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Enterprise VIII (CVAN-65)


(CVA(N)-65: displacement 85,600 tons (full load); length 1101'; beam 133'; extreme width 252'; draft 35'; speed 30+ knots; complement 4,600; class Enterprise)

Boldness, energy, and invention in practical affairs.


History: 1976-1980
Enterprise began the Bicentennial Year 1976 with a period of intensive training in preparation for her forthcoming WestPac deployment. From 1–28 January 1976, she conducted refresher training and conducted carquals. Embarked during the former were 32 reservists from CV-220, a reserve command from San Jose, California. The “workup routine” was interrupted when a civilian electronics technician suffered a heart attack on board oceanographic research ship De Steiguer (T-AGOR-12). Ordered to render assistance, Enterprise sped to the area at 30 knots and launched two helos to recover the patient and bring him on board for treatment. The man was subsequently flown to San Diego for additional care. At the end of that period, as Enterprise entered San Francisco Bay, her wake allegedly swamped a small fishing boat on 28 January 1975, eventually requiring litigation.

Operation Valiant Heritage, FleetEx 1-76, a projected exercise involving 40 ships from five nations, proved of such complexity that “several months” were required to review the numerous operations orders, conduct pre-exercise conferences, and to train several ship’s “warfare teams.” Thus, she needed to perform air refresher training and continue evaluation of the SLQ-17/WLR-8 EW suite, and the S-3A/TSC combination, while underway (18–-26 February 1976). The day after her return to port, the ship became the Com3rdFlt “ready duty” carrier and assumed a commitment to Com7thFlt as part of a “surge force,” and assignment that necessitated a higher alert posture for the remainder of her time before deployment.

Toward the end of February 1976, the crew learned that Enterprise received the Battle Efficiency “E,” with departmental efficiency awards given to CIC, Air, Engineering and AIMD. Beginning with an exercise emergency sortie from San Diego, on 2 March, FleetEx 1-76 tested men and equipment in a grueling series of simulations off Southern California operating area.

Tragedy marked Enterprise’s next at-sea period (29 March-–9 April 1976) when an A-7E from VA-125, the Pacific Replacement Group, struck the round down, sheering off its starboard landing gear strut. Continuing down the flight deck, the pilot was unable to prevent the aircraft from careening off the bow and into the water. Both the pilot and a member of the Air Department died in the mishap.

Over 3,000 dependents were embarked for an eight hour dependent’s cruise at the beginning of the next underway period (28 April–-5 May 1976), the air wing staging an air show.

Going to sea, 10–-17 May 1976, Enterprise accomplished “more specialized training,” including a team training visit from the Nuclear Weapons Training Group, and a three-day ASW exercise. On the 15th, actor Martin Milner visited Enterprise.

A visit by midshipmen for their summer cruise coincided with both a weapons training exercise and a carrier readiness inspection, 8–12 June 1976. On the last day Vice Admiral Robert E. Baldwin, AirPac, visited the ship. The crew enjoyed a standdown while anchored off San Diego, highlighted by rope climbing, tug-of-war, and various track events associated with the Captain’s Cup, on the 13th.

Enterprise devoted the remainder of June 1976 to an ORI and ReadiEx 4-76, “a scaled down version of Valiant Heritage,” and hosted a visit by Vice Admiral Robert P. Coogan, Com3rdFlt, on the 25th. Following the completion of those requirements, the ship moored at North Island on 30 June, enabling the offloading of her complement of Tomcats, due to a temporary Navy-wide grounding of the F-14.

Enterprise began her westward transit of this deployment on 30 July 1976, with Captain Smith serving in the dual role as Task Group Commander and the ship’s skipper. The transit differed from previous ones in that routine “open ocean” flight operations were conducted during periods when no divert fields were available. The composition of CVW-14 remained the same, with VQ-1 Det C arriving on board later, on 31 August, and VS-38 embarking during 1977. She conducted numerous AAW, strike and ASW exercises en route Hawaiian waters, culminating in CompTuEx 1-7T, an exercise in the Hawaii area involving air intercepts, ASW, Marine carrier landings and a BPDMS firing.

Attack submarines Scamp (SSN-588) and Tautog (SSN-639) “contributed greatly” to evaluations of the SH-3D, S-3A and TSC as “an ASW team.” Japanese destroyers Akigumo (DD 120) and Aokumo (DD 119), supported by a Japanese maritime patrol squadron equipped with Lockheed P-2 Neptunes, joined Enterprise for the latter exercises.

