The world's most famous aircraft carrier
Known as "The Big E",
Enterprise, commissioned in 1961, is the world's
first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. To this
day, she holds the records as the longest, tallest and
fastest carrier in the fleet.
designed the Enterprise. 16,100 drawings and 2,400
blueprints were made. The ship has about 625 miles
of electrical cables and 37 miles of ventilation
ducts! She has two 30-ton anchors and four
35-ton rudders. She was intended 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.
For years, USS Enterprise has stood fast in defense of freedom,
sailing into harm’s way on behalf of the American
people. She has been seen in all major
actions since her launch.
- October 24, 1962:
together with other ships in the
Second Fleet began a "strict quarantine of all offensive
military equipment under shipment to Cuba".
- July 31, 1964:
designated Task Force One and sent on Operation Sea
Orbit. A historic 30,565-mile voyage around the
world was accomplished without a single refueling or
Dec. 2, 1965: became the first nuclear-powered ship
to engage in combat when she launched bomb-laden
aircraft in a projection of power against North
Vietnam. Her hot decks launched 125 sorties on
the first day, unleashing 167 tons of bombs and
rockets on the enemy's supply lines. The next day
she set a record of 165 strike sorties in a single
- Jan. 19, 1971:
completed sea trials with her newly-designed nuclear
reactor cores which contained enough energy to power
her for the next 10 years.
- 1986: became the
first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to transit
the Suez Canal.
- March 1990: completed
her highly successful around-the-world, steaming more
than 43,000 miles from its long-time homeport of
- Sept. 27, 1994: sea
trials during which Enterprise performed an extended
full power run as fast as when it was new. She remains
the fastest combatant in the world.
- Dec. 16, 1998: initiated
Operation Desert Fox, the aerial assault of military
targets in Iraq, first with Tomahawk land attack
missiles and then air strikes by CVW 3. During the
70-hour operation, Team Enterprise launched more than
200 Tomahawk cruise missiles and dropped more than
675,000 pounds of ordnance.
- Starting June 3,
2004, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group joined in a
test of the Department of the Navy's new Fleet
Response Plan by deploying on Summer Pulse '04. Over
the following two months, USS Enterprise teamed up
with nations ranging from England to Morocco in a
series of multi-national exercises.
USS Enterprise is scheduled to be decommissioned in
2014-2015. She may end up as an
aircraft-carrier museum ship.