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Last Run of the USS Enterprise, CVN 65

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Bloviating Zeppelin: Last Run of the USS Enterprise, CVN 65

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Last Run of the USS Enterprise, CVN 65


The USS Enterprise is our first (and the world's first) nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, commissioned in November of 1961. At 1,123-feet, she is still the longest naval vessel sailing today.

After 50 years of constant duty (no other US naval warship has served so long), the USS Enterprise finds herself on her 22nd and last deployment, headed to the Persian Gulf in support of the carriers USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Carl Vinson. The presence of these carrier groups is in direct response to potential conflict with Iran, should it decide to mine the Strait of Hormuz, interfere with tanker shipping or shell civilian traffic in or around the Strait.

The memories are bittersweet. The old lady creaks and groans, demanding constant repair says current and likely last commander, Captain William Hamilton. Built with eight reactors -- six more than current carriers -- the USS Enterprise was a "one-off" kind of ship, the only ship of its class. Because it was the only unit of its class, there are no real "spare parts" per se. Most all replacement parts must be fabricated from, essentially, scratch.

However, it was a test bed where new and exciting technologies were utilized in preparation for successive classes of American nuclear carriers. Much was learned from the old gal.

Further, it is said that the USS Enterprise (its military website here), because of its plethora of reactors, was and may be the fastest large surface vessel in the US fleet, with a rumored top speed of over 40 knots; that's 46.1 miles per hour. To clarify: that's 94,800 tons running at almost 50 mph. It's a certainty that the Enterprise, wherever it steamed, was the fastest ship in its carrier group.

No one knows what will happen in and around the Strait of Hormuz in the coming days and immediate few months. Some conspiracy theorists are speculating that Enterprise is being sacrificed, a la the USS Maine, in Iran because it's cheaper to kill her than decommission her. That's how far the "theorists" have sunk.

That said, the "Big E" has served in a stolid and steadfast fashion for twice her operational design time of 25 years (a major refit occurred in 1979). Resultingly, Capt Hamilton says there are two phrases on board:

  • "There's tough, and then there's Enterprise tough," and
  • "We eat pain like candy."
Clearly, Iran will be a challenge as will the Strait of Hormuz.

To the Big E: thousands served upon you. God bless you all, and particularly the 27 sailors who lost their lives from the 1969 ordnance explosion and fire.

BZ

P.S.
Click on the below photo for a much enlarged classic view of Big E.

7 Comments:

Blogger TexasFred said...

Damn, that was a hell of a ship... I hate to see Her go, but all things must change...

Fri Mar 16, 08:22:00 PM PDT  
Blogger ∞ ≠ ø said...

The Enterprise was one of my first models as a youngster. I flew many sorties off that deck. It's sad really.

I pulled this from Obama's Eid wishlist.
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ydcf0eZeKNU/TcmCvAy4vII/AAAAAAAABoI/IfSsNpSRFZA/s1600/Obama+Carrier.jpg

Fri Mar 16, 09:39:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

TF: last of her kind, indeed.

∞ ≠ ø: however, that's one helluva water hazard.

BZ

Sat Mar 17, 06:14:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Well Seasoned Fool said...

A friend was a deck officer, and I believe a plank owner, on the Big E. He has some interesting stories. 1,123 feet of whoop ass.

Sat Mar 17, 06:50:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

WSF: and boy, would I ever like to hear some of those stories!

BZ

Sat Mar 17, 07:41:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Well Seasoned Fool said...

BZ One story that brought out his anger. Seems the Navy liked to show her off by going from a dead stop to top speed like a drag race. He said it put a terrible strain on the machinery. Near quote, "Ripping the guts out of her."

His watches were on on the bridge. Being a former ditch boy, not sure what that all entails. Do know he was an O-3.

Sat Mar 17, 09:43:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

WSF: and I can imagine the strain that would create. That's unnecessary strain unless war or emergency conditions exist. Shame on the captain(s) allowing that.

BZ

Sat Mar 17, 01:55:00 PM PDT  

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