DT Photo Tribute: 50 Years of USS Enterprise

DT wishes a happy birthday to the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise. She was commissioned 50 years ago this month and despite being the only ship of her class built, paved the way for the very successful Nimitz class nuclear carriers. In addition to her eight nuclear reactors, the Enterprise was equipped with an early version of another weapon system that would one day become a hallmark of the U.S. Navy; the massive SCANFAR phased array radars that led to the development of the powerful Aegis radar system now used on all U.S. cruisers and destroyers. The Big E’s eight reactors would be replaced by two far more powerful and efficient reactors in the Nimitz class ships and he SCANFAR radars had plenty of problems. Still, she taught valuable lessons about both of these technologies and served as a springboard for serious technological leaps. Oh yeah, and she’s seen plenty of combat.

She’s set to decommission sometime in the next few years to make way for the USS Gerald R. Ford.

To celebrate her 50th, DT has put together these photos (after the jump) of the ship that ushered in a new era in carrier tech.

Under construction at Newport News, Va.,  in the late 1950s:

A brand new Enterprise. Who can tell what those aircraft are at her stern?

JFK watching flight ops from the Big E’s bridge:

A picture taken next to an F-4 Phantom showing A-5 Vigilantes and the new ship’s island:

The iconic photo showing the Enterprise sailing alongside the nuclear-powered cruiser USS Long Beach and the nuclear-powered frigate USS Bainbridge in 1964. The ships made up the first-ever nuclear-powered naval task force and sailed around the world in 65 days without a single refueling or replenishment:

A great photo showing the massive A-5s preparing to launch from Enterprise. Notice how big the Vigilantes, designed as nuclear bombers, are next to the F-8 Crusader (sitting on the forward elevator) and the A-4 Skyhawk ( about to launch from the port bow catapult):

The Enterprise ablaze in the Pacific Ocean in 1969 after Zuni rocket accidentally went off on board. The massive fire took 28 lives and destroyed 15 aircraft:

Another shot showing crewmen and a destroyer fighting the blaze:

A newly modernized Enterprise in 1983, note how the big SCANFAR radars are gone from her island but a 1950s-vintage A-4 is still flying from her flight deck:

The hangar deck in 1964:

The hangar deck in 2000 (you can even see a couple of boats in there!):

The Enterprise steaming alongside France’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the FS Charles De Gaulle in 2001:

An F/A-18E/F Super Hornet about to launch from the Enteprise’s waist catapult:

Another great picture of a Super Hornet about to launch from the Big E:

A Sea Hawk helo flies in front or the Enterprise as the ship is underway:


  • Max

    I have it on pretty good authority (I was once a sailor) that those 8 nuke reactors could drive the Big E a lot faster than 30 knots, and I mean faster.

    • DEWright_CA

      You are right; I know a former ChEng from Big-E and he said it could ‘MOVE’!!!

    • mike

      I did time on the Big E in the early 70’s,and yes…it went much faster.

    • robert132

      Yeah, a LOT faster. Even after 50 years her top end is still classified but it’s known she can run her gas turbine powered escorts over the horizon. They can out accelerate her but her top speed is greater. She was the fastest carrier in the fleet until the Reagan’s updated underwater bow allowed the newer ships (CVN-76 and later) to edge her out, barely.

      • Ken

        When I was aboard in 89-90, at 3 AM I timed her going 37 knots! The ship felt as if it was going to shake apart. I went to the fantail and the glow from the prop wash was well over a mile.

        • David

          I was bearthed above the fantail. In our WESTPAC 74-75 she had a bent prop shaft from sucking up a fishnet on the bottom of San Fran bay. When they went flank speed the back end shook so bad she rattled. I remember looking at the churn and the wake from the fantail, thinking “my God, you could water ski.”Look at the bow wake in some of the photos. where she cuts the water, it’s 12-15 feet high!

          • Doc Waldrop

            I was on that cruise too David with VF-1. We made some SERIOUS time going from Mauritius to Vietnam, didn’t we!!!

        • Tbone2000

          Was there on board too, Ken. Rumor was the ship was “planing” (sp), like speed boats do. I had a pic on the fantail where a marine had his hand extended out on the rail of the sponset, the wave behind the ship was at that height! (guessing better than 35 feet).

        • GUEST

          I was on Saratoga in 72, we had a cake made that said “35 knots and no smoke” I’m sure the BIG E was a lot faster than that!

    • Bob Leonard

      You got that right Top speed was top secret. We drag raced the DD USS Lafey one day in 1961 and won Top end speed ?????

    • Rick

      I was a Nuke on the Big E for 2 years during the Vietnam War. I can absolutely tell you that the top speed of this beast was higher than 30 knots. In the days of summer in the S.China Sea it would be dead calm. They would kick the screws (4 of ’em) up to 105% reactor power (that’s eight reactors). The rooster tail behind the ship would make the big racing power boats envious. We could launch aircraft anytime.

      • Michael

        I was aboard in “sick bay at that time too, Rick (’74-’75), if you were there then, you probably remember that Russian “trawler” trying to follow us in the Indian Ocean.

        • Doc Waldrop

          Seems to me they backed off a bit after that F-14 flyover…LOL

    • deecee

      i know for a fact……50 knots

    • Jerry

      I agree, Back in October 62 while aboard with VF-33 we made a speed run to Cuban waters that was shaking the tie-down chains on the flightdeck. I know that we were klicking along about 50k, the rooster tail was as high as the flightdeck.

    • 56 kts Agean Sea 1964. I was aboard.

    • Rob Kline

      I had just come off watch on a calm Sunday afternoon on a tin can operating with Enterprise on Yankee Station. From a dead stop, she accelerated past us in a few minutes with a rooster tail as high as the flight deck and put our ship on a 20 degree roll. We were doing 20 kts and the Enterprise quickly disappeared over the horizon. A buddy on watch in CIC said later that our surface radar was unable to compute speed in excess of 65 kts which the Enterprise had surpassed.

