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Enterprise underway in the Atlantic Ocean during Summer Pulse 2004.
USS Enterprise underway in the Atlantic Ocean
Class overview
Name: Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Builders: Newport News Shipbuilding
Operators:  United States Navy
Preceded by: Kitty Hawk-class
Succeeded by: Nimitz-class
In commission: 25 November 1961
Planned: 6
Completed: 1
Active: 1
Career (United States)
Name: USS Enterprise
Ordered: 15 November 1957
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company
Cost: $451.3 million[1]
Laid down: 4 February 1958
Launched: 24 September 1960
Christened: 24 September 1960
Acquired: 29 October 1961
Commissioned: 25 November 1961
Decommissioned: Scheduled for 2013
In service: 12 January 1962 (maiden voyage)
Reclassified: CVN-65
Homeport: NAVSTA Norfolk
Status: in active service, as of 2010
General characteristics
Class and type: Enterprise-class aircraft carrier
Displacement: 73,858 long tons (75,043 MT) standard,
92,325 long tons (93,807 MT) loaded
Length: 1,123 ft (342 m)[2]
Beam: 132.8 ft (40.5 m) (waterline),
257.2 ft (78.4 m) (extreme)
Draught: 39 ft (12 m)
Propulsion: 8 x Westinghouse A2W nuclear reactors,
four sets Westinghouse geared steam turbines, 4 shafts
280,000 shp (210 MW)
Speed: 33.6 knots (62.2 km/h)
Range: Essentially unlimited distance; 20 years

5,828 (maximum)
Ship's company: 3,000 (2,700 Sailors, 150 Chiefs, 150 Officers)

Air wing: 1,800 (250 Pilots, and 1,550 Support personnel)
Sensors and
processing systems:
AN/SPS-48 3D air search radar
AN/SPS-49 2D air search radar
Electronic warfare
and decoys:
Mark 36 SRBOC
Armor: 8 inch (20 cm) aluminum belt (equivalent to 4 in (100 mm) rolled homogeneous steel armour)
Aircraft carried: Hold up to 90
70 (normally)[3]
Aviation facilities: flight deck: 1,123 ft (342 m)
Motto: Ready on Arrival;
The First, the Finest;
Eight Reactors, None Faster
Nickname: "Big E",[4]
Notes: 915 engineers designed the ship. They made 16,100 drawings and 2,400 blueprints. The ship has about 625 mi (1,000 km) of electrical cables and 37 mi (60 km) of ventilation ducts.[citation needed] The ship has 4 steam powered catapults.[5]
Seal of the Enterprise

USS Enterprise (CVN-65), formerly CVA(N)-65, is the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the eighth US naval vessel to bear the name. Like her predecessor of World War II fame, she is nicknamed the "Big E." At 1,123 ft (342 m), she is the longest naval vessel in the world, though her 93,500 ton (95,000 tonne) displacement places her as the eleventh heaviest supercarrier, surpassed by the 10 carriers of the Nimitz-class.

Enterprise is a single-ship class, and is the second oldest vessel still in commission in the United States Navy after the wooden-hulled, three-masted frigate USS Constitution. As the oldest carrier in the fleet, she was originally scheduled for decommissioning some time in 2014–2015 depending on the life of her current reactors and completion of her replacement, the USS Gerald R. Ford.[6] However, with the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, Enterprise is now set to retire in 2013 with 51 years of continuous service, the longest for any aircraft carrier in the history of the United States Navy.[7]

Enterprise is currently homeported at Norfolk, Virginia and scheduled to complete two more deployments before her decommissioning.[8] Her current commanding officer is Captain Ronald Horton.



Size comparison of some notably large ships and buildings:
 USS Enterprise, 342 m
 The Pentagon, 431 m
 RMS Queen Mary 2, 345 m
 Hindenburg, 245 m
 Yamato, 263 m
 Empire State Building, 443 m
 Knock Nevis tanker, 458 m

Enterprise was meant to be the first of a class of six, but construction costs ballooned and the remaining vessels were never laid down, resulting in her being the only ship of her class.

