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 Enterprise Battle Group

Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Group 12 serves as Immediate Superior-in-Command for the ENTERPRISE Battle Group, including USS ENTERPRISE, Air Wing 8, USS GETTYSBURG (CG-64), and USS PHILIPPINE SEA (CG-58). Acting as Operational Commander, CCDG-12 exercises oversight of unit level and integrated training and readiness for the group. In addition, CCDG-12 maintains administrative functions and material readiness tracking for ships and squadrons assigned to the group. CCDG-12 reports to Commander, SECOND Fleet as one of six Carrier Battle Group Commanders in the Atlantic Fleet.

To assist the Commander in the administration and operation of his command, the staff gathers and evaluates detailed and accurate information on all phases of the existing situation-strategic, tactical, and logistic. The staff prepares plans, schedules, directives, and reports based upon such information or in compliance with directives received from higher authority. It translates the decisions of the Commander into directives, and disseminates information and directives to subordinate commanders and forward information and reports to higher authority rapidly, accurately, and completely. The staff supervises and evaluates the execution of the Commander's directives by subordinate commands.

Enterprise made its maiden voyage under the command of Capt. Vincent P. DePoix, Jan. 12, 1962. In August, Enterprise joined the Sixth Fleet in the Med-iterranean. Soon after its return to Norfolk, Va., in October, Enterprise was dispatched to its first international crisis. Enterprise and other ships in the Second Fleet set up a "strict quarantine of all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba." The blockade was put in place on Oct. 24, and the first Soviet ship was stopped the next day. On Oct. 28, Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles and dismantle the missile bases in Cuba.

Enterprise made its second and third deployments to the Mediterranean in 1963 and 1964. During the latter deployment, on May 13, the world's first nuclear-powered task force was formed when USS Long Beach and USS Bainbridge joined Enterprise. On July 31, the ships were designated Task Force One and sent on Operation Sea Orbit, a historic 30,565-mile voyage around the world, accomplished without a single refueling or replenishment.

The Big E transferred to the Pacific's Seventh Fleet in November 1965 and became the first nuclear-powered ship to engage in combat when it launched bomb-laden aircraft in a projection of power against the Viet Cong on Dec. 2, 1965. Its hot decks launched 125 sorties on the first day, unleashing 167 tons of bombs and rockets on the enemy's supply lines. The next day it set a record of 165 strike sorties in a single day. In all, Enterprise made six combat deployments to Southeast Asia from 1965 to 1972.

Following the 1973 cease-fire in Vietnam, Enterprise proceeded to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash., where Big E was altered and refitted to support the Navy's newest fighter aircraft -- the F-14A "Tomcat." When Enterprise made its seventh Western Pacific (WESTPAC) deployment in September 1974, it became the first carrier to deploy with the new fighter plane. During the deployment, in February 1975, Enterprise was called on to help in the evacuation of Saigon. During Operation Frequent Wind, Big E aircraft flew 95 sorties.

The ship made its eighth and ninth WESTPACs in 1976 and 1978, respectively. Enterprise made its 10th, 11th and 12th WESTPAC deployments in 1982, 1984 and 1986, respectively.

When Enterprise deployed in 1986, it became the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to transit the Suez Canal. It then entered the Mediterranean Sea for the first time in over 22 years.

In April 1988, Enterprise, on its 13th deployment, was assigned to escort reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers in the Persian Gulf while stationed in the North Arabian Sea. In a measured response, Enterprise and Carrier Air Wing 11 struck a decisive blow to the Iranian navy in the most intensely fought naval battle since the Korean campaign.

Enterprise began its 14th overseas deployment in September 1989. In early December, Enterprise participated in Operation Classic Resolve, President Bush's response to Philippine President Corazon Aquino's request for air support during the rebel coup attempt. Enterprise remained on station conducting flight operations in the waters outside Manila Bay.

In March 1990, Enterprise completed its highly successful around-the-world deployment by arriving in Norfolk, Va. Enterprise had successfully and safely steamed more than 43,000 miles from its long-time homeport of Alameda, Calif. In October, Enterprise moved to Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company for refueling and the Navy's largest complex overhaul ever attempted. It returned to sea Sept. 27, 1994, for sea trials, during which Enterprise performed an extended full power run as fast as when it was new. The Big E remains the fastest combatant in the world.

On June 28, 1996, Enterprise began its 15th overseas deployment. The Big E enforced no-fly zones in Bosnia (Operation Joint Endeavor) and Iraq (Operation Southern Watch). The deployment also marked the end of an era when VA-75 retired the A-6E Intruder from the Navy. Enterprise completed its deployment Dec. 20, 1996.