    • ofbg

      The Connie, with 8 boilers and the same Kitty Hawk hull as the Big E, could do 42 kts (nearly highway speed). I would think the Enterprise could best that.

    • Tom

      My ship, a destroyer escort, plane guarded for the Enterprise in the Tonkin Gulf in 1967 and it ran away from all of us – much faster than 30 knots

  • Michael

    I tried zooming in on the picture with the 3 aircraft parked on the stern, and I couldn’t identify them either (no surprise), but it looked like each aircraft had 1 rudder.

    I especially like the picture of JFK checking out the flight ops; not so much because of JFK, but the guys standing around him look like real men (not that we don’t have real men today).

  • mhmm…

    65days to circumnavigate the globe. That’s pretty damn impressive

    • tiger

      Beats that 80 days deal by quite a bit. Magellan’s fleet by contrast took 16 months by sail. Now, that is the power of technology.

    • Not to burst anyone’s bubble, the 64 days were added to the six months we had already been in the Med.

      • I was the sailor in the middle leg of the E, third from the end.

  • sdog

    what an interesting set of pictures. I love the comparison of the hanger deck in 1964 with the one in 2000. Does anyone know the reason for having those civilian boats in the hanger deck?

    • Jose

      Those are not civilian boats, but the ships boats. Top one looks like the captains gig, but no whaleboats in sight.

    • Lester

      The top boat is the admiral’s barge. Beneath it are at least on utility boat. Storing boats in the hanger is common practice as they are too large to hang from davits. Large boats are necessary when anchored overseas. The crew is large. The captains’s gig and whaleboats are only about 26 feet long. They will be mounted in davits along the side somewhere.

    • Chazz

      I don’t think those are boats. They are cars and are the either the Capt. or X.O. ‘s

    • Richard Harden USN

      Those boats were not civilian, those were the adm. & Shipper boats

    • gust fotis

      They are liberty boats for the skipper, officers and crew. I was on the crew of officers boat #2. They had them in the hanger bay when I served aboard the Big “E” from 1961 to 1965.

    • Frank Lord

      The boats on the hanger deck were for transport of personnel to and from shore when the “Big E’ was anchored. The , so called, civilian boat seen in the hanger deck pic was more than likely a “captain’s Gig” or the “Admirals Gig”. All told there were probably about eight boats carried aboard in the hanger deck and two 26 ft. motor lifeboats in davits. F.H. Lord EMC{ret.}

      • R L Baker

        The Captain has his “Gig”, the Admiral has a “Barge”, and the crew had “Liberty Boats”. Our cruise in 76-77 took us 64,000 miles from San Francisco, to the East coast of Africa, and to Tasmania. If any of you still have your cruise books fromthat time, I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed printing all of the photos. PH-1 R L Baker USN (ret)

    • Rob Hunkins

      Duh. The boats are not civillian. They are some of the ships allotment of boats for the Captain/Flag, etc.
      Ret. Chief.

  • DaveH

    The Navy should always have a ship named Enterprise.

    • RustyCV63

      I couldn’t agree more Dave, I feel the same way about the Kitty Hawk!
      Really, how many famous men and Presidents do you feel actually deserve the right to have their names placed on the hull of our great war ships anyway! Okay so the Admirals yes, and some Presidents i.e. Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt (Teddy), Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy and Regan.

      But the USS George HW Bush, Gerald Ford and now a second JFK, what’s next the USS Richard M. Nixon, Billary J. Clinton, Lyndon B. Johnson and God forbid we should ever see a USS Barack Hussein Obama aircraft carrier or on the hull of any US ship!!!

      Oh, and by the way, with regard to the notation made on the 7th photo, was the writer ex Airforce, calling a Navy A-7 Corsair an Airforce F-8 Crusader? Right airframe, but all the rest of the parts are wrong! LOL

      • IronV

        Actually the writer is correct. The F-8 is on the forward elevator to the right. Not to left on the flight deck. Also, I think it’s unfair of you to decry naming a carrier after Obama. He did in fact make it a top priority to hunt down and kill Osama Bin Laden. It was a campaign promise… He has been far more effective at killing radical muslim leadership than Bush ever was.

        • Mastro

          The SEALS launched from Afghanistan and no way Obama would have invaded Afghanistan.

    • Lyle Howard

      The navy should always have a ship named USS Coral Sea. That was a WWII battle that should never be forgotten.

      • Mike Dobson

        I thought we were looking for Bin Laden before Barack was president?

      • mike dobson

        The most famous Us Naval victory was midway. We should always have a Midway to honor those who won over evil on our greatest day.

    • Bogo Thoms

      Well said, And she should always be something unique and speical.

    • blight_

      This isn’t Star Trek.

      Then again, we should always have a Lex or Saratoga, but if you like Enterprise so much…

    • paul

      I think they are S2 Trackers?

  • Ted Becker

    Some times when a ship moves its homeport,certain levels of command are allowed to transport personal effects aboard ship to its new assigment

  • m167a1

    Those were s-2 Tracers I think

    • Dennis Didier

      S2 Trackers, the WF was the Tracer. As an old Stoof mech, we used to make fun of the poor guys who flew the “Willie Fuds.” “Help, my Stoof’s being taken by an alien craft.”

      • Mike

        Dennis: I to turned a wrench on the Stoofs. VC-8, Roosy Roads, PR. (1974-1976)……… You?

  • Lance

    Its a sad day in several years when they decommission the Enterprise they should name the next carrier Enterprise anyway.

    • tiger

      And Subs back to being named for fish. I just hope she gets a better end than scrapping or being made into a reef.