Because of the huge cost of her construction, Enterprise was launched and commissioned without the planned Terrier missile launchers. These were never installed and the ship's self-defense suite instead consisted of three shorter ranged RIM-7 Sea Sparrow, Basic Point Defense Missile System (BPDMS) launchers.[9] Later upgrades added two NATO Sea Sparrow (NSSM) and three Mk 15 Phalanx CIWS gun mounts.[10] One CIWS mount was later removed and two 21 cell RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile launchers were added.[11]

Enterprise is also the only aircraft carrier to house more than two nuclear reactors. Her eight-reactor propulsion design was rather conservative, with each A2W reactor taking the place of one of the conventional boilers in earlier designs. She is the only carrier to be fitted with four rudders compared to two for the other classes, and features a more cruiser-like hull.[12]

In addition to having the innovation of nuclear power, Enterprise also featured a phased array radar system designed to provide improved tracking of multiple airborne targets relative to conventional rotating antenna radars. Her early phased arrays are responsible for the distinctive square-looking island, up until their replacement circa 1980.[5]



Commissioning and trials

In 1958 Enterprise’s keel was laid at Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company. On 24 September 1960 the ship was launched, sponsored by Mrs. W. B. Franke, wife of the former Secretary of the Navy. On 25 November 1961 the Enterprise was commissioned, with Captain Vincent P. de Poix USN, formerly of Fighting Squadron 6 on USS Enterprise (CV-6),[13] in command. On 12 January 1962 the ship then made her maiden voyage conducting a three-month shakedown cruise. After commissioning, Enterprise began a lengthy series of tests and training exercises designed to determine the full capabilities of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

1960 to 1969

On 20 February 1962, Enterprise played a role as the tracking and measuring station for the flight of Friendship 7, the Project Mercury space capsule in which Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr. made the first American orbital spaceflight. In August of that year, the carrier joined the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean sea, returning to Norfolk, Virginia in October.

Cuban Missile Crisis

Soon after, Enterprise was dispatched to her first international crisis. For some months, the United States had been flying U-2 reconnaissance planes over Cuba, an island nation 90 mi (140 km) off the coast of Florida. During one such flight over Cuba pictures obtained from the spy planes revealed what appeared to be Soviet launch sites for nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba under construction. Fearing the worst, President John F. Kennedy began to prepare for military action against Cuba, moving several Army units to Florida and supporting these units with a strong naval force. President Kennedy ordered a naval and air quarantine on shipment of offensive military equipment to Cuba and demanded the Soviets dismantle the missile sites there. A blockade of Cuba was imposed. Enterprise, supported by the carriers USS Independence, USS Essex, and USS Randolph and backed by shore-based aircraft, commenced with the blockade. On 24 October, on the brink of war, the Second Fleet began a strict quarantine of all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba. By 28 October the crisis was averted.

1962 to 1969

Task Force One, the world's first nuclear-powered task force. USS Enterprise, USS Long Beach and USS Bainbridge in formation in the Mediterranean, 18 June 1964. Enterprise crew members are spelling out Einstein's mass-energy equivalence formula E=mc² on the flight deck. Note the distinctive phased array radars in the superstructures of Enterprise and Long Beach.

On 19 December 1962, a E-2 Hawkeye was catapulted off Enterprise in the first shipboard test of nose-tow gear designed to replace the catapult bridle. Minutes later, the second nose-tow launch was made by an A-6A, demonstrating one of the primary design goals of reducing launch intervals.

During 1963 and 1964, Enterprise made her second and third deployment to the Mediterranean, respectively. Also during the third Mediterranean deployment, the carrier was part of Operation Sea Orbit, the world's first nuclear-powered task force with the USS Long Beach and USS Bainbridge, which joined to sail around the world. In October, Enterprise returned to Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company for her first refueling and overhaul.

In November 1965, the Big E was transferred to the Pacific Seventh Fleet. The following month, on 2 December, she became the first nuclear-powered ship to engage in combat when she launched aircraft against the Viet Cong near Bien Hoa. Enterprise launched 125 sorties on the first day, unleashing 167 short tons (155 metric tons) of bombs and rockets on the enemy's supply lines. On 3 December 1965, she set a record of 165 strike sorties in a single day.

