03-10-2012, 11:26 PM #1
Storied carrier, 'the Big E,' makes final voyage
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) -- 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.
A quarter-century later, the dice will still be dangling inside the tower of "the Big E" as the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier sets sail on its final voyage Sunday.
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.
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 that President Barack Obama has been invited to attend.............
The ship, among the first to respond after the Sept. 11 attacks, won't be turned into a museum like some other carriers. Crews have to cut large holes in the vessel to remove the nuclear fuel, and it would be too expensive to repair, said Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Self-Kyler, the Enterprise's public affairs officer.
Instead, many of the ship's alumni want another carrier to be named Enterprise in the future, which is not uncommon, she said.
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.
More at link....
03-11-2012, 11:09 AM #2
The best man at our wedding was a proud sailor on the E.