      • robert132

        Unfortunately I think the Navy is going to have to remove everything nuclear related from the hull and that’s going to gut her and maybe structurally compromise her. With the exception of her Island structure I think everything unique to Enterprise will have to be removed. What ever is left may not be worth preserving.

        I know I’ll probably get taken to task but CVN-79 should be named Enterprise rather than Kennedy IMO.

        • KEN SAWDEY

          SHIPS RET:


  • bill russell

    ive got a double sawbuck says she can still out run anything in the fleet, and they are right there shoud always be an enterprise

  • remove N plant & use ship as a Museum someplace, join the ranks of:
    Midway, Intrepid & Hornet alone.
    Must make Big E a Musuem ship alone, shes that unique.
    All past Big E crew should aid to that cause.
    Since Precomm to Today.

    • gunslinger6

      I have heard that to remove the N plants they would have tear the ship apart to get to them. I do not know if this is true, but I do agree they should turn it into a museum.

      • blight

        Decomissioning to remove the nuke plants will probably be highly invasive. By the time you get them out, the Enterprise will be a mess and restoration will be expensive.

        • mike dobson

          As an engineer familiar with the requirements for decommissioning nuclear ships and commercial reactors. The reactors must be removed in any case. However the low level contamination embedded in surrounding systems is more difficult to leave behihd and allow public access below the hanger deck. I am sure she will be recycled.

    • Daniel B. DP1 USN Ret.

      You’re right. There should be an Enterprise museum. I was on board twice during the 80’s and I’d love to see her again to see how she’s changed.

  • Dwight55

    I don’t know how fast the “E” can go, . . . but I was told by another sailor, . . . when the Pueblo incident took place, . . . they sent the “E” and the USS Black, DD666 to Korea. The “E” caught the Black, . . . and it took all of 45 minutes for the “E” to go from the astern horizon to the bow horizon, . . . and the Black was supposed to be doing 35 knots when she was passed. That’s moving on,……………………..

    • Brian D

      I was on the ship then and I can tell you we were moving. Never experienced that feeling again while on board.

      • Greg R.

        Brian, I was also on that cruise. And you are correct, we were heading south west and instantly headed north like we were on a roller coaster. If you’re the Brian D I think, we were both in RVAH-1.

    • Dale

      Horizon at sea on a normal day is approximately 18 miles away. At 35 knots, the Black would have traveled about 30 miles in the 45 minutes giving a total of 66 miles (18+30+18) …. Believe the 45 minutes was a bit of an exaggeration because that would translate to approximately 75 knot speed. Yes the “E” is fast, but don’t think she’s that fast. I served aboard an AOE which had a purported speed of 25 knots but we actually hit a top speed in excess of 30 knots. Even refueled one carrier at 25 knots once. it was the only ship that could do unreps at that speed.


      I was on the uss Black DD-666 at that time.

    • Gary Luce

      My dad served on the Black, I served on the Truxtun and spent some time on the Enterprise while on the Truxtun. Intresting to know they crossed paths before.

    • “Admiral” Mullis

      The Navy “officially” said that the Enterprise had a top speed of 30+ kts. Unoficially they said 45+ kts. On the way home from Vietnam for the last time, Capt C.C. Smith opened it up and and the ships Plat cam on the ships closed circuit TV was showing 46 kts. I can tell you that after she left Mayport on her way home after her 25th deployment, she set a new speed record on November 3, 2012, not just for the Enterprise, but for all Navy Carriers and capital ships, according to the Skipper. That top speed will not be divulged any time soon I venture to guess…

  • Al Hudson

    I was on Bainbridge, put her in comission. Got off in ’64. The Big “E” could go faster than 30 knots. At the time she was limited in speed because her bow would bend/twist at high speeds. Got off Bainbridge just before they made that round the world cruise. The boats in the hanger bay were the gig and the barge, Capt’s and Adm’s boats for whatever purpose. All carriers have them.

    • Bob Leonard

      Hi Al I served aboard The Big E at the same time. I was assigned to E division

    • Rick

      You’re absolutely correct on the small boats in the hanger bay. They were used extensively when we had no pier to tie to like in Hong Kong. There we had to anchor out in the harbor. Shore leave was via the Hong Kong ferries for most of us but the Capt & Adm had their own boats to ferry them around.

    • During builders trials, we were limited to our top speed (will excess of 30 Kts ) by a sever lub. oil leak in number 2 engine. (200 gph) I was holding a five gallon bucket and to make sure it got back in the engine.

  • chaos0xomega

    I petition that Big E be officially renamed “Mobile Chernobyl”.

    • gunslinger6

      I petition that you loose your petition rights!

    • Lester

      You sir, are an idiot. Not an ordinary idiot, but a flaming, frothing, stupid world class idiot.

      • chaos0xomega

        Why, because I have a sense of humor? You realize thats what (at least some of) the ships crew calls it, right? Hell, type mobile chernobyl into google and take a look at the first result…

    • MasterCobra65



    Gone are the days of super carriers like E. The Navy and congress back then weren’t afraid to put our Muscles on display. We could always do better than any other superpower could and we’re proud to show off what the USA is all about! Shame on those who would say ” we didn’t need all that horespower in a carrier” Just think how fast we could get to the theater with our aircraft to take command of any situation anyplace on the globe! This ship put our Navy in the forefront of all the world’s powers and showed them what we stood for – no nonsense from you guys..!! We here and we’re staying!!!

    • BenP

      I was on the Jouett DLG29 and we did some ops with them. At one pont we were doing typhon evasion at the same time. We were doing around 40 and they left us in the dust……

  • Tony C

    When the USS Enterprise is decommissioned, then a new hull can be named Enterprise. There will be another Enterprise in the Gerald R Ford class.

  • Jeff Wheeler

    I really hope they do keep the name Enterprise in service. The tradition needs to stay alive.