View of the Enterprise's stern during the fire of 1969

In January 1968, the capture of USS Pueblo by a North Korean patrol boat led to a diplomatic crisis. The Enterprise was ordered to operate near South Korean waters for almost a month.

In the morning of 14 January 1969, a MK-32 Zuni rocket loaded on a parked F-4 Phantom exploded due to ordnance 'cook off' after being overheated by an aircraft start unit mounted to a tow tractor.[14] The explosion set off fires and additional explosions across the flight deck. The fires were brought under control relatively quickly (when compared with previous carrier flight deck fires), but 27 lives were lost and an additional 314 personnel were injured. The fire destroyed 15 aircraft, and the resulting damage forced Enterprise to put in for repairs, primarily to repair the flight deck's armored plating.[15] In early March 1969, repairs to the ship were completed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and the ship proceeded on her deployment to Vietnam and the Tonkin Gulf.

Sailors aboard Enterprise battle a massive ordnance fire triggered by a Zuni rocket. January 14, 1969

On 14 April 1969, tensions with North Korea flared up again as a North Korean aircraft shot down an unarmed EC-121 Constellation which was on a routine reconnaissance patrol over the East Japan Sea from its base at Atsugi, Japan. The entire 31-man crew was killed. The United States responded by activating Task Force 71 to protect such flights over those international waters in the future. Initially, the Task Force consisted of Enterprise, Ticonderoga, Ranger and Hornet, with a screen of cruisers and destroyers. The ships for Task Force 71 were drawn mostly from Southeast Asia duty. This deployment became one of the largest shows of force in the area since the Korean War.

In all, Enterprise made six combat deployments to Southeast Asia from 1965 to 1972.

1970 to 1979

From 1969 to 1970, the Enterprise returned to Newport News Shipbuilding and went through an overhaul and her second refitting. In January 1971, she completed sea trials with her newly-designed nuclear reactor cores which contained enough energy to power her for the next 10 years. USS Enterprise then set sail for Vietnam, again to provide air support for American and South Vietnamese units.

In Vietnam, Enterprise, Oriskany and Midway accumulated a strike sortie count of 2,001 by 30 July 1971. Strike operations during July were disrupted when the carriers on station evaded three typhoons — Harriet, Kim and Jean. A slight increase in South Vietnam strike sorties occurred during the month. These were mainly visual strikes against enemy troop positions and in support of US helicopter operations. From August to November 1971, USS Enterprise was in operations on Yankee Station.

In December 1971 during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, Enterprise was deployed to the Bay of Bengal as a show of strength against India's naval blockade by INS Vikrant. A Soviet Navy submarine was also trailing the US task force. A confrontation was averted when the Americans moved towards South East Asia, away from the Indian Ocean.[16]

In October 1972, the United States ended all tactical air sorties into North Vietnam above the 20th parallel and brought Linebacker I operations to a close. This goodwill gesture of terminating the bombing in North Vietnam above the 20th parallel was designed to help promote the peace negotiations being held in Paris. The Enterprise and the other carriers had flown a total of 23,652 tactical air attack sorties into North Vietnam from May to October and US tactical air sorties during Linebacker I operations helped to stem the flow of supplies into North Vietnam, thereby limiting the operating capabilities of the North Vietnamese Army.

From October to December, Enterprise alternated with other carriers on Yankee Station during the bombing halt and remained on station. As a result of the bombing halt above the 20th parallel in North Vietnam, no MiG kills or US losses were recorded during this time.

18 December 1972: The United States resumed bombing campaigns above the 20th parallel under the name Linebacker II. During Linebacker II operations, Enterprise and other carriers on station reseeded the mine fields in Haiphong harbor and conducted concentrated strikes against surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery sites, enemy army barracks, petroleum storage areas, Haiphong naval and shipyard areas, and railroad and truck stations. Navy tactical air attack sorties under Linebacker II were centered in the coastal areas around Hanoi and Haiphong. There were 705 Navy sorties in this area during Linebacker II. Between 18 December and 22 December the Navy conducted 119 Linebacker II strikes in North Vietnam, with the main limiting factor on airstrikes being bad weather.

