In 1961 the USS Enterprise the world first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier entered service in the US Navy. This aircraft carrier has remained the exponent of American power for close to 5 decades and has seen action in various theaters of war in the world. The aircraft carrier was used in the 1962 Cuban missile crisis. Aircraft from that, the carrier has operated against the Taliban in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. For the last few years, the aircraft had docked at Norfolk where it was built as engineers took out the radioactive fuel. Now finally the carrier will be decommissioned on 3 Feb 17 and for naval personnel who served on the ship, it will be a poignant moment.

USS Enterprise

After the Cuban crisis, the ship became part of the 7th fleet in the Eastern Pacific. It was ordered into the Bay of Bengal in 1971 by Richard Nixon to build a bridgehead to help the beleaguered Pakistan army in East Pakistan. However, the Pakistan army surrendered while the warship was still a few hundred miles away. The Enterprise during its time was a formidable warship but the name will not go into oblivion as a new supercarrier of the Gerald Ford class will carry this name.

Dismantling

The navy has dismantled and decommissioned five carriers and they have been sold as scrap. The nuclear-powered carrier decommissioning is a little tricky as it has an engine with a nuclear core and thus it took time.

The Navy will now decommission the ship in a time-honored ceremony next month.

During its 5 decades of service, the Enterprise carried the American flag against Soviet Russia. The Russians had nothing remotely matching this warship. The Enterprise was a big deterrent to China and was a factor in the Chinese not trying to mount an invasion of Taiwan.

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Last word

The aircraft carrier displaced 93000 tons and operated 60+ first line fighters and assault aircraft. It was a veritable floating base with 250 pilots and a crew of over 3000. It was the world first " supercarrier" The carrier was withdrawn from service in 2012 and it has taken 4 years to deactivate its nuclear fuel. The carrier will be remembered but the name Enterprise will not die as a new carrier will carry the name.