Enterprise hosted high-ranking visitors during this period, including Rear Admiral J.W. Moreau, Commandant, 14th Coast Guard District, and Major General W.A. Boyson, U.S.A., Tripler Army Hospital, the Army’s senior medical officer,who visited the ship on 7 August 1976.  Admiral Thomas B. Hayward relieved Admiral Weisner as CinCPac, in a ceremony held on board Enterprise, on 12 August, in the presence of the CNO and Com7thFlt.

While steaming westward soon thereafter, Enterprise and Ranger came under surveillance by “two separate waves” of Bears, five Tu-95s all told being intercepted by the ship’s Tomcats and Corsair IIs while in the vicinity of the task group.

ComCarStrFor7thFlt’s InChopEx commenced with the arrival of Rear Admiral Harris, TF-77, on 31 August 1976. InChopEx challenged the Enterprise task group with “numerous hostile” submarines, ships and aircraft belonging to Orange.

Mooring to Leyte Pier, Cubi Point, on 6 September 1976, Enterprise’s planned three week “sojourn” was cut short by Typhoon Iris, that forced the ship to anchor in the center of Subic Bay to prevent damage (14-16 September). Subsequently, when the weather permitted, a Filipino delegation, led by General Romeo C. Espino, Defense Chief of Staff, Major General Fidel V. Ramos, Chief of Constabulary, Brigadier General F. Afat, Commanding General, Army, Brigadier General S. Sarmiento, Commanding General, Air Force, and Commodore E. Ogbinar, Flag Officer in Command, Navy, toured Enterprise, on 25 September 1976.

Enterprise got underway later that day (25 September 1976) for her 4,000-mile transit to southern Australian waters for Kangaroo II. She relaxed cyclic air operations a week later for “Crossing the Line” and an afternoon firepower demonstration by New Zealand frigate Otago (F-111). She conducted refresher training and dissimilar ACM between CVW-14’s Tomcats and RAAF Mirage IIIs between 9–-11 October.

Kangaroo II began with a “bang” with the ship commencing 55 hours of continuous air strikes and defensive operations against the RAAF Williamtown target complex, on 12 October 1976. The Australians “enlivened” the 600-mile transit northward toward the Rockhampton area with “continual harassment,” aircrews flying from Enterprise responding with “equal vigor.”

Emergencies punctuated the fast-paced training. A Marine embarked in Okinawa suffered a concussion on the evening of 17 October 1976 and required immediate transfer to an Australian hospital. Coming about to within helicopter range, Enterprise launched a helo that retrieved the patient and transported him ashore for urgent care.

Five days later, on 22 October 1976, an HS-2 suffered engine failure on takeoff and made a forced landing approximately one mile from the ship. The crew made “numerous attempts” to get the helo airborne.  The crew was finally forced to deploy flotation gear, securing the engine. The ship had meanwhile lowered a motor whaleboat that retrieved the men and helped maneuver the helo alongside Enterprise, where it was raised by the ship’s crane.

That afternoon (22 October 1976), a VA-27 Corsair II pilot spotted 15 Taiwanese fishermen stranded on a small island, where they had been for four days in the wake of their boat being holed by a coral reef. Enterprise launched a helo that rescued them and brought them out to the ship for medical examination, after which they were flown on to Australia.

The final phase of Kangaroo II consisted of operations designed to support the task force as it reinforced an amphibious landing, concluding with a conference on board Australian carrier HMAS Melbourne on 25 October 1976. Four days later, hundreds of pleasure boats met Enterprise at the mouth of the Derwent River, escorting her to her anchorage at Hobart, Tasmania. In addition to 1,200 visitors in organized tours during the week long stay (29 October-–4 November 1976), “about 40,000 visitors” waited long hours to clamor on board the 200-seat ferry boats, despite wind and rain, to see the carrier, referring to her as “Tasmania’s fifth largest city.” Among the visitors to the ship were Governor-General of Australia Sir John R. Kerr, Prime Minister Malcom Frazer, Premier W.A. Nielson of Tasmania, Lord Mayor Douglas R. Plaister of, Hobart, U.S. Ambassador to Australia James W. Hargrove, Captain Benjamin T. Sutherlin, U.S. Naval Attaché, as well as Julie A. Ismay, Miss Australia 1976 and Miss Tasmania 1975.  The “extraordinary reception given to Enterprise… defies description,” was the summation of her Command History Report, the consensus of the crew being that “Hobart was the best liberty port west of Alameda.” Getting underway past shores thronged with waving crowds on 5 November, the crew responded to the outpouring of hospitality by the Australians by donating $10,000 to local charity, sent to Lord Mayor Plaister.

