I can still remember when the Enterprise was launched at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. Even though I was just a kid (it was 1962), I sensed the pride of the entire city that our signature employer had built the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, “The Big E.”
Now, almost fifty years later, the USS Enterprise is the second-oldest ship still commissioned by the US Navy. Only the historic and symbolic USS Constitution is older. The Enterprise is 1,123 feet long, making it the longest naval vessel in the world.
Today’s Enterprise follows the great carrier of the same name that was an integral part of America’s naval efforts in World War II. That carrier engaged in more battles against Japan than any other American ship, and was one of only three carriers commissioned before the war that survived it.
Today’s Enterprise has had a number of significant assignments, including helping in the quarantine of Cuba during the Missile Crisis and assisting with naval support during Vietnam and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Its home port is now the Norfolk Naval Base (within sight of its Newport News birthplace), The USS Enterprise is scheduled to be decommissioned in 2013. I hate for that time to come, but the ship will end its final tour as the longest-serving aircraft carrier in US history…