In December 1972, the North Vietnamese returned to the peace table and Linebacker II ended. In January 1973, the Vietnam cease fire was announced and American carriers ceased all combat sorties into North and South Vietnam.

From 28 January 1973, aircraft from Enterprise and Ranger flew 81 combat sorties against lines-of-communication targets in Laos. The corridor for overflights was between Hue and Da Nang in South Vietnam. These combat support sorties were flown in support of the Laotian government which had requested this assistance. Laos had no relationship with the cease-fire in Vietnam.

After the cease-fire in Vietnam, the USS Enterprise proceeded to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Washington, where the carrier was altered and refitted to support the Navy's newest fighter aircraft — the F-14 Tomcat. Two of four jet blast deflectors were enlarged to accommodate the Tomcat. The number four propulsion shaft was replaced due to being bent after its screw became fouled in a discarded arresting gear cable.

Although unable to support them at first, Enterprise was eventually refitted to handle the newer F-14 Tomcats, and operated with these fighters until their retirement from Enterprise in 2001.

On 18 March 1974, the first operational F-14 aircraft of VF-1 Wolfpack and VF-2 Bounty Hunters made their maiden takeoffs and landings from the carrier. In September 1974, Enterprise became the first carrier to deploy with the new fighter plane when she made her seventh western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment.

In February 1975, Typhoon Gervaise struck the island nation of Mauritius. Enterprise responded to calls for disaster relief from Mauritius, arriving at Port Louis the carrier personnel spent more than 10,000 man-hours rendering such assistance as restoring water, power and telephone systems, clearing roads and debris, and providing helicopter, medical, food and drinkable water support to the stricken area.

Operation Frequent Wind

In April 1975, Enterprise, Midway, Coral Sea, Hancock, and Okinawa were deployed to waters off Vietnam for possible evacuation contingencies as North Vietnam, in violation of the Paris Peace Accords, launched a conventional invasion of South Vietnam. On 29 April, Operation Frequent Wind was carried out by US Navy and Marine Corps helicopters from the Seventh Fleet. The Operation involved the evacuation of American citizens and "at-risk' Vietnamese from Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam under heavy attack from the invading forces of North Vietnam.

President Gerald Ford ordered the helicopter evacuation when PAVN shelling forced the cessation of the fixed-wing evacuation from Tan Son Nhut airport. With fighter cover provided by carrier aircraft, the helicopters landed at the US Embassy, Saigon and the DAO Compound to pick up evacuees. The last helicopter lifted off the roof of the US Embassy, Saigon at 07:53 on 30 April 1975 carrying the last 11 Marine Security Guards. During Operation Frequent Wind, aircraft from Enterprise flew 95 sorties.

1976 to 1979

In July 1976: Enterprise began her eighth WESTPAC deployment. In February 1977, Idi Amin, the President of Uganda, made derogatory remarks against the United States in public and Americans in Uganda were taken hostage. This was several months after the Israeli raid at Entebbe airport. Enterprise and her escort ships, having just left Mombasa after a port call, were directed to remain in the area and operated off the east African coast for approximately one week. At that point the ships were scheduled to be on their way home after a seven-month deployment. The ship's Marine detachment and air wing prepared for a possible mission to rescue and evacuate the Americans, but Amin eventually released all the hostages. The ships then steamed across the Indian Ocean at high speed to make their previously-scheduled final port call at NAS Cubi Point in the Philippines, then after dodging a typhoon, transited the Pacific at high speed to return home approximately on time.

In 1978, Enterprise underwent her ninth WESTPAC deployment, including port calls in Hong Kong, Perth, Australia, and Singapore. In January 1979, the carrier sailed into Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for a 30-month comprehensive overhaul. During this overhaul, the ship's superstructure was modified, removing the SCANFAR radars and the unique inverted cone-shaped top section which was three stories high. During the lengthy overhaul, Enterprise was referred to as "Building 65" by Navy and shipyard personnel.

