Thanksgiving coincided with another celebration aboard the USS Enterprise: the aircraft carrier turned a year shy of the big 5-0 on November 25, Thanksgiving Day 2010, as shared in a feature on the Navy Times.
The USS Enterprise of today is a ship that holds a few distinctions. It is the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in the world. It is also, other than the USS Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship in the United States Navy. This particular ship is the eighth to be named as Enterprise; it was commissioned on November 25, 1961.
The Secretary of the Navy at that time was John B. Connally Jr., and during the ship’s commissioning, he called the CVN 65 as a “worthy successor” to the Enterprise that preceded it. Enterprise (CV 6) was the seventh Enterprise, and it held the distinction of being the most decorated ship during the Second World War.
The feature related a few of the USS Enterprise’s milestones. Its first mission was the tracking and measurement of the flight of Mercury Friendship 7; it was thus part of the breakthrough accomplished by Cmdr. Alan B. Shepard, Jr., who, on May 5, 1962, became the first American who broke the barrier of the earth’s atmosphere aboard the Mercury capsule.
Since the commissioning of the USS Enterprise, it has participated in practically every major conflict that the U.S. Navy engaged in. It played a role during, among others, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, and 9/11.
USS Enterprise Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Keith Oxley shared: “I’ve been in the Navy for 25 years, and I cannot recall a ship that has been as active for this period of time… I came to Enterprise for the sole reason of helping this fine ship to the very end of its life and also to be part of its history and heritage.”