U.S.S. Enterprise retires from being the U.S. Navy’s ‘Top Gun’

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The U.S.S. Enterprise is the oldest, the longest, and the first nuclear powered air craft carrier in U.S. history.  Though it was built for a 25 year career it has now been serving the Navy for 50 years thanks to some renovations and a major overhaul.

In its distinguished history the ship has served in conflicts all over the world’s oceans.  The “Big E” as she is called, served in Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, had a substantial role in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and was one of the first ships to respond after the attacks on 9/11.  Commissioned in 1961, the ship is one of the oldest Navy commissioned vessels afloat.  Second only to the U.S.S Constitution which was authorized for construction in 1794 and serves as a testament to the mission of promoting “understanding of the Navy’s role in war and peace through educational outreach, historic demonstration, and active participation in public events.”

However, the U.S.S. Enterprise will not share the limelight of the U.S.S. Constitution and live to set sail on its 200th anniversary.   In December 2012 it is scheduled to be deactivated.  The reactors and nuclear fuel that served the ground-breaking purpose of using nuclear power will be removed and the ship will be scrapped to make way for new, more modern ships.

“Big E” will take until about 2015 to be fully dismantled partly because of the colossal size.  She is 1,123ft long, which makes her the longest naval vessel in the world and she weighs 93,284 tons.  Because of her size and weight The Enterprise has eight nuclear reactors where other ships of similar nature have two, and four rudders where others normally have two.

Apart from the role that The Enterprise has served for the U.S. Navy, the ship has also received some fame for its role in the movie Top Gun. While filming the makers of the film donated some black fuzzy dice to the interior for a little added pizzazz.  About 25 years later the dice still remain to liven up the interior of the vessel as it sets sail for its last voyage and to keep her from “losing that loving feelin’.”


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