    • tiger

      With DC politics, we might have to wait till Star Fleet builds one.

    • Bob Leonard

      I agree

  • Ray

    I was on the “E” for the round the world trip… Interesting was the fact we did not require fuel but ran out of toilet paper and salt about Sydney…..Was on for first combat tour also and although we did not need fuel, we still needed fuel for the airplanes, bombs, bullets etc. so we still went along side for replenishments every other night.

    • Bob Leonard

      I left the ship at Cannes France in May 1964 just before the cruise

    • Rick

      I came on just after the world cruise. Just in time to take it from Norfolk to San Francisco by way of 10 months off the coast of Vietnam. I have some great pictures of the oilers and supply ships replenishing our jet plane fuel, supplies, and destroyer fuel. We obviously didn’t need the boiler fuel but needed lots of JP5 jet fuel. Upwards of 200 sorties a day during the height of the war.

    • TBONE 2000

      Did the 1989-90 World Cruise back to the East Coast. At sea, we unrep’d about once a week with exception to various operative requirements prior to overhaul/end of cruise. Is KRUZ radio still operating?

    • Paul

      What ever became of the photo of the “E” pulling into New York. The Constitution from Annapolis came alongside as the white hats were spelling out “E=Mc2” and another 200 local boats were hanging out. The photo was shot straight down and the bridge and shoreline crowed with people were visible.

      Paul (Photographer’s Mate 2nd)

  • Todd Porthouse

    I certainly believe they will make the “Big E” a museum and I will definitely donate heavily. I was stationed on her as part of the CVW-2 airwing from1984 thru 1986 (VA-22). She is truly a class act and one of a kind.
    AMSC(AW) Retired

    • Charlie F.

      Hey Todd,

      I started out my Navy career as ships company on the Big E, some of the best views and pictures of San Fran were taken from the Alameda Naval Station. I was proud to serve aboard her from 84 to 86. She did have a tendency to shake at high speeds, even after coming out of dry dock in Hunters Point. Her top speed was classified, but some say it was 50 knots or there about. I can actually say I stood under her on fire watch. Good to hear from another shipmate and sorry to see CVN-65 is headed out of the fleet. Next it’ll be CVN-70 the Carl Vinson our sister ship.

      • M.Kern

        Hey Todd that was CAG 11 not CAG 2 from 84-86 I was in VF-213 AVCM Retired

        • M. Kern

          P.S. And I know exactly how fast she will go cause on the 86 Cruise when we made the high speed dash from Australia to the Red Sea to launch the TARP’s missions for the Libya strike they turned the SINS Channel off as usual and secured the Flight Deck. But a bunch of us was bored so we snuck up on deck to one of our Tomcats and I ran an INS Aligngment all of us was shocked when we got the alignment and checked the ground speed. HAHA I figure the statue of Limitations from the AirBoss is expired by now…

    • R L Baker

      Atomic Energy Comission has said that the reactors need to be pulled to make her a museum. That means pulling the flight deck and hanger deck areas. The cost would make it highly unlikely. Sadly.


    The Big E deserves a proper resting place in order to acknowledge all the accomplishments, and the sacrifices made by all the ship’s company and air wings that acheived those feats. A ship is iron but a truly great ship is also made of flesh and blood. I had a neighbor who was a chief who served on the deck of the Big E during the time of the deadly fire. Some time after the fire, he nearly lost his legs when an arresting cable separated from the deck pendant.
    As a former aviator and ship’s company on the USS Lexington, I took great pride in showing my new bride around the vessel in Corpus Christi, TX where it is a museum. The Big E deserves a similar fate.

  • Commander

    It may be extremely difficult to turn the Big E into a museum. The reactors will need to be removed along with all traces of radioactivity. By the time you’ve done that you’ve pretty much disassembled a large part of the ship. Deactivation of a nuclear ship requires tens of millions of dollars and Enterprise will be the first nuclear carrier to be deactivated. Once the deactivation is completed a civilian group would have to come along and fund the conversion to a museum. That’s going to be very expensive, probably too expensive for any public spirited group.

    • tiger

      And space!!!! Where do you park it that does not have a carrier already???

  • OldNavyOrdie

    The boats are Captains Gig and Admials Gig belonging to the US Navy.

    • David

      Admirals BARGE.

  • current crewmember

    Not sure if this is public knowledge but there are 3 portholes that were slavaged from CV-6 of WWII fame, installed on CVN-65 in the COs in-port cabin. Every time I see those it amazes me that ADM Halsey might have stood there looking out that very porthole at the Japaneese fleet! So even today, the legacy of ENTERPRISE is much longer than the 50 yeears CVN-65 has been in service. I certainly hope that someone has the foresight to salvage them again for the next USS ENTERPRISE.

    Current crewmember

    • Bob Leonard

      I didnt know that I served aboard in 1961 to 1964

    • Mike

      Halsey would have never seen the Jap fleet from those portholes, although he might of spit out those windows.

  • gunslinger6

    Amendment accepted to loose posting and petition rights for chaos0xomega! Thanks Phil!

  • JWil

    As one “Captain” of the (starship) Enterprise once said…
    “There will ALWAYS be an ENTERPRISE”.

  • Lee McCaleb

    My dad was onboard when the Zuni cooked off in ’69. I still have a 15lb. piece of the flight deck he gave me after they cleaned her up in Hono. I was 4.

    Around that time Big E changed its home port from Alameda to Bremerton, WA. They offloaded the air wing and built a ramp to the flight deck. The crew loaded their cars on the deck and loaded their families into overstuffed cabins. We then spent three wonderful days cruising to our new home. What a memory for a kid.

