A new aircraft carrier, CVA(N)-65, was commissioned in November 1961 as the USS Enterprise, the eighth U.S. Navy ship to bear that name. She was originally designed for a 25-year service life, but the builder’s high quality of construction and the crews’ continuing dedication to upkeep and maintenance have extended her operational life to 50 years in the active Fleet. Engaged in nearly every major combat operation in the past five decades, as she marks her Golden Anniversary this year, the Big E becomes both the oldest operational warship in the Navy and the first U.S. aircraft carrier to reach that half-century milestone.
Happy Birthday 'Big E'
It’s 50 candles for the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the first nuclear warship to engage in combat.
By Admiral J. L. Holloway III, U.S. Navy (Retired)