned on July 1, 1972, and sold.

See USS Wasp (CV-18) for more detail.

The tenth Wasp (LHD-1) is the lead ship of her class of multipurpose amphibious assault ships.

General Characteristics