    • John Clark DSC(ret)

      IT IS TRUE

      • Mike Lewis HM1

        Do you also remember, John, the day we arrived in San Francisco Bay, about one individual named Patty Hearst, being kidnapped? I told my wife (a nurse), she (Patty) was probably in cahoots with the SLA! (You know the rest of the story!) We also had a very pregnant lady on board, assigned to my wife’s stateroom who should not have been there! (She delivered shortly after debarking!)

  • Speedy (Oz)

    Is there a reason they can’t plug her into the “grid” of what ever port they retire her at?

    The electricity she generates would help cover the costs.
    Also, I heard once that the Enterprise can generate a lot of fresh water each day… another useful resource.

    • blight

      You’d have to crack open the Enterprise and refuel it, since the Enterprise was refuelled in 1990 with a refurbishment in 2010 (did this include refuelling?). Expensive.

      De-sal is a product of the excess heat generated by the reactors. The Navy doesn’t need to do cost-benefit projections for water, but in the commercial setting it might not necessarily be cost-beneficial, unless the government runs it regardless of costs. Which then hatches the “government is wasteful” people who will come streaming out of the woodwork…

    • tiger

      What are you going to do, sell it to Haiti?

  • John Truesdale

    Back in ’65 the USS SHIELDS DD-596 was being a phantom raider. We “sank” the Big E about 200 miles off of Long Beach.

  • B B

    As a Plank owner of this great lady it is with pride I can say I served on this ship, for those that may not know the first skipper was a pilot on the cv 6 in ww2, I remember being on the bridge checking out the flight jacket with those great patches, as for speed being in CIC I have seen her at 42 Knots she could go faster we were told

    • Linvillel Klob

      I also am a plank owner the Big E. Worked on the phased array
      An/Sps 32 Radar. I retired in Jan 1970 and am now 85. I’d
      give anything to to make one more Med Cruise

  • BillC

    The three aircraft on the stern were CODs that were used to fly some VIPs back to the beach.

    • ABH3

      Hey Bill. I notice your “C” initial after your first name. I’m curious because my name is Bill C, the C being Caldwell. Just curious. Have a BIG E evening. Bill C.

  • Navy ordie

    My co’s (VX-4) next duty station was as the Big E’s first co. How I wish I had followed him!

    • Larry Ford

      First saw CVAN-65 tied up at the carrier dock next to Cubi Pt. in the Phillipines. I was on leave from Base Air Terminal Ops, NAS Atsugi, Japan. That was in April, ’67, and I still have the color snap shot!!

  • chuck oballe

    i spent a few years on the BIG E, 64-68, will always have fond memories and great respect for this special US vessel….. and i agree with previous suggestions, there should always be a ENTERPRISE in the U.S. Navy…..

    • John Clark DSC(ret)

      Remember CC Smith(XO) had a girl in every port. We purchused every thing in Raffles
      and the Communist department store in Singapore. Mail went out on everyplane leaving singapore for the states. The school children in a Mall thought I was Joe Frazier instead of Muhammed ALI, Ha Ha

  • Willy Fudd

    The planes pictured are TF1/C1A Traders more commonly referred to as CODs.

  • 0369DevilDog

    I served on the Big E from 1965-1967; as a member of the Marine Detachment. We were responsible for manning the SASS posts, brig, ships landing party, 50 cal. machine guns on the port and starboard side of the ship, security for the Captain, X.O. and occassionaly an Admiral. We provided security for both brows and pier when in port. You would not believe the fire power we had stored away in our compartment armory. To all Marines who served on the Big E until 1997. Semper Fi

  • ricky leroy

    There will be a great star ship Enterprise in our near future, No more wars

  • David

    Enterprise. My God, what memories. Subic bay, Hong Kong. Her proximity is measured in hemispheres, and all powers are aware of her presence. Some out of awe, some out of fear. All out of respect.

  • Bob Leonard

    The Big “E” I reported aboard December 7 1961 I was assigned to the C&E shop.and reported to EMC William Briedert. Worked with John Swantek Peter Neuner David Mertz Joseph Finfrock

  • Marvin Preble

    I remember transporting crewmwmbers autos onboard when homeport was changed back in the 60’s.

  • Garrett

    I served on board her with Fitron 96 in 67, 68, & 69. She is a great lady. I hope the name Enterprise lives on. To a sailor is means Navy.

  • Wally Gullang

    To make the Big E into a museum it is said that there would be nothing left below the hangar deck. Of the carrier museum’s that I have been on, one can not get below the hangar deck anyway so what’s the big deal ?

  • Tim Alibozek

    I was on her in 1964 for the 6 month Med.deployment, and then for the worlds first nuclear power task force to circumnavigate the Earth.Iwas 19 years young,and i can say the Navy changed my life,i learned to live with other people,to take orders,to give orders and to respect, i will cherish that for ever.For the last 30 years i have owned and operated a machine & tool shop with several employes with the experience that i received in the NAVY and on the ENTERPRISE thank you youall. Tim Alibozek @T&A TOOL INC. Adams Mass

  • big yank

    They can drain fuel and clean up reactors without disasembling the Big E. And that should be done and she should be a museum for all to see the history of the best & baddest & fastest ship in the fleet. I was on her in 68 & 69. The best duty I ever had. She has a lot of history and has accomplished so much. Like the man said the list can go on & on. Her legacy should live on. I got a lot of Marine budies that tell me they always knew it was her coming over the horizion because you saw the big con before anything else. She was and will always have a special place in my heart no matter what they do to her. Happy 50th to the greatest carrier ever.

  • big yank

    And those are s 2’s on her fantail. I was a flight mech on one of those.

  • Decil Fuhrman

    my brother and i served on the big E ,he was in s-1- i was in 3rd div for operation sea orbit, what a ship and there should always be an enterprise

  • Al Branton

    97-2000, HS-7. Very fast ship. Was onboard during a major flightdeck mishap/fire, combat operations and some great (and piss-poor) liberty ports.

