Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jessie L. Caulson, son of Lynne McNeal of Baxley, along with 5,500 Sailors and Marines assigned to the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG) recently arrived in Norfolk, Va., following a seven-and-a-half-month deployment supporting operations in the Mediterranean and the Arabian Seas. The USS Enterprise’s return to Norfolk will be the 25th and final homecoming in her 51 years of distinguished service.
The aircraft carrier is scheduled to become inactive on Dec. 1, in a ceremony at Norfolk Naval Station. While deployed, Enterprise CSG served in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of responsibility (AOR), conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and missions in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During her 238 days away from Norfolk, “Big E, “ as Enterprise is affectionately known, safely steamed 80, 968 miles and Carrier Air Wing 1 (CVW-1) flew more than 8, 000 sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and exercises in the 5th and 6th Fleet AORs.
Enterprise was commissioned on Nov. 25, 1961 as the eighth ship to bear the name Enterprise. Big E was the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. During her 51 years of service, Enterprise deployed 25 times and participated in every major conflict since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Enterprise has been homeported in Alameda, Ca., and Norfolk, Va., and has conducted operations in every region of the world. The December inactivation ceremony will be the last official public event for Enterprise, and will serve as a celebration of life for the ship and the more than 100, 000 Sailors who have served aboard the ship. Caulson is a 2007 graduate of Jeff Davis High School of Hazlehurst, and joined the Navy in May 2008. For more information on USS Enterprise, her legendary history, and Inactivation Week events, visit www.enterprise.navy.mil.