En route to Subic Bay, Enterprise conducted an ASW exercise, during which Rear Admiral Harris, ComCarStrFor7thFlt, was relieved by Rear Admiral Henry P. Glindeman, Jr. Arriving in the Philippines on 22 November 1976, the crew highlighted the date by a picnic celebrating the ship’s 15th birthday. A week later, the crew then received what they considered a “Christmas present” (albeit an early one) in the form of the beginning of a visit to Hong Kong (29 November–3 December). Though giving some sailors the opportunity to temporarily reunite with their families, the visit was also marred by the drug-related deaths of two crewmen.

Enterprise returned to Cubi Point on 5 December 1976. Attended by Vice Admiral Baldwin, she held a change of command ceremony on 10 December, during which Captain Smith was also promoted to rear admiral.

Enterprise conducted MultiPlEx 1-77 and MissilEx 1-77 underway (14–28 December 1976), in preparation for a larger exercise in the New Year. However, five days into those evolutions, on the morning of the 19th, an F-14 from VF-2 was lost at sea three miles ahead of the ship. Experiencing a “flight control malfunction while attempting to land,” the Tomcat boltered, the crew unable to maintain directional flight control. The tip of a wing clipped the tails of two planes parked on the port bow after the Tomcat struggled airborne. Both men ejected and were recovered unharmed by a helo.

VRC-50 and VMA-223 conducted refresher training from Enterprise during this period; two days before Christmas, an A-4M from the latter squadron lost control just prior to launching and ended up in the port catwalk. The pilot was unharmed and the Skyhawk retrieved with minor damage.

ReadiEx 1-77, a training evolution emphasizing AAW and ASW, proved to be the first commitment for Enterprise in the New Year, 16–21 January 1977. Three days into that period of work, on 19th, a pair of Soviet Bear Ds flew into the exercise area in the Philippine Sea, to be intercepted by Phantom IIs from Midway.

Enterprise then participated in Merlion III, an exercise with the Singaporeans, on 25 January 1977. Visiting the ship on that date were Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Swee, and U.S. Ambassador to Singapore John H. Holdridge. Three days later, Enterprise, Long Beach and Truxtun transited the Malacca Strait (28 January 1977). Entering the Indian Ocean, they rendezvoused with attack submarine Tautog, the first time that an all nuclear-powered task force operated in those waters since Sea Orbit.

Soviet interference materialized on occasion. Kynda class raketnyy kreyser (rocket cruiser) No. 822 began trailing the task group on 8 February 1977. This movement portended more than mere observation, as the cruiser continuously jockeyed for the most advantageous position from which to attack Enterprise in the event of hostilities. Less than a week later, on 14 February 1977, two Soviet Ilyushin Il-38 Mays, flying from Somalia, reconnoitered Enterprise and her consorts as they steamed east of Socotra Island, Gulf of Aden. Over a period of four hours, the Mays made three separate passes overhead, being intercepted by Tomcats.

Two days later (17 February 1977), TF 77 initiated Operation Houdini, aimed at evading the close surveillance of Kynda class No. 822. Before proceeding into additional operations, Enterprise began maintaining high speed, with the objective of “putting a heavy drain on the Kynda’s fuel supply.” That the intent achieved some manner of success is that the Soviet cruiser effected a “number of refuelings” with her accompanying fleet replenishment ship Vladimir Kolyechitskiy. Under the guise of routine flight operations, Enterprise opened beyond radar range, Long Beach remaining behind to shadow the shadower, noting the latter’s failure to relocate the carrier for three days. The keys to the operation lay in complete reliance on satellite communications and maintaining a strict EmCon posture.

Enterprise anchored at Mombasa (19–-22 February 1977), welcoming visiting U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Anthony D. Marshall upon her arrival. After splintering a portion of a huge camel there, one of two caissons carried and positioned alongside Enterprise for Tautog, it was “unanimously concluded the best way to support a submarine in an open road anchorage was with liberty boats while she was anchored.”