  • nono524

    As a ‘plank-owner’ I am proud to have served on the Enterprise. I am sorry to see all the new carriers named after politicians. We used to named them after great battles. What happened?

  • G. Berry

    a rooster tail above the flight deck on the fantail.The flight deck is 78 feet above the water.Need I say more!

    ship’s crew 1970-72
    Eastus 1

  • Ed Gary

    I was a signalman aboard the USS Shangri-La (CVA 38). The Enterprise releaved us after our tour in the Med. When we began to leave, our Captain had Shangri-La go faily close to the Enterprise so we could get a look at its enormity. I was on our signal bridge and found myself looking up to see the flight deck. To say I was in awe would be an understatement. What a beauty.

    When her time comes, I hope she doesn’t get scrapped like my Shangri-La was.

    • R L Baker

      On my second tour aboard the Oriskany CV-34 we were pierside with the Enterprise just before I reported aboard her. I went up to the flight deck of the Bie E and was looking down on what I had thought was a large ship the the Oriskany.

  • Steve Goldurs

    I was aboard Enterprise in 71-72 as part of VA-97 (Warhawks).We flew A-7 Corsairs. There is no place in the world as exciting as the flight deck during night ops. I also helped design and build the ship’s radio and TV station, and was the morning DJ on KENT radio. Fixing planes at night and playing music during the day. Great times! Sail on Big E.

  • Tannis Watson

    I served in Enterprise twice, the airwing in 68 and 69, VA-146, and ships company 73-76, The Navy can take her out of commission, scrap her, make her a mueseum, or name a new carrier Enterprise, but there will only be one in my mind and memory, and she will live on forever,

  • Dennis Didier

    I believe the center-line aircraft in the aerial view is an S2 from my old squadron which flew out to Enterprise during sea trials.

  • Ron Courtney A-5

    I have stood many watches in Central Control as the CAO, and during the run from Sasbo Japan to Korea, She was making MUCH more than 35Knots. I can’t say how much more but she was “haullin butt”. I served 3 years, 4 months, & 18 days on the Big E (65-68) and they were all very memorable.

  • PMI

    I just want to thank all the old Big E sailors for sharing your reminiscings with us.

  • jim coulton

    i was on the big e from 1963-1966. worked in fly 2. great ship.

  • Dale Owens

    I did two WestPac cruises with VA-196 aboard Enterprise – 1972-75. Great memories. I didn’t see any photos in the collection from those years – I’ve got some good ones I took. I worked in AIMD WC650 on the center passageway forward of the hangar deck. I like to tell folks about eating chow next to 500 lb bombs and sidewinders! I’d love to take another cruise on the best cruise ship!

    • alan moore

      Dale i was also was in va-196 the same time as you we do have fine memorys being on the worlds finist and fastes aircraft carrier that has ever been. glad to see that you are still with us alan moore ams1 usn-ret.

  • Robert Pearson

    I was stationed aboard from 65 thru 68 Weapons Dept/W Division–worked in fwd and aft SASS spaces. Marines guarded us better than any police force ever could. On one cruise we had a black bird (U-2) land and take off–awsome.I also served on the USS America CVA66 and retired off the USS John F Kennedy CVA 67 but those tours didn’t come close to the Big E–brings back many memories–I often wonder how many “sliders” I ate from the fwd chow line–as a lowly pollywog It felt like I crawled the entire length of the flight deck that day –really looked bad till our hair grew back out. It will be a shame to see her decommed

  • Peter Schuhl

    I had the distinction to be the helmsman on “E” on it’s first ever move, from Newport News to NS, Norfolk, 1960. I was a QM3, (Retired LDO LT, 1982) TAD to “E” from Forrestal which was in the NNSY, Portsmouth at the time. The Navy had not accepted the “E” yet then, all civilians on the bridge and the PCO, Capt. Vincent duPeau, PXO, Capt. Max Harnish. Capt Harnish had been Navigator on Forrestal and selected me for the assignment.

  • Ron Neal

    I served on the Big E from 1969 to 1972. I was a QM and had some great times after we got out of the shipyard in Newport News and headed to Alameda for our new home port.

  • howard716

    I was aboard the Big E when we were diverted from a WEST PAC cruise to a N Korea expedition. We thought we were headed to Hawaii until my buddy noticed the sun didn’t come up on the starboard side which meant we were not headed to Hawaii. All the tropical gear had to be stored because we were headed to below zero with 30 knots cruising speed. I went up to the flight deck and saw 35 ships in this flotilla and knew something big was up.Then things started drifting down to the worker bees we were in big do do but we managed to survive (lol)

    • Bob

      I was there in the hanger deck when Pres Kennedy addressed the crew. I’ll never forget that day.
      Bob Leonard EM3
      1961 1964

  • robert judy

    I was on board when JFK came aboard ,I was on the 3B reactor panel in #3 engine room.

  • Travis Pence

    Gigs and Barges were used in the Med as liberty boats because carriers had to anchor out when in port while the smaller ships docked.

  • Edward Geesaman

    I was on board the Big E from 1971 to 1973 and remember the last bombing flights
    in Vietnam. On that last day we had a barbeque on the flight deck. I’m sorry
    to see this fine ship go!

    • Dale Owens

      I remember the flight deck picnic, too! I think I have some pics taken from the flight deck and maybe the observation deck (O13). VA-196 lost it’s XO’s plane in those last days, but he and his BN where released later. During the 74-75 cruise CVW-14 ‘s planes flew in support of the evacuation of Siagon. We were delayed from deployment on that cruise because of a fire in the F-14 electronics shop that happened on the shake-down cruise.

