Decommissioning of Inactivated Carrier USS Enterprise Set for Feb. 3
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise, will be officially decommissioned on Feb. 3 in Newport News, Va., 55 years after it entered the fleet, the Navy announced in a Jan. 26 release.
Enterprise was inactivated on Dec. 1, 2012, in ceremonies at Naval Station Norfolk, Va. Nuclear-powered ships are not decommissioned immediately when retired from service because of the need to keep a smaller crew assigned during the removal of the reactors and other nuclear components. With that process nearing completion by Huntington Ingalls’ Newport News Shipbuilding, where the ship was built, Enterprise is nearly ready for decommissioning and disposal. The ship will be scrapped.
The decommissioning ceremony at the Newport News Shipbuilding yard will not be open to the public.
Enterprise, known as the “Big E,” participated in many of the nation’s major foreign crises and conflicts since the year it entered the fleet, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, Operation Praying Mantis, Operation Desert Fox, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The ship was one of a kind, with eight nuclear reactors and the largest flight deck of its time when built. It was able to carry a larger air wing than the other “supercarriers” of its day until the advent of the 10-ship Nimitz class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.