12,000 watch as 'The Big E' is decommissioned

The second longest commissioned naval vessel in the US Navy, the USS Enterprise, was decommissioned yesterday in front of 12,000 former crew, their families, and friends. Only the 3 masted frigate, the Constitution, has been commissioned longer. The first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, Enterprise was taken off the line at its home port of Norfolk, VA. Reuters: The 1,123-foot (342-metres) long Enterprise was commissioned in 1961 with eight nuclear reactors on board, and the next year was deployed to participate in a blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Since then, it has played a role in a number of naval missions, including deployments to Vietnam and to the Middle East as part of the U.S. response to the September 11, 2001, attacks. It returned from its final deployment about a month ago, said Navy spokesman Mike Maus. Nicknamed the "Big E," the Enterprise was the oldest active duty ship in the U.S. Naval fleet, according to the military, and was the...(Read Full Post)