  • ITCM (SW) T. Jones

    I proudly served onboard the USS Enterprise from May 95 to July 97 as Comm Dept. LCPO. We had recently brought her out of overhaul to depart on MED/Gulf deployment. We had great liberty ports including, Cannes France, Naples Italy, and Rhodes Greece.
    We had a great Skipper, Capt. Malone and oustanding CMC, MMCM (SW/AW) Hallstein.

    Some of the things I miss are: Steel Beach Picnics, DC Olympics, late night G.Q.’s, “mail call, mail call”, “Away the snoopy team”, My RM’s, DP’s, DS’s and Signalmen, Reactor, Navigation, IM’s, Air Department, Seals, Mardet, Squadrons, Transiting the Suez Canal, Tiger Cruises and Welcome home.
    Congratulations on the 50th anniversary of your existence.

  • AW1(SW)(AC) Abraham

    I retired off the Big “E” in ’95 and thanks to the CO and OPS”O” I have a flag in my shadow box and a special letter to attest to the fact that it flew over the Big “E” that means more to me than those that most retirees recieve that flew over the White House or Congress. The Big “E” is a special ship and the name should carry forward to an even bigger and better ship. Peace through Superior Firepower and Force Projection!!

  • Navy7377

    The planes on the fantail look like they might have twin engines. I’m guessing for that time-frame they might be Grumman S-1s or S-2s, COD airlines

  • R Carroll

    As soon as our C1 -A cleared the deck following a “cat” shot in 1965, the engine fire warning lights came on for both engines, A quick scan of the instrument panel indicared no engine malfunction, then a quick look out the side windows for evidence of fire, also with no indication, all of which led me to believe it had to be an electrical problem. Within seconds I remembersed out C1-A was secured on the flight deck right behind the island the previous day and night while the Big E was experiencing heavy thunderstorms while departing On Station and sailing northward toward Yankee Station. The ships maintenance dept quickly found the problem but the bad news was there was no replacement parts on board. So there I was, riding out the aftermaths of a monsoon rain storm on the Big E. However, the food was great, got to meet some former shipmates from years earlier and the plane was being repaired by experienced AE’s. All I had to do was stand by the plane in case it had to be moved. After three days of R & R, it was time to get back into a working routine. I certainly did enjoy those three days of luxury on the Big E.

  • Joe Pucci (POOCH)

    I went aboard the Big E during the Cuban crisis and stayed on station around 58 days. She was a mighty ship when I went aboard and still is. I made the world cruise and that was awesome. It will really be sad if they use her for razor blades. I hope that someone would get a campaign going to save this wonderful lady. I will help in any way I can. I don’t know what I can do at 70 years young, but what ever. Someone please take the helm and full speed ahead.

  • Andy Anderson

    God Bless the men and women of USS Enterprise CVN-65 – Thanks for making the September 2011 visit a great memory for the men and women of the USS Seattle AOE-3 Reunion Association who visited. Your crew was just fantastic with the tour of the Hanger, Anchor Windlass, Flight Deck and the Pilot House, Thank you all. Bravo Zulu!

  • COMCARDIV-6 member

    Speaking of her speed, back in ’62 we were on the U.S.S. Independence running north away from a huracane in Cape Hatteras, when Kennedy ordered us to Cuban waters. We turned around and headed right back through the storm. Two days later we were on station a hundred twentyfive miles south of Jamaica. What’s interesting is that the Big E was in the yards of Newport News and couldn’t leave until the next day. She got there the same time we did. Our guys clocked her covering 120 miles in two hours.
    That’s too fast to water ski!!! All carriers had a ‘news release’ speed of
    ‘in excess of thirtyfive knots’. Heck, the oil burners would do that.

    • Bob

      TheBig E had just returned from a Med Cruise tied up at pier 12 in 1962 and was not in Newport News when we were called to the Cuban Crises. We were told that a hurricane was headed toward Norfolk and we had to leave. 2 days later we were near GITMO to pick up stragglers that were on leave

  • John

    These are great photos of the Enterprise. You guys are right, there should always be a ship called Enterprise. Now we should keep it working and be pro active to protect us. This is all I will say at this time on this



    USN 1969-1989

  • Tom Sears

    The reactors will have to come out regardless, and she’ll have to be sanitized of everything even if she is scuttled, (I’m shuddering here), so there is no reason not to keep her as a museum. She will quickly become as famous as the Uss Constitution I’m sure. I was 20 years old when I worked the “fright” deck in 1965 as an avation Ordnanceman. I’m 67 now and I still dream about her! What an impact she had on me.
    Tom Sears AO3 Ships company, Missle Crew, G Div, Jan 65 /June 67

  • Mastro

    I heard that if a sub ever got close to the E – it would get up to max speed and drop nuke depth charges behind it like breadcrumbs.

  • Thomas Mizell

    the photos of the enterprise being build brings back menoriesd of when i was on her i hdelp commission her at the start of my career in seervice was one of the plank onwers still have my award from then

  • Ed2291

    I was on the USS Midway (CV-41) commissioned in 1945 and older by a few months than the ship my father served on (US Princeton). It’s first aircraft were WWII props and its last were F/A-18 Hornets. It participated in the first Gulf War. The taxpayer certainly gets its money and use out of these aircraft carriers.

  • Robert C.

    A testament to the USN to operate a ship for virtually 24/7 for 50 years. Our personal vehicles should do so good. Our sailors continue to be the best in the world. As a veteran who served in the early 1970s, I can attest to the excellence in the education I received in the USN.

  • blight

    CNN reporting on ceremonies aboard the USS Enterprise.

  • Danny

    I am retired Navy AME1AW and when I joined all I wanted was to be stationed onboard Big “E”. After completing “A” school I was stationed in a squadron onboard the newest nuc CVAN68 USS NIMITZ. I am very proud to have served and I agree with everyone that there should ALWAYS be an ENTERPRISE.