In February of 1997 Enterprise entered Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Co. for an extended selective restrictive availablity lasting four-and-a-half months. Following workups, Enterprise departed on its 16th overseas deployment Nov. 6, 1998, this time with CVW 3. Following a high-speed TransLant, Big E relieved Eisenhower in the Arabian Gulf Nov. 23.

On Dec. 16, 1998, Enterprise Battle Group assets initiated Operation Desert Fox, the aerial assault of military targets in Iraq, first with Tomahawk land attack missiles and then air strikes by CVW 3. During the 70-hour operation, Team Enterprise launched more than 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles and dropped more than 675,000 pounds of ordnance. Immediately after Desert Fox, Big E steamed to the Adriatic Sea for possible combat operations in the Yugoslavian province of Kosovo. The deployment concluded in May 1999.

MED 01

Enterprise began its 17th deployment in spring 2001. More than 15,000 Sailors and Marines attached to the ships and squadrons of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Aircraft Carrier Battle Group (CVBG) and USS Kearsarge (LHD 3) Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) began a scheduled six-month deployment. This is the 17th overseas deployment for Enterprise since its maiden voyage Jan. 12, 1962. The Enterprise CVBG and Kearsarge ARG relieved the USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) CVBG and USS Nassau (LHA 4) ARG, which deployed in November. Those two groups were scheduled to return home in late May 2001. In addition to Enterprise and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8, deploying ships of the CVBG include guided missile cruisers USS Philippine Sea (CG 58) and USS Gettysburg (CG 64); guided missile destroyers USS Stout (DDG 55), USS McFaul (DDG 74) and USS Gonzalez (DDG 66); destroyers USS Nicholson (DD 982) and USS Thorn (DD 988); guided missile frigate USS Nicholas (FFG 47); logistics ship USS Arctic (AOE 8); and attack submarines USS Providence (SSN 719) and USS Jacksonville (SSN 699). Scheduled as late-deployers, McFaul and Nicholson joined the battle group after departing in June.

The Kearsarge ARG, with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) embarked, deployed as a major component of the battle group. The ARG is comprised of amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3), amphibious transport dock ship USS Ponce (LPD 15), and dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50). Over a six month period, these units conducted multi-national and joint operations with navies of various European countries, and visit ports in Mediterranean and Arabian Gulf nations. The ships and squadrons were scheduled to return home in October 2001.

Team ENTERPRISE participated in several multi-national maritime exercises between port visits to Spain, France, Italy, England, Portugal, and Greece. Subsequently, the ship spent two months in the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation SOUTHERN WATCH and Maritime Interdiction Operations. ENTERPRISE aborted her transit home after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and steamed overnight to the North Arabian Sea in direct support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. Big E once again took her place in history by becoming one of the first units to respond in a crisis with her awesome striking power. Big E expended more than 800,000 pounds of ordnance during the operation. ENTERPRISE returned to her homeport at Naval Station Norfolk, November 10, 2001.

MED 03

On January 7, 2002 ENTERPRISE entered the Norfolk Naval Shipyard for a scheduled one-year EDSRA. On Aug. 21, 2002 Enterprise moved out of dry dock and got water under its keel for the first time since January 2002. Enterprise’s next major phase in the EDSRA included getting all the ship's services back online, resurfacing the flight deck and getting the propulsion plants up and running. In January 2003 the Enterprise completed the EDSRA and began conducting sea trials. In February 2003, the ship conducted carrier qualifications off the East Coast of the United States.

In April 2003 the Enterprise Strike Group participated in Multi-National Maritime Exercise 03-1. The exercise began on April 07, 2003 and ended on April 11, 2003. The carrier was back in Norfolk by April 18, 2003.

The Enterprise departed Norfolk on May 7, 2003 and returned to the port on May 27, 2003.

In June 2003 the Enterprise joined the Argentinean destroyer ARA Sarandi (D 13) for joint training exercise Solid Step. On June 18, 2003 the Enterprise departed Norfolk for what had been thought to be a TSTA period, but information regarding Solid Step indicates that this might have been COMPTUEX. Unfortunately, information coming out of 2nd Fleet has been notoriously bad and it is not clear exactly at what stage in its IDTC the Enterprise was when it departed in June. The Enterprise returned to Norfolk on July 02, 2003.

There is insufficient information as to what activities the Enterprise took part in during the month of August. There are some indications that the Enterprise conducted a Battle Group Inport Exercise. Every indication was that the Enterprise was preparing for a major departure from Norfolk that would involve the completion of the IDTC and deployment.

A story in the Navy Times on August 26, 2003 indicated the Enterprise was to get underway on August 28, 2003 and would work to complete its intermediate and advanced phases of the IDTC. Curiously, the article indicates that COMPTUEX would begin on September 10, 2003 and that following the completion of the IDTC the Enterprise Strike Group would deploy without returning to Norfolk. There has not been any indication that following the completion of COMPTUEX that the Enterprise would begin a JTFEX.

