Home News USS Enterprise Decommissioned: A timeline of the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

USS Enterprise Decommissioned: A timeline of the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier

Guests observe the inactivation ceremony of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65). Enterprise was commissioned Nov. 25, 1961, as the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The ceremony marks the end of her 51 years of service. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joshua E. Walters/Released)

NEWPORT NEWS — The decommissioned the USS Enterprise on Friday during a ceremony at Newport News Shipbuilding, where the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was built.

The Enterprise served for 51 years under 10 presidents, had more than 100,000 sailors and serve aboard it, and has traveled more than one million nautical miles — enough to circle the earth 40 times.

Here are some highlights from the storied ship’s legendary life:

1961: The USS Enterprise is commissioned.

1962: Deploys in response to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

1964: Steams around the world from New Zealand to Cape Horn in fewer than nine days.

1965: Home port changes to Alameda, Calif.

1965 to 1973: Makes multiple deployments to Vietnam, and is one of the last ships to support an evacuation as the war comes to a close.

1974: Redesigned for F-14 Tomcats, which were made famous in the Tom Cruise film “Top Gun.”

1975: Crew provides 10,000 hours of humanitarian aid in Mauritius.

1990: Home port changes to Norfolk.

1990-1994: Undergoes final refueling at Newport News Shipbuilding.

1998: Its aircraft participate in air campaign against Iraq, flying 297 combat sorties in 70 hours.

2001-2012: Its aircraft launch the first strikes after the 9/11 attacks. Conducts five more deployments between 2003 and 2012 in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

2012: The Enterprise is formally inactivated at a ceremony at Norfolk Naval Station attended by thousands of those who served aboard it and those who helped build it.

2017: The Enterprise is decommissioned at Newport News Shipbuilding.

Sources: Newport News Shipbuilding,



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