Enterprise planned a routine transit back to the Philippines, but the worsening crisis in Uganda necessitated a change of plans. Public derogatory remarks made against the U.S. by President Idi Amin Dada of Uganda, accompanied by Amin’s directive that all Americans living in Uganda meet with him personally, caused concern for the safety of those people. The JCS ordered the task group to maintain station 300 NM east of Kenya, where the ships steamed between 25 February and 3 March 1977. Enterprise was released for normal operations after President Amin lifted travel restrictions on Americans. The Ugandan incident “provided a real sense of purpose to extended cruising of distant oceans.”

During the return passage to the Philippines, Enterprise and her consorts briefly came under surveillance by the Soviet Kashin class guided missile destroyer Odarenny in the vicinity of the Seychelles, on 4 March 1977; nine days later, the carrier reached Cubi Point.

Enterprise, Long Beach and Truxtun got underway for their return on 17 March 1977, making a fast, 24-knot, passage home via a modified Great Circle Route, arriving on schedule at Alameda on 28 March 1977. During the 1976-–77 cruise, the ship steamed 64,000 miles and was at sea 164 of 240 days deployed. Logistics in such isolated areas had been a major concern. It became necessary to take on board 150 tons of parts “through the C-141/CH-46 supply chain,” by HC-3 Det 112, Kansas City (AOR-3), from Singapore on 26 January, Karachi on 9 February, Mombasa on 20 February, and Diego Garcia on 6 March.  “Never missing a mission,” the busy helo crews also performed daytime plane guard as well as logistics support. However, this overtaxed the limited number of aircraft available, and both in Australian waters and in the Indian Ocean, a cargo backlog ensued, prompting Captain Austin to recommend to AirPac on 31 March: “Organic CH-46 capability for out-of-area operations should be given careful consideration.” And, although Enterprise “easily steamed the far reaches” of the Pacific and Indian Ocean at “sustained high speed,” it was twice necessary to refuel JP-5 in the latter from chartered logistics Military Sealift Command (MSC) tankers American Trader (6 February), and Arabian Sea (23 February), Enterprise airlifting technical support teams to the tankers for assistance.

Following a 30-day post deployment standdown, Enterprise was at sea again for carrier qualifications in Southern California operating area (27 April–10 May 1977). During this period, VFs-121 and 124, Marine Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (VMFP)-3, VSs-38, 41 and 91, VAQ-129, VAW-110 and “various aircraft from CVW-11” trained on board the carrier. Some 1,359 arrested landings brought the ship’s total to 174,092 since commissioning.

SRA 77 proved to be an $8.5 million repair and alteration package including overhauling one of the two waist catapult systems and resurfacing the flight deck (11 May-–31 July 1977). Visitors during this period included Vice Admiral Wagner, Commandant, Coast Guard 12th District, on 13 June, and Vice Admiral J.D. Watkins, Chief of Naval Personnel, on 8 July.

Back at sea “in her natural environment” for sea trials, Enterprise conducted flight deck certification and drilled her repair parties, between 1 and 5 August 1977. After a brief in-port period at Alameda (6-–14 August), the carrier was underway again for the southern California operating area for additional refresher training and work ups, from the 15th–-19th. Soon after she moored back at Alameda, the ship began receiving over 4,000 visitors for a dependents day cruise, including a flight operations demonstration.

Enterprise completed a variety of training exercises and battle problems, including refresher training (29 August–-20 September 1977), punctuating that work with an in-port period moored at North Island over Labor Day Weekend (2-–5 September).  Subsequently, Admiral Rickover inspected the ship (29–-30 September).

Underway from Alameda on 3 October, Enterprise conducted additional carrier qualifications, refresher training and automatic carrier landing system certification through the 10th. Among the squadrons utilizing the ship were VFs-121, 124, 301 and 302, VFP-63, VAs-303, 304 and 305, VSs-37 and 41 and VAQ-129. The ship returned to Alameda on 14 October. She returned to the southern California operating area for additional air refresher training, 25 October–10 November, but this time with part of CVW-14. The ship also conducted a MissilEx with her BPDMS with the Pacific Missile Test Center, 31 October.

Enterprise'’s final underway period of the year (2–-15 December 1977) focused on workups in the southern California operating area with the full wing embarked, conducting cyclic air operations, principally ASW. The wing completed its “fly off” on the 15th, and the carrier steamed north, mooring at Alameda on 16 December, remaining there for the holidays.

