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[ 61 ] December 1, 2012 |

United States Navy: Wikipedia

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.

 

Comments (61)

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  1. Mudge says:

    Once upon a time I was involved in the scrapping of navy ships. The Enterprise will be scrapped at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, WA, where all nuclear ships are scrapped. A worker there told me years ago that they wanted to scrap a conventional carrier to practice for the Enterprise. They had never done a carrier. I am not sure they ever got the chance with a conventional carrier. The Enterprise was built, I think, using seven submarine reactors in an ad hoc manner rather than being designed around a central reactor like subsequent nuclear carriers. Scrapping it will be a real challenge.

    • dave brockington says:

      I grew up in Bremerton, and remember when Enterprise was at PSNS undergoing a several-year overhaul / refit in 1979-81 or so. While I was happy to leave Bremerton as soon as the first opportunity presented itself, I bemusedly find myself back in Kitsap at least twice per year . . .

  2. Marek says:

    USS Capital, that’s rich.

  3. Brandon says:

    What does decommissioning the reactors do to the hull? Is it just the process of cutting the ship apart to get access?

    • Some Guy says:

      I would assume, given the location, number, and structure surrounding the reactors, that getting enough access to them to safely and certainly shut down the reactors would tear up the hull, and would be cost prohibitive to repair to presentable museum status. Kind of like trying to open an electronics blister pack.
      In theory, they could park the ship in dry dock, and leave the reactor running as they break down the ship from the top, until the work their way down enough to commence a shut down.
      That’s a guess on my end.

      • BigHank53 says:

        The reactors are cooled with seawater, so a drydock might be problematic. The issue is this: the reactor vessels have to be taken out whole. So do the steam turbines and condensers, even though they are orders of magnitude less radioactive. Imagine removing the kitchen from your house/partmebt. It could be done, but after you rip out every surrounding wall, floor, and ceiling and cut through all the structural members, there really wouldn’t be much left.

  4. Informant says:

    Wait, you play A3R? What other AHGC games do you play?

  5. Erik Loomis says:

    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.

    In other words, Farley’s life ended the moment he had kids.

    • Richard Hershberger says:

      I am rather older than 35, and I would have jumped at the chance. And yes, I have two young kids: that what spouses are for. (And yes, I watch the kids when she is off doing something she wants.)

      My father, on the other hand, was in the Navy for 27 years. When the USS New Jersey was turned into a museum I visited it. I asked him if he wanted to come along. He was utterly mystified at the idea of stepping on board a ship if they weren’t paying him.

    • Jon H says:

      Farley was holding out for a flight suit and a banner.

      *runs away*

    • The Dark Avenger says:

      No, it’s a great decision, he’ll be remembered after all those who those who were on the Enterprise’s last journey would be forgotten.

    • cpinva says:

      and your point would be?

      In other words, Farley’s life ended the moment he had kids.

  6. Ken says:

    Any bets on how long until the first Fox News “Obama destroying America’s navy” report?

  7. Woodrowfan says:

    Only 10? How ever will we protect ourselves against the Iranian Juggernaut??!?!!

    • cpinva says:

      especially that new, cute blue submarine they just launched. if that isn’t the most adorable thing!

      How ever will we protect ourselves against the Iranian Juggernaut??!?!!

      i do hope they accessorized it nicely.

  8. greylocks says:

    Maybe you had to be there.

    I started playing Avalon Hill games in the 60s. IIRC the early games had few if any named units. At best, the instruction booklets told you how to lay out the board the way the actual units were position at the start of the battle (“Gen. X had 2 corps positioned west of Y Crossing” etc.). This was something of a sore point with me because I was far more interested in using these games to re-create actual battles than to play wargame chess.

    But there were plenty of players in our group who didn’t care about the historical aspects and were just playing to win. So yeah, I was there.

  9. stevesliva says:

    So it’s true that Obama is shrinking the Navy. Socialist appeaser!

  10. efgoldman says:

    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.

    Hell, I’m 67 and I’d go in a heartbeat.

    • expatchad says:

      oo. I’m 69 and father served aboard the Enterprise for several tours.

      And I assisted at the autopsy of one of the guys that was involved in the famous scandal.

      I suppose it’s personal….

  11. Todd says:

    America down to 10 active carriers! Only 5 times more than next closest naval competitors (Spain and Italy!)!

    We’re swimming naked for the next few years here, people.

  12. M. Bouffant says:

    Brief recap & some pix of her “career” from Wired.

    Am now going to watch “A Supercarrier is Burning” which has been in the DVR since 19 August, about the on board explosions & fire of 14 January 1969.

    Note brief summary of events here.

  13. Johnny Sack says:

    One less carrier. WHY IS NOBAMA LEAVING US VULNERABLE! ONLY 10 CARRIERS OMG

  14. Jon H says:

    ” 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.”

    Navypause?

  15. Tracy Lightcap says:

    My father served on the original Enterprise in WWII. He led his flight of SBDs in the attack that destroyed HIJMS Kaga at Midway and was shot down and presumed lost. He was picked up 6 days later by a PBY piloted by – it’s true – a former high school football teammate from Perkinton, MS. He pulled up the window on his pilot position and said, “Tom, what in Hell are you doing out here?” They gave my dad the Navy Cross for that.

    He later came back to the ship after a strike and began to go down to his stateroom. A friend of his stopped him, “Uh, Tom, the Japs hit us earlier and the only hit they made blew up your room!” My dad spent better then a month in the same underwear! According to my mom, he was not pleased.

    I hope that the name gets back on the Navy list. A U.S. Navy without an Enterprise simply won’t do!

  16. Adrian Luca says:

    A nuclear wessel.

  17. cpinva says:

    i remember when the nuclear enterprise was originally commissioned. they made it seem like this thing could actually lift off, if necessary. after all, it was Nuclear Powered!. i have no doubt there will be another Enterprise, bigger and badder than all the ones before her.

  18. fronobulax says:

    It’s official – It was announeced yesterday that CVN-80 will be named USS Enterprise. Here’s the video announcement from SecNav Mabus: http://www.navy.mil/viewVideo.asp?id=17852

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