The USS Enterprise's Last Tour
After 51 years of service, the historic aircraft carrier is about to be decommissioned.
- By Rebecca Maksel
- Air & Space magazine, November 2012
There has been an Enterprise since 1775, when Captain James Smith was ordered to Lake Champlain to take command of the 70-ton sloop that originally belonged to the British. Enterprise II was an eight-gun schooner purchased in 1776 that convoyed transports in the Chesapeake Bay. Enterprise III, a 12-gun schooner, searched for British privateers off the coast of Maine in 1812. Enterprise IV launched from the New York Navy Yard in 1831; while Enterprise V, a steam corvette with auxiliary sail power, was commissioned in 1877. Enterprise VI performed harbor tug duties at Newport, Rhode Island in 1917, eventually transferring to the Bureau of Fisheries in 1919.
Then came the famous Enterprise VII (CV 6), a Yorktown-class carrier that joined the fleet in 1936. During World War II, the U.S. Navy participated in 41 battles in the Pacific, and the Enterprise was involved in 20 of them. When the carrier was decommissioned, the Navy promised that the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier would bear the same name.
Here TBM Avengers land on the Enterprise (CV-6) during the Gilberts Operation, November 22, 1943.