(CVA(N)-65: dp. 85,600 (f.); l. 1101'; b. 133'; ew. 252'; dr. 35'; s. 30+ k.; cpl. 4,600; cl. Enterprise)
Boldness, energy, and invention in practical affairs.
The eighth Enterprise (CVA(N)-65), the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was launched 24 September 1960 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry-dock Co., Newport News, Va.; sponsored by Mrs. W. B. Franke, wife of the Secretary of the Navy; and commissioned 25 November 1961, Captain V. P. de Poix, in command.
After commissioning, Enterprise began a lengthy series of tests and training exercises, designed to determine the full capabilities of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Immediately her superlative characteristics and performance became obvious. She began flight operations on 17 January 1962 when an F8U "Crusader" became the first airplane to land on board her giant flight deck. The same aircraft later became the first plane to be catapulted from Enterprise. One month later, on 20 February 1962, the nuclear-powered carrier played a role in the space age when Enterprise acted as a tracking and measuring station for the epochal flight of Friendship 7, the "Project Mercury" space capsule in which Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr., USMC, made the United States' first orbital space flight. The career of the eighth Enterprise had started well.