First Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier USS Enterprise To Be Decommissioned
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First Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier To Be Decommissioned

The world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is to be decommissioned.The USS Enterprise played major roles in a number of world events...

First Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier USS Enterprise To Be Decommissioned

The world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is to be decommissioned.

The USS Enterprise played major roles in a number of world events after entering service in 1962, including the Cuban Missile Crisis and the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Around 12,000 people watched as the ship, known as the "Big E", was deactivated at Norfolk Naval Station, Virginia in 2012.

It's final goodbye ceremony will take place on February 3 at the Newport News Shipbuilding, the same yard it was built.

The only ship of her class, five others were meant to be built but construction was halted over costs, she is the longest naval vessel ever built at 1,123ft.

Enterprise is the only aircraft carrier to house more than two nuclear reactors and four rudders.

The christening of the USS Enterprise in 1960
The christening of the USS Enterprise in 1960. Image courtesy: US Navy

She was one of five of the US Navy's Second Fleet sent By President Kennedy to blockade Cuba during the missile crisis as part of Task Force 135 in 1962.

In 1969, 27 sailors were killed and 314 were injured when a MK-32 Zuni rocket on a F-4 Phantom exploded on the flight deck.

The explosion set off fires and explosions causing 15 aircraft to be destroyed and forcing the Enterprise to put in for repairs at Pearl Habour.

USS ENTERPRISE ON FIRE IN 1969
The USS Enterprise catches fire after a rocket exploded. Image courtesy: US Navy

Officers were left red-faced in 1983 when the ship ran aground on a sandbar in San Francisco bay while carrying Star Trek's Mr Sulu, George Takei.

Over three weeks in October 2001, aircraft flying from the ship flew nearly 700 missions and dropped more than 800,000lb of ordanance over Afghanistan following 9/11.

After returning from the conflict she hosted a live two-hour television broadcast, including a concert by country music artist Garth Brookes.

The ship completed 25 deployments in total, including providing air support during Operation Iraqi Freedom, capturing Somali pirates and leading a strike group that launched missiles against the Libyan government.

The eighth Navy ship to bear the name, the Enterprise has an active veterans' group dedicated to preserving its history.

A future Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier is expected to continue the tradition.

Sailors from the carrier’s final crew built a time capsule from parts of the ship and allowed former sailors to fill it with notes and mementos.

It will be opened by the commanding officer of the next Enterprise.

Cover image courtesy: United States Navy