July 8th, 2010
I am currently in Florida visiting my parents, and just like when I was a young boy, I pulled the Operation Sea Orbit cruise book off the book shelf. My Dad’s USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) cruise book of 1964 details the ship’s participation in Operation Sea Orbit, and the Mediterranean cruise that preceded it. Operation Sea Orbit was an around the world cruise completed by Nuclear Task Force ONE which consisted of the USS Enterprise, USS Long Beach (CGN-9), and the USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25).
Besides all the various photographs of the ship and aircraft from the time and all the pictures from the numerous port visits the ship enjoyed during this historic venture, I found the following information interesting. The deployment was essentially two cruises in one; the normally scheduled 6 month Mediterranean cruise and the two month around the world cruise.
Only once previously had a similar role been assigned to ships of the United States Navy when, some fifty five years ago, sixteen first line battleships were sent around the world to test their capabilities and to attract international attention to the range and modern design of American seapower. This Great White Fleet, as is was called, sailed 46,000 miles in fourteen months. On its cruise, Task Force ONE steamed 31,000 miles in sixty-five days, conducting underway air shows around Africa, through Southern Asian and Pacific waters and up the east coast of South America.
The cruise, named Operation Sea Orbit, was a conclusive demonstration of the special global mobility and self-sufficiency of nuclear powered surface ships… a display of the advanced design of contemporary American seapower around the world serving as striking evidence of the enormous power for peace possessed by the United States. It was a great diplomatic gesture as well, for the Task Force acted as a roving ambassador whose actions and abilities spoke for all the people of its country, and whose hand of welcome was extended around the world….
Enterprise’s extensive list of anchorages during the 1964 Mediterranean cruise portion of the deployment.
8 Feb – Departed pier 12, Norfolk Naval Station.
22 Feb – Gulfas De Palmas
27 Feb – Souda Bay, Crete
5 Mar – Istanbul, Turkey
28 Mar – Cannes, France
13 Apr – Naples, Italy
27 Apr – Genova, Italy
9 May – Cannes, France
16 May – Les Salin, France
23 May – Cannes, France
28 May – Genova, Italy
13 Jun – Naples, Italy
15 Jun – Palermo, Sicily
19 Jun – Taranto, Italy
3 Jul – Barcelona, Spain
10 Jul – Palma, Mallorca
23 Jul – Naples, Italy
29 Jul – Turnover — Outchop for replenishment and world cruise.
“Only people who know freedom and independence could present such a show of power for peace.” – Liberia’s Under Secretary of State, T. Earnest Eastman (August 4, 1964).
And the 237 day deployment continues; each of the countries listed below sent delegations to Enterprise on the dates listed.
Course followed on the first circumnavigation by atomic powered surface ships, July 31 – October 3, 1964.
31 Jul – Rabat, Morocco
3 Aug – Dakar, Senegal
4 Aug – Freetown, Sierra Leone
4 Aug – Monrovia, Liberia
5 Aug – Abidjan, Ivory Coast
15 Aug – Nairobi, Kenya
20 Aug – Karachi, West Pakistan (port call)
31 Aug – Freemantle, Australia (Bainbridge port call)
3 Sep – Melbourne, Australia (Long Beach port call)
4 Sep – Sydney, Australia (Enterprise port call)
8 Sep – Wellington, New Zealand (Bainbridge and Long Beach port call)
21 Sep – Buenos Aires, Argentina
21 Sep – Montevideo, Uruguay
23 Sep – Sao Paulo, Brazil
23 Sep – Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (port call)
27 Sep – Recife, Brazil
3 Oct – Norfolk, Virginia
As a kid, I would pull my father’s cruise books off the shelf and study the pages. I would ask him to regale me with stories from his various deployments, but it was this deployment that he would have the most to talk about – those stories have always stuck with me; after all, it was those experiences that he shared with me that sold me on joining the Navy.
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