Skip to comments.Navy bids farewell to storied warship USS Enterprise
Posted on 11/04/2012 6:33:18 AM PST by Berlin_Freeper
WASHINGTON After half a century on the high seas, the oldest warship in the American fleet, the USS Enterprise, will return to port Sunday for the last time.
From the Cuban Missile Crisis to the war in Afghanistan, the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier has played a part in every conflict involving the United States since she was commissioned in 1961.
But when the massive vessel glides into the US naval base in Norfolk, Virginia on Sunday morning, with sailors in white uniforms standing on deck, it will mark the end of her 25th and final deployment after an eight month tour in the Mediterranean and the Gulf, the Navy said.
"Homecoming will no doubt be a bittersweet day," said Captain William Hamilton, the ship's commanding officer.
"We are pleased to be returning to our families after a very successful deployment, but to know that it is the last time Enterprise will be underway through her own power makes our return very sentimental."
The ship will be formally retired at a ceremony on December 1 but the vessel known as the "Big E" already relinquished its ammunition and ordnance last week at sea, with helicopters ferrying more than 1,500 tonnes of missiles and bombs to cargo ships nearby.
With a length of 342 meters (1,123 feet), the Enterprise is the longest naval ship in the world, and has a displacement of nearly 95,000 tonnes. The floating base can accommodate 4,500 sailors and aviators, as well as 72 planes and helicopters.
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Error, error, error - oldest US Navy ship is STILL the USS Constitution.
Have seen her in Norfolk. She’s amazing! Nothing like seeing the carriers lined up in port. Son is leaving the Navy so will probably never again have the opportunity to get on base and see these awesome floating cities up close.
Job well done, Big E.
The question is not a game of Battleship, where were counting ships, its what are our capabilities, Obama concluded. Barack Obama
Now I have another basketball court to play on. Barack Obama.
Obama opens college hoops game on aircraft carrier
Wish they had powered up the port (leftside) catapult and shot him off the deck.
Meanwhile, got to proudly welcome home the rescue helo squadron at NAS JAX which returned on the Enterprise this past Wednesday. Yes, the Big E is being retired.
The next Enterprise will be Captained by Jonathan Archer
But I did get to see the the brand new USS Nimitz before my hitch ended (and also got to see my first F-14) and she was a beauty-only I felt sorry for the poor squids aboard her what with all the spit and polish boot camp chikenpoop they had to endure as the fleets’ show boat.
There needs to be another Enterprise. And we need to get back to naming carriers after revolutionary war battles, and quit with this presidential naming BS. There has almost always been an Enterprise, that name should not die
The government does not want people thinking of the revolution, the constitution, independence, etc.
Big E Ping
The U.S. Navy traditionally named CARRIERS after famous battles (Midway, Saratoga etc) and famous ships (Wasp, Hornet, ENTERPRISE etc).
I am saddened to see My Navy will be without a U.S.S Enterprise.
I await the construction of the Starship Enterprise (SS 1704)
Ship’s motto, “Ready on Arrival!”
My late wife’s cousin was married to a Chief Warrant Officer who was assigned to the Big E in the 90’s. He took us on a VIP tour of the ship. I have pictures of her sitting in the Captain’s chair. Magnificent ship, job well done.
Bravo Zulu CVN 65!
He is relatively recently retired from the Navy, and worked in the Bremerton, WA, navy yards (which decommissions nuke ships....why....close proximity to Hanford, where the old reactor carcases are "permanently" buried after removal of fissionables).
He told me that ships of the Enterprise class had EIGHT separate nuclear reactors aboard. Modern nuclear flat-tops only have two. I can't help but wonder if someday the loss of the extra redundancy may cause problems in combat.
Wasn’t there a space shuttle named Enterprise before the warp drive vessels came along?
We have found the nuclear vessel...And Captain, it is the ENTERPRISE!
If we’re going to go Treky - you gotta get it right. NCC 1701.
I built the plastic model when I was a kid. Came in the biggest box! Took forever to paint everything. Just the model was impressive!
hopefully there will not be one named ‘USS The One’..
This old Army guy says “well done” to the USS Enterprise and all who sailed on her!
They really need to re-name the next flattop in line to
Enterprise. Were he still with us, Jerry Ford would agree
I think. And its not like it hasn’t been done before.
USS Lexington CV-16 for example.
You *know* there will be.But it will have a different name..."USS Nairobi"
The Big E was truly big.
