USS Enterprise: The Beginning of End “Big E”

There was a time when USS Enterprise was the most famous ship in the world. It still is, but these days, most people think of the fictional starship rather than the world’s first nuclear-powered carrier. The real USS Enterprise was commissioned in 1961, which means that its long career of service must soon draw to a close. In April 2008, a $453.3 million contract covered the ship’s Extended Drydocking Selected Restricted Availability for maintenance and upgrades – but reached over $660 million before all was said and done, and took 2 years.

That will keep “the Big E” going for a few more years. By 2014, however, USS Enterprise is scheduled to fade into history, to be replaced by the first ship [CVN 78] of the Gerald R. Ford Class. This time, there will be no reruns or syndication deals. When the end comes, plans and facilities for permanently decommissioning the ship and dealing with its 8 nuclear reactors will need to be ready…

via USS Enterprise: The Beginning of End “Big E”.

USS Enterprise sails with Long Beach and Bainbridge circa 1961

I’m gonna miss the old girl. My dad was sailing aboard her the very day I was born.

7 thoughts on “USS Enterprise: The Beginning of End “Big E””

  1. I will likely wind up towing the reactor down the coast and up the Columbia River from PSNS Bremerton. Just towed a sub reactor a few weeks ago.

  2. Mush, there are rumors they’ll do the defuel in Newport News then tow it to PSNS for decommissioning. Of course there will still be plenty of bits from the 8(!) reactors that need burying.

    Life’s about to get good in the nuclear navy. The Prize, aka 3/4 Mile Island, aka Mobile Chernobyl sucks up a huge number of the sea-going billets.

    1. Same here. The problem is finding a place to take it. They’ll have to take out all the nuke parts, which will not be an easy thing given the design of the thing.

      It may not be worth putting it back together to make a museum out of it. The impression I have of the thing is that’s a nightmare to fuel it, and it would be a nightmare to rip the nuke plants out of it if she is intended for a museum. Jeff may have been on here and possibly speak more on this, but I have the feeling making it a museum is probably very unlikely.

    2. I agree with you. Maybe some part of it could be salvaged maintained. The removal of the reactors will leave mighty big holes in it. We towed the Midway down for her handover as museum, and the Constellation up after she was stricken.

  3. I’d rather have seen the Big E from WW2 as a museum ship, but no, we cut her up for scrap. Stupid….

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