Big E Statistics
||USS Enterprise (CVN-65)|
||February 4, 1958|
||September 24, 1960|
||November 25, 1961|
|Width (at widest point):
|Height (from keel to mast):
|Area of Flight Deck:
|Area of Hangar Bay:
||216,000 sq. feet|
||93,000 tons fully-loaded|
75,000 tons without airwing, jet fuel, or ordnance
||5,500 (airwing + ship's company)|
3,500 (ship's company only)
||Four, each measures 18' diameter|
||Four, each weighs 35 tons|
||Two, each weighs 32 tons|
||[ sailor's rate & full name ]|
[ sailor's department & division ]
USS Enterprise, CVN-65
FPO AE 09543-2810
Construction on the world's first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVN-65), began on February 4, 1958, and the ship was first launched to sea on September 24, 1960. The ship was commissioned into the US Navy's fleet on November 25, 1961, and since then has served as one of the fastest, finest, and most powerful military vessels in the world. Measuring 1,105 feet from stern to aft, she is the longest ship in the US Navy's fleet. Her four giant propellors are powered by eight nuclear reactors which can push her massive bulk of 90,000 tons at speeds well over 30 knots, making her one of the fastest ships in the fleet as well.
During her fifty-plus years of service, she has undergone several major overhauls and refits. In 1973 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, WA, the Big E was retrofitted to accomodate the Navy's newest fighter jet, the F-14 Tomcat. In January 1979, the Enterprise pulled into Puget Sound once again to begin an extensive 30-month overhaul in which the Big E's original 'beehive' island tower was removed and replaced with the current cubicle island tower. For nearly four years between December 1990 and September 1994, the Enterprise was stationed in drydock at Newport News Shipbuilding while undergoing what would be the longest and most extensive overhaul ever accomplished on any Naval vessel.
I checked onboard the Enterprise in 1992 while it was in the middle of that big overhaul. It was amazing seeing that gigantic city of steel sitting in the drydock being held up by giant wooden blocks. It was essentially gutted down to the steel hull, and was a noisy industrial construction work site. It looked like gray swiss cheese - holes everywhere from welders removing and replacing steel plates, and would have sank to the bottom of the James River if they tried to put water underneath it. For the next two years, I worked for several different crews that helped rebuild the ship, one of which was tasked with the dirty job of cleaning all the ship's air ventilation ductwork, and the other which rebuilt all the ship's berthing compartments, officer's staterooms, and all the ship's heads (that's bedrooms and bathrooms for you landlubbers.)
In September 2004, two years after I'd checked aboard the ship while it was in the drydock, we finally left the Newport News Shipyard, pulled out of the drydock, and floated down the James River on the ship's own power, towards it's original and once-again soon-to-be home at Norfolk Naval Base. I spent the next two years of my Naval service working as a flight deck ordnanceman, responsible for receiving, handling and storage, and distribution of the missiles and bombs that were flown by the various aircraft aboard the carrier. It was an excellent experience working up on the flight deck during flight operations. Being right there on the flight line just literally yards away from the powerful F-14 Tomcats, F/A-18 Hornets, A-6 Intruders, and other aircraft during launch and recovery operations was an experience I'll never forget. I proudly served for one full four-year term in the Navy and was honorably discharged in June of 1996, having achieved the rank of AO3, Aviation Ordanceman Petty Officer Third Class.
Most of the original photos on this site were taken in 1995 and 1996 while I worked for the Enterprise Weapons Department G-1 Flight Deck Ordance Division. The photos sat in a shoebox for a few years until 1999, when I started scanning them and uploading them to my AOL user account. I was in the middle of uploading some of my Big E photos when I got a dreaded 'out of disk space' message from AOL, so in June of 1999 I launched my own domain sizor.com where this site has resided since then.
The USS Enterprise is scheduled to be decommissioned sometime between 2012 and 2015, and will have been in service for well over six decades when she is finally retired.