USS Enterprise decommissioned.
Fifty-five years after she entered service as the U.S. Navy's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVN 65) officially decommissioned Feb. 3 in Newport News, Virginia.
Commissioned in November 1961, the "Big E" made her maiden voyage that January. Her first year in service was quite eventful, beginning with her initial shakedown cruise, which featured the recovery of astronaut John Glenn upon his return from becoming the first American to orbit the Earth. That October, Enterprise was one of five carriers dispatched as part of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Two months later, Enterprise pioneered modern-day carrier operations when she became the first flattop to launch aircraft using a nose-tow gear, or launch bar, which replaced the catapult bridle.
Enterprise played a pivotal role in defending freedom around the world for more than a half century, from the Cuban Missile Crisis up through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan--she launched the first strikes against al Qaeda and Taliban targets following the 9/11 attacks. Through years of global presence, Enterprise cemented the Navy's worldwide maritime superiority, ensuring security and prosperity worldwide.
The eighth ship to bear the name Enterprise, CVN 65 was retired from active service in December 2012. At her inactivation ceremony, then-Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the third Ford-class carrier, CVN 80, would become the ninth flattop named Enterprise.
The decommissioning ceremony honored the Big E and many accomplishments of her crew who, over more than 50 years, numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
From Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Public Affairs.
Caption: Guests observe the inactivation ceremony of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65).
Please note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.