Thursday, November 08, 2012

Let history never forget the name, Enterprise!

Since the Cuban Missile Crisis there has always been one great lady at the forefront of or in support of the many conflicts of the United States - and her name is Enterprise. The eighth United States naval vessel to bear the name and nicknamed the "Big E" like her predecessor of World War II fame. At 1,123 ft. she is the longest naval vessel in the world. Her 93,284 long tons displacement ranks her as the 11th-heaviest supercarrier, after the 10 carriers of the Nimitz class. Enterprise has a crew of some 5,828 people including the air wing.


USS Enterprise (CVN-65) was originally scheduled for decommissioning in 2014 or 2015, depending on the life of her reactors and completion of her replacement, USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78). Alas the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 slated the ship's retirement for 2013, when she will have served for 51 consecutive years, longer than any other U.S. aircraft carrier.

On Sunday the only ship of her class returned home at Norfolk from her 25th deployment and for the last time under her own power, to a parade of thousands of family members and spectators. Enterprise commander Capt. William Hamilton, said that knowing "that it is the last time Enterprise will be underway through her own power makes our return very sentimental.”

Rear Adm. Ted Carter, commander of the Enterprise Carrier Strike Group said “This has not been a victory lap for Enterprise. This has been a full combat operation. It’s been a business as usual kind of deployment.” The world's first nuclear powered aircraft carrier's final voyage was a cruise of more than 80,000 miles in a 238-day deployment to the Persian Gulf where her aircraft flew more than 2,000 sorties in support of OEF in Afghanistan.

The USS Enterprise carrier has had a well known association with Star Trek. It's WWII era namesake appeared as a photograph on the original Starship Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, while a gold model of the carrier was set in the wall of the NCC-1701-D's observation lounge. While the USS Ranger had to stand in for her during the filming of StarTrek IV: The Voyage Home, the Enterprise had many Star Trek fans on her crew who even appeared on Star Trek: Enterprise and the vessel even hosted conventions on board.

"We have found the nuclear wessel. And Admiral... it is the *Enterprise*"

The decommissioning of the Enterprise on December 1st will leave the Navy with 10 carriers until the scheduled commissioning of the Gerald R. Ford in 2015. A four year decommission process will begin over the next six months when her equipment to be off-loaded and then will be towed Newport News, Va., to defuel its nuclear reactors before heading to Washington state to be dismantled and have her metal sold for scrap. It is a tragedy that she can not be honoured in a better way.

Source: / Memory Alpha


Anonymous said...

Enterprise has to be scrapped, unfortunately, because you have to tear the ship up to defuel and remove the reactors. After that, it would cost a huge and unaffordable sum to restore her to preservation status.

It would have been nice if the next carrier could have carried on the name Enterprise (CVN-65 was building when CV-6 was being scrapped), but it's more likely that once again Congress or a political appointee will once again intervene and name the ship after a politician. Since Enterprise was ordered, only two carriers, America and Nimitz, have not been named for politicians, usually Congressmen.

Major General Creedon said...

The original plan was for the Enterprise to be decomissioned as the Gerald Ford [CVN-78] entered service. The new John F. Kennedy [CVN-79] which will replace the Nimitz would be well under construction at that stage.

Thankfully SecNav Mabus said last Saturday duting the decomissioning ceremony that the CVN-80 would be named Enterprise and could enter service as early as 2025 replacing the Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the update. I hadn't checked the word from the decommissioning ceremony.

I wonder, though, whether CVN-80 will get built. The ordering interval carriers already was lengthened a few years back. This dramatically increased costs as it was no longer possible to take advantage of series production. and now Washington is talking about adding two more years to the cycle. This will raise the cost once again, will be blamed as an "overrun", and may give anti-carrier forces another opportunity to stop CVN production.

Another fact of delaying her order by two year: While Eisenhower could stay operational for an extra two years, based on when she underwent RCOH, the delay will mean we'll no longer have 12 carriers.