Big E

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.

 

61 comments on this post.
  1. Mudge:

    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.

  2. Marek:

    USS Capital, that’s rich.

  3. Brandon:

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

  4. Informant:

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

  5. Erik Loomis:

    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.

  6. Ken:

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

  7. Woodrowfan:

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

  8. Woodrowfan:

    I’d be surprised if it’s not there by 9 am Monday am.

  9. greylocks:

    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.

  10. greylocks:

    Bayonets!

  11. stevesliva:

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

  12. efgoldman:

    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.

  13. Todd:

    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.

  14. Richard Hershberger:

    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.

  15. Richard Hershberger:

    Yeah, but if Spain and Italy gang up on us, then we will have only 2.5 times as many. How can we stand up to the awesome naval might of Spain and Italy?!?

  16. joe from Lowell:

    What, you’ve never heard of a capital ship?

  17. Karate Bearfighter:

    Maybe the Chinese can lend us the Liaoning.

  18. M. Bouffant:

    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.

  19. Decrease Mather:

    SPI made the simulations, AH made the games.

  20. Johnny Sack:

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

  21. Jon H:

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

    *runs away*

  22. jon:

    I knew those swarthy southern Europeans were luring us into a false sense of security. And now we’ve fallen into their dastardly trap!

  23. Jon H:

    ” 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?

  24. Some Guy:

    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.

  25. Timurid:

    RAMMING SPEED!!!

  26. Tracy Lightcap:

    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!

  27. The Dark Avenger:

    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.

  28. The Dark Avenger:

    BRACE FOR IMPACT!

  29. Anderson:

    PerkinSton in Stone County? So that’s where your dad was from? Cool.

  30. Pinko Punko:

    That is amazing

  31. prufrock:

    One of my JROTC instructors in high school was on the Enterprise when it caught on fire. He had a piece of the flight deck as a paperweight.

  32. Adrian Luca:

    A nuclear wessel.

  33. BigHank53:

    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.

  34. expatchad:

    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….

  35. ajay:

    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?”

    I sincerely hope that his reply was whatever the 1942 equivalent was to “Oh, you know, chillaxin’.”

  36. Marek:

    Inquiring minds want to know! LGM gaming possible?

  37. cpinva:

    and your point would be?

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

  38. cpinva:

    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.

  39. cpinva:

    “just catching some rays”

  40. cpinva:

    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.

  41. ajay:

    So I was like, I’ve lost my leg, innit?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLFGvuhJlUI

  42. JR:

    Probably not as fast, though

  43. Doug:

    TSR made the money.

  44. fronobulax:

    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

  45. Tyto:

    And then, of all people, Curt Schilling kept some of the games alive after AH folded (or maybe it was just ASL?).

  46. Swordsmith:

    The “original” Enterprise in the US Navy dates back to 1775, and the name’s been a memorable one since the newly commissioned version of the ship that took part in the Barbary pirates campaign in 1800. The name’s a keeper – glad they’re using it on the new carrier. Are they running out of Republican defense secretaries to name them after?

  47. NBarnes:

    From Hell’s heart I stab at thee. For Hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.

  48. NBarnes:

    If we decommission the Big E and built two Merrimac-class ironclads to replace her, are we increasing the strength of our navy? Somebody ask Mitt Romney!

  49. NBarnes:

    “Let’s make sure history never forgets the name… Enterprise.”

  50. Barry Freed:

    “I went long”

  51. William Cooper:

    Just ASL through his support of Multiman Publishing (which does a lot more than just ASL).

  52. greylocks:

    Why not go green? Build two Constitution-class frigates.

  53. The Dark Avenger:

    QI’yaH, p’tahk!

  54. Hanspeter:

    FYI, Google thinks that’s Filipino.

  55. The Dark Avenger:

    There are some sound similarities between Filipino and the language in question, the latter using a lot more nasal and throat sounds.

  56. Hogan:

    KHAAAAAAAAAN!!!!

  57. Unsympathetic:

    Spain and Italy?

    The Austerity Games, coming to a hexagonal seazone near you!

  58. Anonymous:

    It’s been a long road, gettin’ from there to here…

  59. Tracy Lightcap:

    Yes. I ran afoul again of not being able to edit posts here.

  60. Patrick:

    What happened the last time they teamed up on a naval mission? Total conquest of the Americas, that’s what. Buy more carriers or it’s 1492 all over again!

    Fun Fact: One of Italy’s carriers is named after Chief Security Officer Garibaldi of the TV show Babylon 5, a sleeper hit in Rome.

  61. dave brockington:

    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 . . .

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