Enterprise began the New Year 1978 in her homeport, preparing for her next phase of work ups. From 10–-19 January and 23 January–2 February, with a brief visit to North Island in between, she conducted “at sea operations,” culminating in ReadiEx 2-78, designed to further prepare her in “sea control and power projection missions.”

On the morning of 18 January 1978, tug Cree (ATF-84) released ex-YO-129 as a target for “live” bombing practice by naval aircraft, while steaming off the coast of southern California. Cree then proceeded north to clear the target area, taking her assigned station, but mistakenly became a target when a “Navy jet aircraft” made an attack run on her at 1206, unleashing three 500 lb bombs on the ship and her crew. One bomb struck the mast and exploded in the air close aboard to starboard, showering the tug with fragments. The second bomb fell along the port side, sliced beneath the ship and exploded underwater off the starboard side, “engulfing” Cree in a wall of water. The third slammed into the ship on the port bow, passing through seven bulkheads in the forward part of the ship, before becoming wedged into the passageway between the chief petty officer’s quarters and sick bay, though failing to detonate. The damage to the ship was severe, including holing of the mast, destruction of two life rafts, severing of the emergency power cable and fragment damage above the 01 Level. Below decks, the ship’s gyro was destroyed by the bomb forward, which also damaged the diving locker and bulkheads. The underwater explosion, however, caused the most serious damage, blasting several holes in bulkheads and spliting seams. Motor room B-2 became “a tangled mass of warped frames,” with equipment “wrenched from mountings and broken lines.” Flooding in excess of 2,000 gallons per minute was reported.

Going to General Quarters, the crew responded immediately, but during their gallant efforts to save the ship, discovered the live bomb where it wedged forward, just 20 feet from where the repair party was stationed. Moving aft away from the 500 pounder, the repair party was temporarily relieved by an EOD team from Enterprise rushed to Cree. Within 45 minutes the team was on board and able to defuse the bomb. Seven men of the repair party braved “rising water, leaking fuel and oil from broken lines,”as well as the absence of light, entering Motor Room B-2 to battle the flooding for two hours before getting it under control.

Additional ships rendering assistance included Long Beach, guided missile destroyer John Paul Jones (DDG-32) and tug Moctobi (ATF-105), providing portable pumps, gasoline and “other supplies.” Taken under tow that evening by John Paul Jones, which transferred her to Moctobi early the next afternoon, Cree returned to San Diego on the 19th, her exhausted crew having battled for 27 hours to keep their ship afloat.

On 18 February 1978, Enterprise became the adopted ship of the City of Oakland, California. Ten days later, standing out from Alameda, Enterprise sailed for the southern California operating area to perform an ASW exercise with attack submarine Blueback (SS-581), on 1 March, and conduct carrier qualifications and an oerational radiness examination (ORE), returning to her home port on the 11th. Vice Admiral Coogan, AirPac, embarked on 18–19 January, and again on 3 March.

Two weeks of intensive AAW and ASW team training as part of RimPac 78, a joint exercise with Australian, New Zealand and Canadian naval forces, preceded the ship’s WestPac deployment that began with Enterprise sailing on 8 April 1978.

During the transit phase, 172 S-3 and SH-3 sorties were flown in direct support of Blue Force operations, as there was a large Orange submarine threat consisting of both nuclear and diesel submarines.  In addition, upon arrival in the Hawaii operating areas, RVAH-1 flew 15 photo mapping flights. Enterprise received a visit by Rear Admiral N.E. McDonald, Commander, RAN Supply, on 17 April, and moored at Pearl, 23–25 April.

The task group chopped to Com7thFlt on 2 May 1978, ComCarGru-1 shifting his flag from Enterprise to Kitty Hawk the same day. Two days later, while east of Guam, the ship was shadowed by no less than five Bears. Enterprise participated in exercises Fortress Warrior I and Fortress Warrior II while approaching the Philippines, 9–11 May, followed by transiting the San Bernadino Strait on the 12th; she ultimately moored at, Cubi Point on 17 May.

Enterprise then participated in Exercise Cope Thunder (22 May–1 June 1978), pausing in the midst of it to conduct a mission of mercy: the rescue of 13 Vietnamese refugees, known as “boat people,” from their sinking sampan about 90 miles west of Luzon, Philippines, on 27 May 1978. Enterprise fed and clothed the destitute people, then transferred them to destroyer Hull (DD-945), which transported them to Subic Bay.

