The Ship - All Hands - Decorations - Remembrance
The following release was issued by the Navy Department in October 1956, announcing that Enterprise had been stricken and would be disposed of.
On 2 October 1956 the decision to dispose of Enterprise was reached. Her age, obsolescence and poor material condition were the factors on which the Board of Inspection and Survey based its finding that Enterprise was no longer able to continue in the Naval service. It was on these findings that our decision was made and it was with reluctance and regret that her disposal was ordered. Certainly no Navy man will ever forget the valor of "The Big E" during World War II.
This is why, late in 1945, former Secretary of the Navy James Forrestal wrote to the President recommending the preservation of the Enterprise "as a visible symbol of American valor...". I am sure this still expresses the wish of the Navy. Every effort was made to donate the Enterprise for preservation, first to the State of New York and then to any city willing to undertake the project. New Orleans, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle were offered the ship but all declined and advised the Navy that the high annual maintenance cost, then estimated at $125,000.00, precluded such a transaction. Therefore, in November 1948, Secretary of the Navy John L. Sullivan recommended to the President that the plan to dispose of the Enterprise as a national relic be discontinued and that she be assigned to the Reserve Fleet, thus culminating almost three years of attempts by the Navy to find suitable sponsorship for the Enterprise.
With limited funds available and a vital part to play in our national defense, the Navy was not in a position to spend money for the preservation and continued maintenance of the Enterprise as a national relic since such funds would have to be diverted from those used for the maintenance of our active fleet. The use of active fleet maintenance funds for the preservation of any ship as a relic cannot be justified on any basis in these days of military preparedness. Therefore, any restoration of the Enterprise as a memorial would have to have been accomplished by a group outside the Navy capable of handling a project of such magnitude. Unfortunately, the Navy found no group able to accomplish the task.
After all, it is the men and the courage that they display that make any ship great. This courage will continue to be displayed as long as there is a Navy. We owe a debt of gratitude not only to the the men who helped to make the gallant reputation of the Enterprise but to all of the men who sailed the thousands of ships during World War II. We can best repay this debt not be memorializing just one ship but by using all of our strength and energy in continuing to maintain our Navy as the greatest flexible fighting force the world has ever known.
The name Enterprise will be considered for a new carrier. This will provide a living memorial and a symbol of America's past and present naval greatness. We are confident that the young men who go to sea in all the ships of our Navy will continue to carry the same courageous spirit that was exemplified by the men of the Enterprise.