The US Navy has decommissioned its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) at the vessel’s hangar bay.
The vessel is the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and has served the navy for almost 55 years.
USS Enterprise commanding officer captain Todd Beltz said: “For all that Enterprise represents to this nation, it's the people that bring this ship to life.
“So as I stand in this ship that we all care so much about, I feel it’s appropriate to underscore the contributions of the thousands of sailors and individuals that kept this ship alive and made its reputation. We are ‘The Big E’.”
USS Enterprise is the US Navy’s eighth naval ship to carry the name and began operations in 1961, cruising more than one million nautical miles on nuclear power throughout its entire lifetime.
Beltz added: “As this ship retires, we know the memory will live beyond her and we the sailors, the shipbuilders, the supporters of Enterprise are that link to the next Enterprise.”
The US Navy looks forward toward the future of the namesake in the proposed development of the ninth USS Enterprise aircraft carrier CVN 80, according to a letter written by USS Enterprise’s third commanding officer admiral James Holloway III.
USS Enterprise was assigned to the scrapyard in August 2013, and engineers have since de-fuelled the vessel, in addition to removing its reactors. This first step taken to decommission the vessel ultimately marked the last significant engineering feat carried out on the ship in its lifespan.
Image: USS Enterprise (CVN 65) final commanding officer captain Todd Beltz. Photo: courtesy of US Navy; photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Preston / Released.