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After fifty years of service, the U.S. Navy’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier has finally retired. The USS Enterprise is the U.S. oldest active duty war and a historic symbol of its naval power. It had just come from its last mission, but it is now heading to the scrap heap.
After finishing its last deployment, almost all weapons and ammunition has been removed from the aircraft carrier. By the end of the week, it will make its final journey to its home port in Norfolk, Virginia where it will be put in inactive duty by December 1.
But a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier cannot be disposed of easily. It will take three years and millions of dollars to remove the ship’s radioactive fuel and eight nuclear reactors.
Mike Maus, spokesperson for Naval Air Force Atlantic shared the process of disposing the aircraft carrier. “Following the inactivation period, it will be towed over to Newport News — to Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding — where it will be defueled. They’ll remove all the fuel from it,” Maus said. The fuel will be disposed off at a later date.
The next phase will involve towing the warship around the Cape Horn to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Washington where the eight nuclear reactors will be removed. “In order to remove the reactors, it takes a lot of cutting and hacking on the ship to do that,” Maus said. “They do cut through the flight deck and they may very well be cutting through the hull of the ship itself.” When the reactors are finally removed, the USS Enterprise will be officially decommissioned. After that, the ship will be cut up and the metal will be sold.
Maus also explained why a historic ship such as the USS Enterprise cannot become a floating museum like the USS Intrepid and the USS Midway. Once the reactors are removed, the ship is basically destroyed. “… to put the ship back in any shape to where it still resembles a ship the cost would be over the moon,” said Maus.
However, the name Enterprise will continue to live on the U.S. Navy history. Seven other warship already share the name and a future carrier are already in petition to become the ninth USS Enterprise.
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News source: www.edition.cnn.com
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The USS Enterprise starts the final voyage of its 50 years of service as it set sail for its 22nd and last deployment. The USS Enterprise is the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. It had been commissioned by the US Navy in 1961 and it is the Navy’s largest and oldest combat vessel.
The USS Enterprise, also known as the “Big E” live a storied and colorful career. It took part in the October 1962 missile crisis in Cuba. Big E also played a key role in the evacuation of Saigon during the Vietnam war. For its last deployment, the USS Enterprise will head to the 5th and 6th fleet areas of operation. It will be part of the on-going rotation of US forces that support maritime security operations on international waters all over the world.
The current crew of the USS Enterprise is very proud to be part of the ship’s illustrious career. According to Capt. William C. Hamilton, Commanding Officer of Enterprise: “The crew is very mindful that we are following the legacy of the more than 200,000 Sailors who have come before us during the last 50 years. It’s the Sailors of this great warship, and the Sailors that have served aboard Big E over the past half-century that have established the legacy she enjoys.”
Its 50 years of service has also taken its toll the famed aircraft carrier. It constantly suffers from mundane malfunction like stuck valves and decaying electrical equipment.
The USS Enterprise will be officially deactivated on December 1 of this year.
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Source: www.maritime-executive.com and www.npr.org
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An F/A-18F Super Hornet from the Red Rippers of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11 became the 400,000th aircraft to land on USS Enterprise’s (CVN 65) flight deck May 24.
The Super Hornet was manned by Lt. Matthew L. Enos and Weapon System Officer Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Welsh for its historic landing. Enos said he is honored he was the pilot to put Enterprise on the short list of aircraft carriers with 400,000 landings.
“This is a day I will never forget,” said Enos. “This has been a great deployment even without this feat. Being able to do this is just the icing on the cake.”
Enterprise is only the fourth Navy aircraft carrier to have more than 400,000 carrier landings, and is the only carrier still in commission to surpass the number. Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1, Enterprise’s embarked air wing, was honored to be a part of this great achievement.
“I’m glad we were able to be here to pull this off,” said Capt. Jeffrey L. Trent, commander of CVW-1.
Below the flight deck Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Joseph R. Naval was manning the number two arresting gear engine when the 400,000th arrested landing was made.
“It’s a great feeling to be able to say you had a hand in making the history books,” said Naval. “It’s not a big surprise though, working on a ship as old as Enterprise means all of us on board are making history every day.”
USS Enterprise’s achievement falls on a historic year for naval aviation. One hundred years ago marks the birth of naval aviation, only eight years after the Wright brothers flew their historic flight.
In her 50 years of service, Enterprise has wowed many people and set many records. She is the first nuclear-powered carrier and the first nuclear carrier to transit the Suez Canal. Enterprise was the first carrier to fly F-14 Tomcats and is the longest warship in the world. This achievement of 400,000 landings is one more record added to the list.
