USS Enterprise embarks on last voyage

The US Navy aircraft carrier USS Enterprise has departed on its 22nd and final deployment.

March 12: The US Navy aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) departed Norfolk Naval Station on March 11 on the ship’s 22nd and final deployment.

Enterprise is slated to deploy to the US Navy’s 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation as part of an ongoing rotation of forces supporting maritime security operations in international waters.

The Enterprise Carrier Strike Group consists of approximately 5,500 Sailors and Marines who, during the last few months, successfully completed a series of complex training events and certifications to ensure they were capable of operating effectively and safely together. “This Strike Group is trained and ready for the full spectrum of operations,” said Rear Admiral Ted Carter, commander, Enterprise Carrier Strike Group. “We’re ready to maintain freedom of the sea lanes, project power if directed to do so, and certainly perform a presence mission.”

For Enterprise, the Navy’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the deployment represents the culmination of more than 50 years of distinguished service. Commissioned in 1961, Enterprise is both the largest and oldest active combat vessel in the Navy.

Enterprise is as ready and capable as she has ever been throughout her 50 years,” said Captain William C Hamilton, Commanding Officer. “The ship and crew’s performance during work-ups demonstrates that the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier has never been more relevant.”

Enterprise was designed in the late 1950s for a 25-year lifespan, and the Nimitz-class carriers were designed for 50 years. “To effectively double the service life of a ship as complex as Enterprise speaks volumes about the design strengths of the world’s first nuclear-powered carrier, the Navy’s commitment to cost effectiveness, and our Sailors hard work and innovation throughout the last half-century to keep her going strong,” said Hamilton. Enterprise is scheduled for deactivation and eventual decommissioning following its anticipated return later this year, marking the end of the carrier’s legendary 50-plus years of service.

The Enterprise Carrier Strike Group is comprised of Enterprise, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG 69), and guided-missile destroyers USS Porter (DDG 78), USS Nitze (DDG 94), and USS James E Williams (DDG 95).

CVW-1 is comprised of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 211, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 136, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 251, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 137, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123 and Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron (HS) 11.

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