Sunday, March 11, 2012

Final Voyage of the USS Enterprise

Since I served aboard her from 1987 to 1991, this makes me a little bit sad:
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The USS Enterprise has set sail on its final voyage.

Officials say the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which was featured in the film "Top Gun," left Norfolk, Va., around noon on Sunday.

The ship with more than 4,000 crew members has been a part of history over the past 50 years. It was involved in several wars and played a prominent role in the Cuban missile crisis. It also served as a spotter ship for John Glenn's historic orbit of Earth.

The Enterprise is the longest aircraft carrier in the U.S. fleet. It is also the oldest.

The ship is both old and one-of-a-kind, meaning maintenance can be tricky. Crew members acknowledge life at sea can be tough because they often have to build spare parts from scratch.

"maintenance can be tricky"

Now THERE'S an understatement.

See, the Enterprise was the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier, so they modeled it after the old oil-burners, which had 8 boilers making steam to keep the propellers turning.

The good news about having 8 reactors - at least one of them will always be on line to keep you moving.

The bad news: at least one of them will always be down for repairs.

Fortunately, the boys in fabrication were top notch, and were always able to whip up anything we needed.

Sad to see it go.

At least we'll still have the VSS Enterprise.


  1. That is sort of sad. I had friends on the Enterprise and they told me stories about the stuff they had to do that we didn't have to deal with on the brand new Abraham Lincoln. Places you couldn't go because the pipes were so contaminated with radioactive crap was one of my favorite stories.

    Wonder if you knew an Ens. Caudle.

  2. Sorry, no Ens. Caudle. I was enlisted & didn't hang out with the officers much. Actually, "avoided" them would be a better word.

    My favorite part was taking out the trash, because you just chuck it off the ass-end of the ship & watch it float away.

    Also cool - the wake the ship left:

    About the 9th picture down.

    As wide as the ship, and visible all the way to the horizon. I have no idea how long it takes to dissipate. It's like we left skid marks on the ocean.