  • Jenny P

    My dad served aboard the Enterprise in the mid to late 60s. I want to get him a picture book of the ship. I know he was on the ship when President Kennedy visited (he has a pic he took) and got off just before the fire. Is this published and if so, where can I buy it? I have searched several places and can’t find it….

    • W. Erven

      Check out EBAY, under USS ENTERPRISE. There are cruise books, from almost every cruise made. Stay away from the “dealers” who buy low, sell VERY high. I’m proud of the two I have from my time on board 74-76 as Personnel Officer.

  • Gary Holmes

    Two ships responded to the fire off Hawaii in 1969… the USS Rogers and the USS MOCTOBI (ATF105) …. seen laying off in the black and white photo immediately after the color picture of the fire in progress. Our job (Moctobi) was to look for bodies and men overboard. The Big E was at zero speed while we were laying off, then, with fires out and major wounded flown off, the BIG E “kicked it” in the butt to go back to Pearl Harbor. It was GONE from sight over the horizon in less than 20 minutes! And that’s from zero speed to who knows how fast! It was a mostly clear day, too. I was impressed, especially since it took us all morning to get to the Big E from Pearl at OUR flank speed (14 knots on a good day with wind and tide with us). The Moctobi is still afloat in Richmond, Calif. but was recently gutted of all things valuable by it’s civilian owners (including the wiring).

  • R.H. Boles OSCM Ret

    The Ship fighting the Enterprise fire, along port side, USS Rogers DDR-876, of DesRon..
    Sister Ships to DDR’s, 875,Tucker; 877 Perkins; and 874, my ship and I can’t recall her Name!…. Terrible after all these years!!!

  • Charley Stephanski

    As an MMCM, I served aboard the ENTERPRISE in the mid 70’s. I ran the Hab Shop, with 25 MMs and EMs maintaining the “hotel services”, Laundry, Galley and Filter shops. Great tour!!

  • Jim Hanson

    I was aboard from 1977-1979 with the Marine Detachment. Many fond memories. Jim Hanson GySgt Retired.

  • alan moore amsi-ret.

    I was station on the big -e from 72 to 74 she will allways be my heart as well as past and present crew when she is retired she is and has allways been the leader in the family of aircraft carriers like her older crews she tired she done her job now its getting time to retire.

  • Jack Luz

    I hope that the next U.S. aircraft carrier be named Enterprise. The only thing in the way are weak-willed politicians.

  • CoCowboy692000

    She’s set to decommission sometime in the next few years to make way for the USS Gerald R. Ford.

    THIS VIOLATES THE LAW. OUR LAWS REQUIRE, That the United States maintains a fleet of 11 active Aircraft Carriers at ALL TIMES. Gerald Ford will not come on line until sometime in late 2014 or 15… That is a clear violation. Therefore, congress is in violation of this and they must find different ways to deal with their issues other than sequestration (castration if you prefer). We cannot leave our nation with “ACCEPTABLE RISKS” as that idiot Panetta suggests, and he should be removed!


  • Mike

    Never was on the “E”, but spent some time on the Independence. Also a great ship with tons of histroy.

  • Kski

    Keep her as a monument to the Cold War and as a prode piece of US Navy history.

  • Waltski

    A nice tribute, but to post all those fine photos and not mention or post a photo of the fine aircraft that ruled her decks and the skies for most of her life is an insult! Where are the F-14s, the A-6 bombers and tankers, and the everlasting and essential E-2 Hawkeyes? Maybe the author should think about her history before he or she reports on it

  • Nikki B.

    can anyone please tell me how long and how heavy the anchor(s) of the USS Enterprise are / were? I can’t seem to find this info anywhere online. Thank you very much!

  • Tim

    I hate to hear and see the USS Enterprise commissioned. She is and always will be one of the best ships in the Navy.

  • Richard Brown

    having served in the Army for over 20 years, but having a brief service visit, I am totally against taking this ship out of service, years too early. If we have to, then decommission with honor, and make it a US landmark..

    there will always be an Enterprise

  • “Admiral” Mullis

    The Inquiry about thehree aircraft on the “New” Enterprise are C-1 Traders. They are the old coloring and you can see the port and starboard nacels for the Recip’s. They look small because the wings are folded.

  • Logistic1776
  • Logistic1776
  • Syed

    The CVN-65 after the Eight (8) nuclear reactors are removed should be converted into a Naval museum at Norfolk, Virginia

  • mike mccrann

    There have been comments about Enterprises speed. I was on the Enterprise when we got the word to go north for Pueblo. There were only a few ships that could keep up with us. The next year a ec121 was shot down off Korea, the scene going north was like a ww2 picture. Ships to the port, ships to ther starbard, carriers all going north until the Yorktown had “screw” problems and couldn’t keep up. We just cranked it up, ship just shook. One time, we were out off the Islands west of San Diego. We finished with our activities and headed back to San Francisco. The Enterprise did not have a fold over mast so entering San Francisco, going under the Golden Gate was at low tide only. We were at least 700 miles south, and the time was 2pm in the afternoon. Early the next morning she ship was doing figure 8 turns off San Francisco waiting for low tide, We went under the brdige about 7am. They said they would do a high speed run, the only other time I remember a high speed run was during the EC121 shoot down. Rarely did they fire up all 8 reactors, I believe all future carriers had only 4 reactors, we had power , more than we needed.

  • Matt

    I served on the Big E from June 1980 to March 1984. We went through sea trials coming out of overhaul (Bremerton 1979-1982). One of the tests we ran was acceleration from dead in the water (all reactors powered up) to in excess of 37 knots in less than 3 minutes….something you have to experience to fully appreciate. Overall it was an awesome experience that i have learned to appreciate even more as I get older. The concept of a 21 year old running a nuclear reactor still amazes me! Nowhere in the world could you get so much experience and responsibility in such a short period of time. I would do it again.