Enterprise then visited Hong Kong (12–-17 June 1978), and after a period of local operations, sailed for the Indian Ocean on 5 July. Rear Adm. Tissot, ComCarStrFor7thFlt, embarked on board Enterprise, as senior officer afloat. Conducting Fortress Warrior IV, on the 9th, the next day the ship encountered Soviet AGs Antares and Agor Nevelskoy and Ropucha-class tank landing ship (No.383). Transiting the Strait of Malacca on 12 July, she entered the Indian Ocean the next day. Following a VertRep from Masroor Airfield, Karachi, Pakistan, on 22 July, Enterprise and her task group encountered a Soviet Kashin-class destroyer (DDG-100) and a Don-class submarine tender (AS-941).

Enterprise gave her pollywogs a chance to become shellbacks by crossing the equator, on 27 July 1978. Two days later, she conducted a helo logistics lift from Diego Garcia, and while in the area, RVAH-1 flew five photographic reconnaissance missions for “mapping and orientation of Diego Garcia and all other island groups within the Chagos Archipelago.”

Returning to Cubi Point on 26 August 1978, Enterprise stood out toward Okinawa and ReadiEx 1-79, on 16 September. A “scaled down” exercise (24 September–-1 October 1978), it developed into a series of exercises off Okinawa followed by an opposed sortie from Buckner Bay by an amphibious ready group, the latter joining the Enterprise and Midway task forces as they steamed through the Ryukyus toward Korean waters, concluding just north of Tsushima Strait. As could be expected, the Societs showed great interest in the proceedings, Enterprise encountering a pair of AGIs, Ilmen and Izmeritel, on the 24th and 26th, respectively. In addition, Bear Ds came out the day after FinEx, making several runs toward the ships, but did not approach closer than 30 miles, being intercepted and escorted by F-14s. Soviet forces played a game of cat and mouse with the ship and her screen, yet at no time during the cruise “was their conduct considered to be either improper or hazardous.”

Mooring at Cubi Point on 5 October 1978, TF 77 and ComCarGru-5 disembarked. Enterprise stood out for the South China Sea four days later for storm evasion, returning on the 12th, for a brief stop for loading, before getting underway for her return to the U.S.

Enterprise chopped to Com3rdFlt and rendezvoused with Constellation on 18 October 1977. From 22–24 October, the ship moored at Pearl, embarking 150 crewmembers’ sons for a Tiger Cruise. Following a four-day ammunition backload with fast combat support ship Camden, the ship arrived at Alameda on 30 October.

Following her standdown, Enterprise got underway for carrier qualifications in the southern California operating area (28 November–-15 December 1978), with a brief stop at North Island over the 2nd–-4th.  CVW-11 flew on board on 6 December, conducting refresher operations, the ship also completing her mine readiness certification on the 13th

Enterprise returned to Alameda for the holidays (16 December 1978–-9 January 1979).

Enterprise sailed from Alameda, with 2,200 officers and men and 500 temporarily embarked dependents, on 9 January 1979 and arrived at Bremerton on the 11th.  Immediately upon arrival, she entered Dry Dock No. 6, where she remained until 30 September, then moving to Pier 3, remaining there through the end of the year. This was considered the “most extensive and highly complex overhaul” of the ship’s history to date. To enable Enterprise crewmembers relatively safe and clean berthing during overhaul, the auxiliary (former MSC transport) General Hugh J. Gaffey (IX-507) (ex-T-AP-121) was made available to them as an “off-ship berthing facility.” During overhaul, Enterprise was required to assign a “10-man dedicated maintenance crew” to the ship, which also stood watches and performed similar duties while so assigned

The deck department undertook the maintenance, preservation and improvement of over 330 spaces, primarily the hull, forecastle, quarterdeck, sponsons, heads, passageways and ceremonial spaces, many heavily used by the crew. During the overhaul, the aircraft intermediate maintenance department (AIMD) focused the rehabilitation of departmental spaces, expanding/improving a validated/effective individual material readiness list, the overhaul/operational readiness of “assigned activity assets,” and improving the operational availability and material condition of the ship’s C-1A (BuNo 146057), the latter maintained by a det of six men at Kitsap County Airport, Bremerton.