“I think it’s only fitting that a squadron with the impressive history of the ‘Red Rippers’ is the one to make this landing,” said Capt. Dee L. Mewbourne, commanding officer of Enterprise. “We are witnessing history.”
The other three carriers with more than 400,000 traps are USS Lexington (CV 16), USS Independence (CV 62) and USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63).
Source: U.S. Navy
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U.S. Naval forces disrupted a pirate attack on M/V Falcon Trader II, a Philippine-flagged merchant vessel, after it reported it had been attacked by pirates March 24.
All 20 Filipino crew members of the Falcon Trader II are safe and in control of the vessel.
Sailors man a dual-mounted M-60 machine gun aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55) as an SH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters from Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 11 and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 48 embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and Leyte Gulf hover near the Philippine-flagged merchant vessel M/V Falcon Trader II after a distress call reported it had been boarded by pirates. Leyte Gulf and Enterprise continue to support Operation Enduring Freedon and regional maritime security operations as part of their deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility
At approximately 10:30 a.m. (local), aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), conducting operations supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, responded to a distress call from the M/V Falcon Trader II reporting that suspected pirates in a small skiff were attempting to board the vessel.
In a second report from the crew of Falcon Trader II, they stated there were pirates aboard and that all 20 crew members were safe and had locked themselves into a safe room, also known as a ‘citadel’. The citadel is a secure room with food, water, communication and control over the vessel’s steering and propulsion.
An SH-60F helicopter assigned to the “Dragonslayers” of Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron (HS) 11 from the Enterprise and an SH-60B helicopter assigned to the “Vipers” of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 48 from the Leyte Gulf were sent to investigate the situation.
Once on scene, the HS-11 helicopter fired warning shots to dissuade the pirates from continuing their attack. Following this, two pirates were witnessed jumping off the bow of the M/V Falcon Trader II and the pirates’
skiff fled the area, pursued by HS-11‘s helicopter.
As the pirate’s skiff was attempting to rendezvous with a larger vessel suspected to be acting as a ‘mother ship’, the pirates shot at the helicopter with small arms. The helicopter and its crew were not harmed and returned to continue conducting reconnaissance of the scene.
“We could definitely see the muzzle flashes from their AK-47s, but we weren’t hit,” said Lt. Joshua A. Overn, a pilot aboard the helicopter. “The anti-piracy training we had received kicked in, and everyone conducted themselves with poise and professionalism.”
With no confirmation that all the pirates had left the vessel, a Leyte Gulf crewmember fluent in the Filipino language, Tagalog, remained in contact with the Falcon Trader’s crew in the citadel and monitored the vessel
overnight. The following morning, after observing no suspicious activity, Leyte Gulf’s visit, board, search and seizure team boarded and secured the vessel. Confirming no pirates remained aboard, they notified the crew that it was safe to come out of the citadel.
“It says a great deal about the inherent flexibility and capability of the Enterprise Strike Group that we were able to conduct counter-piracy operations while simultaneously flying Operation Enduring Freedom missions and coordinating air defense of the region,” said Capt. Eugene Black, commanding officer of Leyte Gulf.
U.S. forces continue to monitor the suspected pirate mother ship. Pirates are known to keep hostages onboard mother ships to prevent counter-piracy forces from acting directly against them.
“This is a great example of the teamwork inherent in a Carrier Strike Group,” said Rear Adm. Terry Kraft, commander of Enterprise Strike Group. “We were lucky to be on scene when the attack occurred, and everyone did their jobs well.”
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The Enterprise Carrier Strike Group (CSG) completed its Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) Dec. 12, marking the final step in the carrier’s preparation for its upcoming 21st deployment.
The culmination of months of training, the exercise presented scenarios and situations the strike group crew may face while deployed.
“If there was any day to be on top of our game, it was today,” said Rear Adm. Terry B. Kraft, commander of the Enterprise CSG on the final day of the exercise.
On this last day of the scenario, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 1 and USS Enterprise (CVN 65) launched 31 aircraft in 36 minutes and, within one hour, had 41 of the air wing’s 54 aircraft airborne in support of two massive air strikes for a total of 106 sorties in one day.
“This was the biggest strike, under the worst conditions, against the most simultaneous targets that this air wing has ever accomplished, and it was all organic to Big ‘E’ (Enterprise) with no outside force support,” said Capt. Kenneth Whitesell, commander of CVW 1.
Commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet, Vice Adm. Daniel P. Holloway embarked Enterprise during the exercise. U.S. 2nd Fleet is responsible for grading the strike group’s performance.