1980 to 1989

In 1982, the carrier underwent her 10th WESTPAC deployment. In April 1983, Enterprise ran aground on a sandbar in San Francisco Bay while returning from deployment and remained stuck there for several hours.[17] Ironically, George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu, helmsman of the fictional starship USS Enterprise was aboard at the time as a Distinguished Visitor of the Navy.[18]. Even though groundings and collisions are usually career-enders for U.S. warship captains, the captain at the time, Robert J. Kelly, who had already been selected for promotion to commodore, eventually became a four-star admiral and commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.[19]

In 1984, the carrier underwent her 11th WESTPAC deployment. On 2 November 1985 she struck Bishops Rock on the Cortes Bank during exercises, damaging the outer hull and propeller. She continued operations and later went to drydock for repairs.

In 1986, the carrier underwent her 12th WESTPAC deployment. On 28 April 1986, Enterprise became the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to transit the Suez Canal. She went from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean to relieve USS Coral Sea, on station with USS America off the coast of Libya. The Enterprise entered the Mediterranean Sea to support "Operation Eldorado Canyon", the United States bombing of Libya. It was the first time in over 22 years that Enterprise had entered the Mediterranean Sea.

In April 1988, Enterprise underwent her 13th deployment and was assigned to Operation Earnest Will, escorting reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers in the Persian Gulf while stationed in the North Arabian Sea. The USS Samuel B. Roberts struck an Iranian mine in international waters. In response, Operation Praying Mantis was launched in retaliation, against Iranian targets involving both surface and air units. CVW-11 aircraft from Enterprise were a major participant. The initial American strikes centered around a surface group action against two Iranian oil platforms that had been identified as support bases for Iranian attacks on merchant shipping. Aircraft from CVW-11 provided air support for the surface groups in the form of surface combat air patrols, flying A-6 Intruders and A-7 Corsair IIs, and combat air patrols with F-14 Tomcats.

In September 1989, Enterprise left NAS Alameda, Ca., and began her 14th overseas deployment, an around-the-world cruise to the ship's new homeport of Norfolk, Va. In early December 1989, Enterprise and Midway participated in Operation Classic Resolve, President George H.W. Bush's response to Philippine President Corazon Aquino's request for air support during the rebel coup attempt. Enterprise remained on station conducting flight operations in the waters outside Manila Bay until the situation subsided, and then proceeded to her next stop on the deployment: Pattaya Beach, Thailand.

1990 to 1999

In March 1990, Enterprise completed her highly successful around-the-world deployment by arriving in Norfolk, Virginia. She had safely steamed more than 43,000 mi (69,000 km) from her long-time home port of Alameda, California, making ports of call in Hong Kong, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, Singapore, Rio de Janeiro, St. Thomas, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In October, the carrier moved to Newport News Shipbuilding for refueling and the Navy's largest complex overhaul refit ever attempted. During this overhaul, the Navy extended the carrier's length from 1,101 ft (336 m) to 1,123 ft (342 m), as well as other modifications to extend her service life.

On 27 September 1994: Enterprise returned to sea for sea trials, during which she performed an extended full power run as fast as when she was new.

On 28 June 1996, Enterprise began her 15th overseas deployment. The carrier enforced no-fly zones in Bosnia as part of Operation Joint Endeavor and over Iraq as part of Operation Southern Watch. The deployment also marked the end of an era when VA-75 retired the A-6 Intruder from the Navy. During the 6 month deployment the ship visited 8 ports. By December 1996 the ship completed her deployment. In February 1997, Enterprise entered Newport News Shipbuilding for an extended selective restrictive availability lasting four-and-a-half months.

USS Enterprise underway

In November 1998, following workups, Enterprise departed on her 16th overseas deployment, this time with CVW-3.

On the night of 8 November 1998, shortly after the start of the deployment, a EA-6B Prowler crashed into an S-3 Viking on the carrier's flight deck. The mishap occurred when the EA-6B was returning to Enterprise following night qualifications and struck the folded wings of the S-3 which was in the landing area of the flight deck. The crew of the EA-6B perished in the impact, but the crew of the S-3 ejected shortly thereafter. A fire broke out on the flight deck, but was quickly extinguished by the flight deck crew. Three of the four members of the Prowler crew were lost at sea. The remains of the fourth were recovered shortly after the crash. The two crew of the Viking were rushed to the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Virginia. No other crew members were injured. A search for three EA-6B Prowler crew members was suspended after nearly 24 hours and after covering more than 100 square nautical miles (340 km²) on the water and 700 nautical miles (1300 km) in the air.