Additional avionics packages installed enabled support of the forward looking infrared radar (FLIR) systems, at this point principally on A-6Es and A-7Es.  Ground support equipment overhaul and calibration and testing of precision measuring equipment, and the checking of production efforts, were the responsibility of the ground support equipment rework det, established on 9 January 1979, at NAS Alameda.

New instrumentation was emplaced on the jet engine test cell control booth, relocated from the port side of the fantail to the ship’s centerline, facilitating the installation of three MK 15 Mod 1 Phalanx Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS). Developed in response to the ongoing threat poised by sea-skimmer and anti-ship cruise missiles, CIWS was a last-ditch “fast-reaction” defense system against those missiles, combining on a single mount fire control radars and a six barrel M61A1 Vulcan (Gatling) gun firing tungsten alloy projectiles at a rate of up to 4,500 rounds per minute. Additional defensive improvements included installation/modifications of three eight-celled MK 29 launchers for Raytheon AIM-7F Sea Sparrow surface-air-missiles, and three single MK 68 20 mm guns.

The engineering department oversaw the removal, refurbishment and modification of the high pressure propulsion turbines, the emergency diesel generators, the electric driven firepumps, and the main feed pumps, together with the installation of the reboiler system, the latter to separate the main propulsion steam system from the ship’s service steam system, be utilized to supply “hotel and selected reduced pressure steam services” normally supplied by the main steam system.

Air Conditioning and Refrigeration were overhauled, with a new 300-ton air conditioning plant installed, together with additional sea water and chilled water pumps. The former was necessary not only for crew habitability, but also for the electrical equipment, to maintain radar and similar high voltage systems at temperatures preventing damage from overheating. In addition to engineering and crew needs, the pumps were also required for potential damage control. The ships’ four degaussing motor generator sets were removed and overhauled. Degaussing “demagnetized” Enterprise, protecting her from magnetic mines and similar threats.

The “beehive” ECM structure atop Enterprise’s island, long a unique and prominent recognition feature of the ship, was replaced by a heavy pole mast, mounting improved radar, TACAN and communications equipment. The AN/SPS-12, 32 and 33 air search radars were replaced by the AN-SPS-48, 49 and 65, improving “reliability in the functional areas of three dimensional radar and long and short range air target acquisition.” The AN/SPS-48 also provided an automatic weapons system interface between NTDS and NATO Sea Sparrow. The AN/SPS-10 surface search radar was modified to work with the AN/SPS-65 to provide a low level air target acquisition capability in conjunction with CIWS. The AN/WLR-1 EW system was removed, and the AN/WLR-8 (V) 4 also was overhauled.

The Carrier Air Traffic Control Center/Direct Altitude and Identification Readout system was installed, enhancing air traffic control capabilities through the departure, marshal,  and approach phases. The Fleet Satellite Secure Voice Communication System replaced the STEAM VALVE system. The Carrier Intelligence Center (CVIC) received a number of equipment exchanges and additions, enhancing its capabilities by increasing data capacity, reducing data processing time and improving data retrieval time. Among these innovations were computer and graphic devices for improved mensuration and interpretation of reconnaissance imagery. The RA-5C support system from the Airborne System Support Center (ASSC) was removed, and Tactical Air Reconnaissance System (TARPS) POD maintenance support equipment installed

Also during the overhaul substantial work was accomplished on the optical landing system, arresting gear and MK C 13 catapults, including installation of new rotary launch valves and capacity selector valves on the latter. All UnRep stations were refurbished and repaired, and the motor whaleboat was replaced. In October 1980, JP-5 fuel was taken on board for the first time in almost two years, a sure indicator that the ship’s overhaul was nearing completion.

In October 1979, Paramount Pictures, Inc., filmed parts of the movie “The Winds of War,” on board battleship Missouri (BB-63) moored at Puget Sound. More than 400 men from Enterprise took part in the production as “extras.”

Enterprise received many VIPs during her long sojourn at Bremerton, culminating in visits by Vice Admiral De Poix on 6 September 1980, Secretary of the Navy Edward Hidalgo on 25 September 1980, Admiral Thomas B. Hayward, CNO, on 24 October 1980, Vice Admiral R.F. Schoultz, AirPac, on 3 September and 6 November 1980, 26–27 January, 22–23 April, 15 July and 1 December 1981, and Admiral J.D. Watkins, CinCPac, on 3 September 1981.

12 September 2005

Published: Wed Jul 08 07:52:55 EDT 2015