After 55 years of service, Navy decommissions 'The Big E'
The ceremony, held Feb. 5 at the ship’s hanger bay, addressed the ship's company, former commanding officers and distinguished visitors and spoke of where the true spirit of "The Big E" comes from, America’s Navy reported.
"For all that Enterprise represents to this nation, it's the people that bring this ship to life," Capt. Todd Beltz, commanding officer of the Enterprise, said at the ceremony. "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.'"
The 55-year-old nuclear-powered aircraft carrier was the first of its class to be retired.
“Nuclear carriers are tough and no other country can match us in this respect," Rear. Adm. Bruce Lindsey, commander at the Naval Air Force - Atlantic, said.
The Enterprise, manufactured by the Newport News Shipbuilding Co., was put to work in 1961. Since then, it safely steamed more than 1 million nautical miles on nuclear power.