On 23 November 1998, Enterprise relieved USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Persian Gulf. During a port call in Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates, the carrier hosted former President George H.W. Bush and a live concert by Grammy Award winning rock group Hootie and the Blowfish. In December 1998, the Enterprise battlegroup spearheaded Operation Desert Fox, destroying Iraqi military targets with more than 300 Tomahawk land attack missiles and 691,000 pounds (313 metric tons) of ordnance. The 70-hour assault was carried out by Enterprise, USS Gettysburg, USS Stout, USS Nicholson and USS Miami. On 23 December 1998, Secretary of Defense William Cohen, flew out to the carrier, bringing along his wife Janet, Senator Daniel Inouye from Hawaii, Representative John Murtha from Pennsylvania, and singers Mary Chapin Carpenter, Carole King and David Ball. The Secretary enjoyed lunch with sailors on the mess deck before he kicked off a concert on the flight deck.

Enterprise patrols the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Desert Fox

Following operations off Sicily, the carrier was to conduct a port visit in Cannes, France. However, the Yugoslavian peace talks in Rambouillet, France deteriorated and the carrier was ordered back to the Adriatic after only 24 hours in Cannes.

In early March 1999, Enterprise pulled into port at Trieste, Italy for the last Mediterranean port visit before returning to the Persian Gulf. She relieved USS Carl Vinson on 14 March 1999 and took over the helm of Southern Watch, returning home in May 1999.

During the 1998-1999 deployment, Enterprise steamed more than 50,000 mi (80,000 km) and spent 151 days underway. The aircraft of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) were launched over 9,000 times, logging approximately 17,000 hours in the sky. The Enterprise Battle Group was the first to deploy fully IT- 21 capable, affording the team unprecedented internal and external communication channels.

2000 to 2002

Enterprise, the world's first nuclear-powered carrier (background) with what was then the newest: French carrier Charles De Gaulle, 16 May 2001

On 25 April 2001, Enterprise began her 17th overseas deployment with CVW-8. From 18 June to 28 June 2001, the carrier and four escorts participated in an exercise with the British Royal Navy in a joint and combined warfare training exercise in the North Sea, near the Hebrides Islands and in Scotland.

Enterprise was beginning her voyage home from the Persian Gulf when the attack of 11 September 2001 was carried out. Without orders, the carrier did a 180° degree turn, came to flank speed, and headed back to the waters off Southwest Asia near the Persian Gulf, outrunning her escorts. In October 2001, the United States launched air attacks against Al Qaeda training camps and Taliban military installations in Afghanistan. The actions were designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a base for terrorist operations and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime. Over three weeks, aircraft from Enterprise flew nearly 700 missions and dropped large amounts of ordnance over Afghanistan. In late October, she returned to her home port.

On 10 November 2001 the carrier arrived at her home port of Norfolk, Virginia, 16 days later than originally planned. During her last day at sea, the ship hosted a live two-hour broadcast of ABC's Good Morning America. Garth Brooks performed a concert with Jewel from Enterprise on 21 November 2001 while she was docked in Norfolk, Virginia. The concert was carried live on CBS.

In January 2002, Enterprise entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Va. for a scheduled one-year Extended Dry Docking Selected Restricted Availability.

2003 to 2010

From 2003 to 2004, the carrier provided air support for Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004, the ship participated in Summer Surge 2004 and several multinational exercises.

From May 2006, Enterprise departed for a six-month deployment, however the ship was out for a total of six and a half months. During this deployment the ship visited 8 ports, operated in 6th, 5th and 7th Fleet AORs, and supported both Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. She returned to Norfolk 18 November 2006.

