The Enterprise leaves service:
The world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was retired from active service on Saturday, temporarily reducing the number of carriers in the U.S. fleet to 10 until 2015.
The USS Enterprise ended its notable 51-year career during a ceremony at its home port at Naval Station Norfolk, where thousands of former crew members, ship builders and their families lined a pier to bid farewell to one of the most decorated ships in the Navy.
Because of the damage that deactivating the nuclear reactors will do to the hull, there’s essentially no chance that Enterprise will be preserved. Like her storied namesake, Enterprise will become scrap rather than a museum. However, it appears that the third Ford class carrier will take the name.
Funny story; years back I was on a listserv debating the changes that would turn Advanced Third Reich into World at War. One debate involved whether to shift from abstract “fleet factors” to named battleships, a change already adopted for aircraft carriers in Empire of the Rising Sun. One irritable poster ranted something as follows: “I don’t give a damn if the chit’s called the USS Enterprise, or the USS Capital, or the USS Usury; I just want to know how many naval air factors it carries.”
Maybe you had to be there.
Finally, I should note that I was offered the opportunity to board Enterprise for her final journey. This is the kind of offer you can’t ever possibly imagine considering turning down when you’re 10, 15, 20, 15, 30, or even 35. Now, though I appreciated the offer, I didn’t give much more than a moment’s consideration before turning it down. So it goes.