World's 1st nuke aircraft carrier taking last voyage
The USS Enterprise, the world's 1st nuclear aircraft carrier is starting its last voyage Sunday after 50 yrs of service.
"the Big E" as the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier sets sail on its final voyage Sunday. The Enterprise is heading to the Middle East on its seven-month deployment, where it will be on standby in case of conflict with Iran or piracy threats off Somalia, among other things. The deployment will be the ship's 22nd. Following its return to Virginia in the fall, tens of thousands are expected to be on hand for a deactivation ceremony Dec. 1. Enterprise will be towed to the shipyard where it was built in nearby Newport News so its nuclear fuel can be removed, a process that will take until 2015. What remains of the ship after that will then be taken to Washington state so it can be scrapped.
The Enterprise is the longest aircraft carrier in the U.S. fleet. It is also the oldest, a distinction that brings pride as well as plenty of headaches for the ship's more than 4,000 crew members. The ship is effectively a small city that frequently needs repairs because of its age. It was originally designed to last 25 years, but a major overhaul in 1979 and other improvements have extended its life.
When the makers of "Top Gun" were filming on board the USS Enterprise, they donated a set of black fuzzy dice to liven up the ship's otherwise drab interior. Crew members who weren't even alive when "Top Gun" was in theaters in 1986 use the film to explain what it is they do on the ship, as well as exactly where it is they do it. The trinket is a reminder of the ship's storied 50-year history that includes action in several wars, a prominent role in the Cuban missile crisis and serving as a spotter ship for John Glenn's historic orbit of the earth.
This is the eighth ship to bear the name Enterprise, and there's a room on board dedicated as a museum to past incarnations. The preceding USS Enterprise was the most decorated ship in World War II, while the first Enterprise joined the U.S. fleet after it was captured from the British in 1775.
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I'm from the government and I'm here to help.