Enterprise became the first US naval vessel to make port in Cannes, France since the events of 11 September 2001.[20] In August 2007, the USS Enterprise joined the fleet near Iran.[21] On 19 December 2007, the carrier returned home after a six-month deployment in the Persian Gulf.[22]

In April 2008, USS Enterprise entered the Northrop-Grumman Newport News shipyard for a scheduled 18 month Extended Docking Selected Restricted Availability, with a projected completion date of September 2009. As of April 2009, the total cost of the overhaul was projected at $480.9 million, 6 percent higher than originally projected.[23]

As of December 2009, the ship is scheduled to complete two final deployments before decommissioning, with the total cost of her final overhaul increasing to $605 million, over 20 percent higher than initial estimates.[8][24]

Future prospects

Enterprise, the oldest active combat vessel in the Navy as of 2009, had been scheduled to be decommissioned as late as 2014. On April 6, 2009 Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, stated that he would be seeking a congressional dispensation to speed up the process. Under this new timetable, the ship would complete one final deployment before being decommissioned in late 2012 or early 2013. This would temporarily reduce the U.S. Navy to having only ten active aircraft carriers through the launch of the USS Gerald R. Ford in 2015. The Navy's reasoning for the earlier decommission date is due to the cost of operating eight nuclear reactors, which consumes a significantly larger amount of funds compared to the two-reactor Nimitz class. The process of taking the ship out of active service is expected to take some time due to the ship's eight nuclear reactors.

In October 2009, the House and Senate Armed Services Committees agreed with the recommendation, approving the decommissioning of Enterprise in 2013 after 51 years of service.[7] Enterprise will be the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier ever to be decommissioned by the United States Navy.[24]

As of August 2009, an Internet based petition is circulating for the proposal of converting the Enterprise into a museum ship after she is decommissioned.[25] The costs of doing so regarding her nuclear reactors has yet to be calculated by the United States Department of Defense. A petition has also been set up for the CVN-79 to be named as the ninth USS Enterprise.[26]

List of commanding officers

# Name Start of tenure End of tenure
1 CAPT Vincent P. De Poix[27] 01961-11-11 November 11, 1961[27] 01963-07-20 July 20, 1963[27]
2 CAPT Frederick H. Michaelis[27] 01963-07-20 July 20, 1963[27] 01965-07-17 July 17, 1965[27]
3 CAPT James L. Holloway III[27] 01965-07-17 July 17, 1965[27] 01967-07-11 July 11, 1967[27]
4 CAPT Kent L. Lee[27] 01967-07-11 July 11, 1967[27] 01969-07-08 July 8, 1969[27]
5 CAPT Forrest S. Petersen[27] 01969-07-08 July 8, 1969[27] 01971-12-03 December 3, 1971[27]
6 CAPT Ernest E. Tissot, Jr.[27] 01971-12-03 December 3, 1971[27] 01974-04-09 April 9, 1974[27]
7 CAPT Carol C. Smith, Jr.[27] 01974-04-09 April 9, 1974[27] 01976-12-10 December 10, 1976[27]
8 CAPT James W. Austin[27] 01976-12-10 December 10, 1976[27] 01980-02-23 February 23, 1980[27]
9 CAPT Robert J. Kelly[27] 01980-02-23 February 23, 1980[27] 01983-06-17 June 17, 1983[27]
10 CAPT Robert L. Leuschner, Jr.[27] 01983-06-17 June 17, 1983[27] 01986-01-27 January 27, 1986[27]
11 CAPT Robert J. Spane[27] 01986-01-27 January 27, 1986[27] 01988-10-28 October 28, 1988[27]
12 CAPT Harry T. Rittenour[27] 01988-10-28 October 28, 1988[27] 01991-08-07 August 7, 1991[27]
13 CAPT Daniel C. Roper[27] 01991-08-07 August 7, 1991[27] 01993-08-27 August 27, 1993[27]
14 CAPT Richard J. Naughton[27] 01993-08-27 August 27, 1993[27] 01996-02-02 February 2, 1996[27]
15 CAPT Michael D. Malone[27] 01996-02-02 February 2, 1996[27] 01997-11-10 November 10, 1997[27]
16 CAPT Evan M. Chanik[27] 01997-11-10 November 10, 1997[27] 02000-03-10 March 10, 2000[27]
17 CAPT James A. Winnefeld, Jr.[27] 02000-03-10 March 10, 2000[27] 02002-02-15 February 15, 2002[27]
18 CAPT Eric C. Neidlinger[27] 02002-02-15 February 15, 2002[27] 02004-12-10 December 10, 2004[27]
19 CAPT Lawrence S. Rice[27] 02004-12-10 December 10, 2004[27] 02007-05-17 May 17, 2007[27]
20 CAPT Ronald Horton[27] 02007-05-17 May 17, 2007[27] Current

