ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 23, 2012) An E-2C Hawkeye assigned to the Screwtops of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123 flies past the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) during an air power demonstration. Enterprise is completing its final deployment to the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Scott Pittman/Released)
Fifty-five years after she first entered naval service, USS Enterprise (CVN 65) will be officially decommissioned tomorrow.
The Navy’s first nuclear powered aircraft carrier has played a pivotal role in defending freedom around the world for more than a half century; from the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The “Big E” pioneered modern day carrier operations by launching the first nose-wheel launch bar designed catapult system, recovered Astronaut John Glenn when he returned to Earth after making America’s first orbital space flight, and launched the first strikes against Al Qaeda and Taliban targets following the attack on American on Sept. 11, 2001. Through years of global presence, Enterprise cemented the Navy’s worldwide maritime superiority, ensuring security and prosperity worldwide.
Although CVN 65’s time in the fleet has come to an end, Naval History and Heritage Command’s curators are doing their part to preserve pieces of the ship’s history that will help tell its story for generations to come. The following are a few of the artifacts they hold in their collection: