Navy coins are part of a proud military tradition. Whether to reward outstanding performance, commemorate a deployment or a selfless act, they’re a long-standing part of Navy life.
We were privileged to provide custom challenge coins for the final deployment of the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) in 2012. This remarkable ship served a 51-year commission, longer than any other U.S. aircraft carrier.
The Enterprise, the eighth U.S. Navy ship to bear the name, was literally in a class by itself. It was the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, and at 1,123 feet, the longest naval vessel ever built. It had the most nuclear reactors (8) of any aircraft carrier, and cost $451 million when built.
The “Big E” was meant to be the first of a class of six carriers. But that hefty cost – equivalent to $3.85 billion today – put a halt to the others before their construction could begin.
The Enterprise launched in 1960, making its maiden voyage in early 1962. By October of that year, it was part of the Navy blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The great ship later saw duty in the waters off Vietnam, and during the Iraq War as well. Over the course of its 51 years in service, the Enterprise traveled around the world multiple times. The final deployment alone covered 80,968 miles during 238 days at sea. Over the years, more than 100,000 sailors served aboard.
When the time came for the Big E’s final deployment, officials sought Navy coins to commemorate the last voyage and the ship’s sterling history. They turned to Challenge Coins 4 Less, and we were honored to respond.
We are proud of the work we have done over the years for every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. We are grateful to have earned the trust of the men and women of the Enterprise to produce a series of coins to commemorate the great ship’s last voyage.
We created custom coins in both bronze and silver to honor the ship. On the front was a 3-D replica of the ship, the words “USS Enterprise CVN 65 Final Deployment.” In smaller scale on the coin were the ship’s official insignia – featuring an imprint of the ship, a big “E,” two sides of the globe and an atom symbol. Three other insignia featured the ship’s Carrier Air Wing 1, Carrier Strike Group 12 and Destroyer Squadron 2.
The reverse featured 3D images of all eight ships to bear the Enterprise name, encircled by “Since 1775, eight military ships have carried the name Enterprise. Keep the name alive.”
The Enterprise returned to its home port of Norfolk (VA) Naval Station in November 2012, and was deactivated in December of that year. On February 3, 2017, the Big E was officially decommissioned and stricken from the Naval Vessel Registry.
The name will live on in a ninth ship. The Navy has announced that an upcoming aircraft carrier will be named Enterprise (CVN-80). Construction is planned to begin next year, and the new Enterprise is expected to be commissioned in 2025.
We at Challenge Coins 4 Less are honored to have been able to provide Navy coins to the men and women of the USS Enterprise, and salute her service to our nation.