Being the commanding officer of Enterprise has served as a large stepping stone in an officer's career. Almost all of Enterprise's commanding officers have gone on to achieve flag rank.[27]

Notable popular culture

Enterprise was supposed to appear in the film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, but was unavailable at the time of filming. Instead, the carrier USS Ranger (CV-61) played the part of Enterprise.[28]

In the film Top Gun, the Enterprise was depicted as the aircraft carrier in which the lead character Pete "Maverick" Mitchell (played by Tom Cruise) serves.

See also


  1. ^ Jane's American fighting ships of the 20th century New York, NY: Mallard Press, 1991. ISBN 0-79-245-6262
  2. ^ About the Big E
  3. ^ United States Navy Fact File
  4. ^ USS Enterprise: The Legend. U.S. Navy.
  5. ^ a b Capt Richard Sharpe OBE RN, ed (2000). Jane's Fighting Ships 2000-2001. Jane's Information Group Limited. p. 798. ISBN 0 7106 2018 7. 
  6. ^ Navy CVN-21 Aircraft Carrier Program: Background and Issues for Congress. Retrieved 8 December 2006.
  7. ^ a b "House and Senate Armed Services Committees agree FY 2010 Navy shipbuilding authorization"., October 10, 2009
  8. ^ a b "USS Enterprise repair bill now $605 million"., October 22, 2009
  9. ^ Jane's American fighting ships of the 20th century New York, N.Y. : Mallard Press, 1991. p 89 ISBN 0792456262
  10. ^ Encyclopedia Of World Sea Power by Tony Cullen p.68 ISBN 0517653427
  11. ^ 061031-N-0119G-115 Stbd side, RAM aft, DN-SD-07-21656 Forward Port side, RAM launcher
  12. ^ "The First and the Finest: Aboard the USS Enterprise". Retrieved 2007-07-14. 
  13. ^ Battle 360, "The Empire's Last Stand." Dir. Tony Long. History Channel. May 2, 2008 (2008-05-02)
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ This film extract shows some of the events. The film can also be seen on this website.
  17. ^ Enterprise runs aground
  18. ^ [2]
  19. ^ [3]
  20. ^ Cpl Mecure, James M. (21 December 2007). "Thunderbolts, Sidewinders return from 6-month deployment". Retrieved 2007-12-21. 
  21. ^ Enterprise Joins Fleet Near Iran
  22. ^ USS Enterprise Returns Home
  23. ^ Frost, Peter, "Navy: Cost Of Restoring Carrier Enterprise Grows By $6 Million", Newport News Daily Press, April 30, 2009.
  24. ^ a b "CNO wants faster decommissioning for Enterprise", April 7, 2009
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Signatures for A Petition to name the next United States Navy nuclear powered aircraft carrier the USS ENTERPRISE". Retrieved 2009-11-08. 
  27. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh List of USS Enterprise commanding officers
  28. ^ Star Trek IV credits. Note crew of Ranger is thanked near bottom of page.


External links

External media
USS Enterprise CVN-65 Photo Gallery at Maritimequest
Enterprise in War. Nuclear Carrier Joins 7th Fleet, 1965/08/30 (1965), Universal Studios at the Internet Archive
Vietnam Action. Enterprise Planes Support Troops, 1965/12/09 (1965), Universal Studios at the Internet Archive
Preceded by
USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63)
Oldest active combat ship of the United States Navy
Succeeded by

Coordinates: 36°57′27″N 76°19′47″W / 36.957498°N 76.329672°W / 36.957498; -76.329672


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