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Farewell Big E

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The USS Enterprise was formally retired today in Norfolk, Virginia.

The 1,123-foot (342-metres) long Enterprise was commissioned in 1961 with eight nuclear reactors on board, and the next year was deployed to participate in a blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Since then, it has played a role in a number of naval missions, including deployments to Vietnam and to the Middle East as part of the U.S. response to the September 11, 2001, attacks. It returned from its final deployment about a month ago, said Navy spokesman Mike Maus.

Nicknamed the “Big E,” the Enterprise was the oldest active duty ship in the U.S. Naval fleet, according to the military, and was the eighth U.S. military ship to bear the name Enterprise.

The roughly 12,000 people who participated in the ceremony for the USS Enterprise include many former crew members and their friends, Maus said. The ceremony was held in Virginia at Naval Station Norfolk.

The Enterprise will stay at Naval Station Norfolk for several months and then will move to a shipyard in nearby Newport News, Virginia, where its nuclear fuel will be removed from the vessel, Maus said.

After that, the ship will be towed to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington state, where its nuclear reactors will be dismantled and the Enterprise will be scrapped, Maus said.

I can’t believe she’ll really be scrapped.

7 comments to Farewell Big E

  • They are scrapping her, because it would cost too much to tear her apart to get the reactors out and then put her back together again. But I’m sure if someone came up with enough money you can get anything done. :)

    • JS Lawalin

      They scrapped the WWII Big E and she took part in every major fleet action in the Pacific. So there’s a sad precedent there. What’s even sadder is that there is no replacement Enterprise. The next carrier will be the Gerald Ford. That’s a name to inspire and quicken one’s pulse, eh?

      • Loyal Goatherd

        I’m thinking it might beat the James Earl Carter in the pulse department.

        Historically, the most unfortunate thing the United States ever did, was to scrap their most decorated USN warship, the USS Enterprise CV-6. The Enterprise was saved for preservation just after WWII, but unfortunately she was re-activated for the Korean War in 1950; for reasons unknown, the Enterprise did not return to “preservation status” after the Korean War and the US public didn’t seem to have the interest in raising the necessary funds to save her, even though USN Admiral Halsey led the fight to preserve her. The Enterprise was scrapped in 1959. Can anyone say, snafu!

  • Dr. Schplatt

    Captain Picard said they’ll make another one. It’s canon now.

  • The SECNAV has announced that CVN 80 will be named “Enterprise”. That’s after the Ford which is being built right now.

  • 67Cougar

    Surprising to hear about CVN-80. Secretary Mabus made that announcement by video during CVN-65′s ceremony.

    This is the same Mabus who gave us the USS John Murtha, the USS Ceasar Chavez, the USS Gabriel Giffords, and has under study the USS Harvey Milk. I really had thought they were holding on -80′s naming for Bill Clinton. Unexpected for the Obama Admin to actually recognize some of our Naval history, but very welcome.

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