“I couldn’t be more proud of Enterprise Carrier Strike Group men, women, Sailors and Marines, as well as the CSFTL (Commander, Strike Force Training, Atlantic) team who put them through the intense training phases,” said Holloway. “The name Enterprise resonates with millions of people around the world due to her storied history and the legacy of her namesakes.”
The scenarios also presented CVW 1 and Enterprise’s Air Department Sailors more opportunities for training on the ship’s 49-year-old flight deck.
Upon return to her homeport of Norfolk, the Enterprise CSG Sailors will take an opportunity to spend time with their families before deploying.
The Enterprise CSG consists of Enterprise, the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), the guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Barry (DDG 52) and USS Mason (DDG 87), USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8), CVW 1 and Destroyer Squadron 2.
- U.S. Navy
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USS Enterprise (CVN 65) Carrier Strike Group (ENTSG) departed its homeport of Norfolk to participate in a Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFEX) Dec. 4.
For Sailors, JTFEX marks the culmination of months of preparation and training to ensure the strike group is ready for its upcoming deployment.
JTFEX will be the pinnacle of training for ENTSG to test and evaluate its ability to conduct numerous missions and handle threats similar to ones that may be presented while deployed. It is an exercise in which ENTSG will be faced with multiple threats from several different regions.
If it is determined that certain operational areas need additional training, there is additional time allotted in the ships’ schedules to allow for remedial training at sea if required.
“Our Sailors are fired up and ready to go,” said Capt. O. P. Honors, commanding officer of Enterprise. “We’ve done great in our training to date, and I have no doubt we’ll knock this one out of the park too.”
Enterprise plans to make a port visit during the exercise, but that doesn’t mean it is all fun and games. The strike group will be graded on how it conducts its liberty and in port security procedures as well.
“We practice everything. We even practice having fun,” said Capt. Ryan Scholl, Enterprise’s executive officer.
“Because an aircraft carrier is also a tool of diplomacy, we engage in the same amount of planning and training going into a liberty port as we do for at-sea operations. We will be conducting community relations projects and hosting people aboard the ship in addition to seeing the sights.”
During its port visit, Enterprise will undergo a degaussing procedure, a process that changes the magnetic signature of a ship’s hull, making it more difficult to detect.
Once JTFEX is successfully completed, the 49 year old Enterprise and the strike group will be ready to deploy. For Enterprise, it will mark the carrier’s 21st deployment.
Enterprise Strike Group consists of Enterprise, the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), the guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Barry (DDG 52) and USS Mason (DDG 87), USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8), Carrier Air Wing 1 and Destroyer Squadron 2.
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USS Enterprise (CVN 65) is scheduled to celebrate its 49th birthday in its homeport of Norfolk, Va. Tomorrow, November 25.
Big E’s 49th birthday will take place as the crew celebrates Thanksgiving.
Enterprise is the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, and with the exception of USS Constitution, is the oldest commissioned warship in the Navy. CVN-65 is the eighth U.S. ship bearing the name Enterprise and was commissioned Nov. 25, 1961.
During the commissioning, then Secretary of the Navy John B. Connally Jr. called the ship a worthy successor to the seventh Enterprise (CV 6), which was the most decorated ship in World War II. In his remarks, Connally said Enterprise will reign for a long, long time as “queen of the seas.”
“Big E”, as the crew affectionately named her, is the largest aircraft carrier to ever be built. One of a kind, Enterprise stretches 1,123 feet and weighs 73,858 tons. Enterprise is the only ship to ever house eight nuclear reactors.
The ship’s first mission was to track and measure the flight of Mercury ‘Friendship 7′. Big E’s efforts culminated May 5, 1962 when Cmdr. Alan B. Shepard, Jr., became the first American to break the barrier of the Earth’s atmosphere and ascend 116.5 miles in the Mercury capsule.
Big E has played a role in almost every major conflict since her commissioning. From the Cuban Missile Crisis, through multiple tours off Yankee Station in the Vietnam conflict, cold war tensions, and culminating with it’s rapid response on 9/11, Enterprise has been there to answer the nation’s call time and again.
Throughout Enterprise’s naval career, it has earned many accolades and distinguished itself honorably time and time again. Enterprise has played a vital role in establishing sea power for the U.S. in the past and, with its upcoming deployment, will continue to do so into the future.
Enterprise Carrier Strike Group consists of Enterprise, the guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), the guided-missile destroyers USS Bulkeley (DDG 84), USS Barry (DDG 52) and USS Mason (DDG 87), USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8), Carrier Air Wing 1 and Destroyer Squadron 2.