60 Years Ago Today: Welcome Aboard, Big E
View of the christening of the world’s largest warship at the time as well as the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company, Newport News, Virginia on Saturday, 24 September 1960. Enterprise was sponsored by Mrs. William B. Franke, wife of the U.S. Secretary of the Navy.
Note the brand-new George Washington-class fleet ballistic missile (FBM) submarine, USS Robert E. Lee (SSBN-601) to the left– a name that would bring a tremendous amount of pearl-clutching today– which had been commissioned the week prior and the cutting-edge Douglas A4D-2 Skyhawk borrowed from Carrier Air Group 8 on the deck of the Big E.
Enterprise was deactivated on 1 December 2012 at Norfolk after a 51-year career and she is still there, although far from the same material condition that she is seen above. She far outlived Lee who was decommissioned in 1983 and recycled by 1991.