I lived in Manila and for a while till I moved to Subic, flew in and out of Cubi Point NAS every day. The plane would fly down wind over the carrier pier. One day I was flabbergasted at the size of the ship tied to the pier. It was enormous, fantastically larger then those usually berthed there.... it was the Big E
The shore party of the Big E and entourage was 10,000. So many sailors at once overwhelmed the hospitality capacity of Olongapo. Liberty parties had to be carefully limited to assure peace and order in the Olongopo strip.
That was 45 years ago. After that many years, we all need a little rest
Yep. The modern presidency has morphed into a cult-of-personality type thing where presidents (present and former) are revered like emperors. Not healthy.
NCC-1701 and no bloody A, B, C or D!
I bought that giant scale Tamiya kit several years ago, its still has not been started, one of these winters I will get right on it, I have picked up the photo etch extras and several boxes of scale aircraft to go with it.
It will be a very sad moment, as it is for any ship, when the CO orders the final “Done with engines” command. As a preceding post puts it, “Bravo Zulu” (a naval signal, conveyed by flaghoist or voice radio, meaning “Well Done”) to all of the crews who manned the BigE!
FYI: In a followup to my #2 post about the USS Constitution being the oldest USN ship still “In Commission”, I have to wonder; was there an equivalent command for those sailing ships when the docked?
Proudly served on the “Big E” in the late 60’s on Yankee Station, South China Sea... COMCARDIV 3.
re: “The modern presidency has morphed into a cult-of-personality type thing where presidents (present and former) are revered like emperors. Not healthy.”
If the Navy does, God forbid, name a new ship the “USS Obama”, what kind of ship do you think it should be?
The Apotheosis of Washington notwithstanding
My nephew’s favorite port when he served on CVN65 was Subic Bay.
There is really no naval vessel useless enough to warrant being cursed with a jonah name like USS Obama.
I preferred Subic City to “Po” ... USS Midway 72-73
Do you think that’s the same kit that I built in ‘56(or so)? The one I built came with lots of planes, etc.. They’re what took so long to paint.
re: “There is really no naval vessel useless enough to warrant being cursed with a jonah name like USS Obama.”
I hear you. Even a garbage scowl is doing something useful. What about one of those ships the Navy uses for target practice?
I bet it would improve the aim of our Naval personnel if all target ships were named the proud, USS Obama.
We really should those old carriers off to China - we need the money. :)
“He told me that ships of the Enterprise class had EIGHT separate nuclear reactors aboard. Modern nuclear flat-tops only have two. I can’t help but wonder if someday the loss of the extra redundancy may cause problems in combat.”
I was assigned to the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE as a nuclear trained machinest mate. It is true, there are 8 nuclear reactors aboard. There are divided into 4 seperate reactor compartments. The ENTERPRISE was the fastest ship in the fleet at one. It was once used to prove Rickover’s case to Congress about the need for a faster class of submarines.
However, the NIMITZ Class, and eventually the FORD class have just two. If you think about though, the NIMITZ has been around since 1975. Its two reactor redundancy has been proven for 37 years. Also, all of our submarines have just one nuclear reactor. The only back up that they have is returning to snorkel depth and running the diesel.
Wish I could edit! Musta been older when I built it. Maybe in ‘62? It probably came out around the time the Enterprise was commissioned. I didn’t think I was still building kits at 16 years of age. Oh well,,,, It was a long time ago!
Like when the Klingon apologized for calling the Enterprise a garbage scow, back tracking with, “I did not mean to say it should be towing garbage but that is should be towed away AS garbage!”
With the USS Obama the Klingon would be right.
No its a kit that I believe was released around 1991, I remember seeing it in a Walgreens store then brand new and well over $100. Mine I picked up on Ebay about 6 years ago, its a hug kit, finished model I think is around a yard long.
My collection of large warships includes a Revell Gato class US pacific fleet sub of the late 1940’s era that is 5 foot long, actually was the easiest I have ever done. But you can see why because there isn’t much on the outside of a sub, I would dearly love to have a sectional cutaway of a model sub.
When I build the Big E I will use lots of fiber optics, it will be a nightime launch scenario of a resin waterline, even to the point of having an F-4 or a Tomcat on final approach with the meatballs lit up. Or also with a JBD up and one about to be launched, some effect of a full throttle up showing.
How true. The Constitution given the same short shrift as her namesake, "The Constitution."
“Squids” - that’s one of the names us Marines used to call sailors.
Oh, are they still deploying the USS Constitution?