The composition of the strike group has also been an issue of some confusion. The Enterprise's official website indicates that the strike group will be comprised of the USS Gettysburg, the Philippine Sea, the Cole, Gonzalez, McFaul, Stout, Thorn, Nicholas, and Detroit. However, various news reports both from media sources and the Navy indicate that only the Detroit, Philippine Sea and Gettysburg are part of the strike group (as well as a destroyer from Argentina). To further confuse the matter, photo's from the Navy in late September indicate that the some of the original ships are in fact part of the strike group and are taking part in pre-deployment work-ups.

As of mid-November 2003 the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Carrier Strike Group (CSG), the Navy’s only deployed CSG, was taking charge of a range of military operations covering a geographical region larger than the United States from its station in the North Arabian Sea. If one were to overlay a map of the United States on the Arabian Gulf and Northern Indian Ocean, and put Enterprise over Norfolk, one would see that Enterprise has flown strike, reconnaissance, and electronic attack missions to the very northern tip of Maine, corresponding to northeastern Afghanistan; operated and provide spec ops support near New Mexico, corresponding to the Horn of Africa; and directed complex maritime missions of leadership interdiction and counter-smuggling as far away as North Dakota, corresponding to the Northern Arabian Gulf. Elements of the CSG were running anti-smuggling operations in the North Arabian Gulf, while in the Horn of Africa, aircraft from Enterprise’s embarked helicopter squadron, Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS) 11, were flying missions in support of the multi-national coalition hunting terrorists there. From the aircraft carrier, the embarked squadrons of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 were providing air support for troops fighting Al-Qaida and Taliban forces in the high mountains of Afghanistan. To aid the troops, E-2C Hawkeyes from the “Screwtops” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 123 conducted missions between Enterprise and Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. In its three weeks on station in the 5th Fleet, Enterprise CSG had been actively engaged in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

That kind of multi-tasking demands increased flexibility from the crew. Nov. 3, with less than 24-hours notice, Enterprise got underway from the port of Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates. Even though the 5,600 Sailors still had two more days of liberty scheduled there, the ship’s leadership recalled the crew, and steamed through the Strait of Hormuz out to the Northern Arabian Sea in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Before Enterprise was ordered to depart Jebel Ali, they were fully expecting to head back up to continue supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, and instead they got called to help with Operation Enduring Freedom. Embarked in Enterprise, the staff of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 18 coordinates many of the CSG’s missions throughout the Middle East. In the 5th Fleet, the staff took on responsibility as the Northern Arabian Sea and Northern Arabian Gulf Sea Combat Commander. DESRON 18 operations officer inherited 19 ships.

These ships include the Coastal Patrol ships USS Firebolt (PC 10) and USS Chinook (PC 9), and some Coast Guard cutters, performing maritime security missions in the Northern Arabian Gulf, along with coalition forces patrolling the Strait of Hormuz. Many of these missions involve clamping down on oil smuggling from Iraq and searching for terrorists seeking to travel covertly by sea. In the Horn of Africa, two SH-60H Seahawk helicopters from HS-11, based out of Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., were operating from the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock USS Ogden (LPD 5) in coordination with Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa in direct support of OEF.

USS Enterprise entered the waters of the U.S. 6th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) Feb. 5, 2004 after transiting the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea following almost four months of operations in the Middle East.




The outer circle, using the Navy colors of blue and gold, enclose a gold outlined Big "E", the traditional nickname for its predecessor, the renowned aircraft carrier of World War II, USS ENTERPRISE (CV 6). As the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) adopted the nickname, confident that it is living up to the traditions of the service and duty the Big "E" symbolizes. Over the upper left-hand section of the E is an overlay of the globe showing the Western Hemisphere, home waters for ENTERPRISE and the United States Navy.

The lower right-hand section of the E, covered by part of the golden outline, is another section of the globe showing the Eastern Hemisphere, symbolizing that ENTERPRISE and its aircraft can cover the world. Emerging through the center of the E is an aircraft carrier with a nuclear emblem surrounding the island structure to indicate the nuclear capability and power that ENTERPRISE contains. When commissioned on 25 November 1961, ENTERPRISE was designated as a 'nuclear-powered attack aircraft carrier' and was assigned the hull number CVAN 65. To more accurately reflect ENTERPRISE's multi-mission capabilities, the "A" (for attack) was dropped on 1 July 1975, and the Big E became a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier with the hull number CVN 65.


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Copyright 2001-07 by © Ellsworth L. Owens, Jr.  This site last updated on 05/29/07.  Permission required to re-publish any content of this site.