After 50 years of service, the USS Enterprise takes it final voyage. The world′s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, and the longest ever built by the United States, left the Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia on Sunday. The ′Big E′ begins its last, 7-month deployment to the Middle East, primarily on an anti-piracy mission. The historic vessel was a spotter ship for John Glenn′s historic space flight in 1962 and even had a brief film career starring in the movies ′Top Gun′ and ″Star Trek 4, The Voyage Home′. Upon returning to the Norfolk Naval Station, there will be a decommissioning ceremony on December 1, led by Barack Obama, after which, the Enterprise will make one last trip to where she was first built at Newport News.

uss enterprise

When first constructed, she was the pride of the ′Nuclear Navy′ built by Admiral Hyman Rickover. Her namesake from World War 2 fame also had a distinguished and long career. That Enterprise was on patrol when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941. She fought in nearly every major battle in the Pacific from early raids on Japanese outposts, to assisting in the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, the Battle of Midway, Guadalcanal, right up to the final invasion of Okinawa. Other famous US Navy vessels have also sported the name of Enterprise, including the very first, a British warship which then American hero Benedict Arnold captured in 1775 which he used to attack a garrison of Redcoats in Canada with.

Naturally, the most famous Enterprise was that created by Gene Roddenberry for his television series, ′Star Trek′. The fact that the current Navy ship was a ground-breaking one, using nuclear power for propulsion, and commissioned for service in 1962, played a role in the decision to name the famous starship after her. The popularity of the series led to the first NASA Space Shuttle to also be named Enterprise, though it was never launched into space, just used for test flights.

So we bid a fond farewell as the USS Enterprise takes its final voyage. She left the Norfolk Naval Station on Sunday for the Middle East for her last 7-month mission. Upon returning, she will be decommissioned on December 1 during a ceremony presided over by Barack Obama. Then the world′s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier will be towed to Newport News for scrapping. During her 50 years of service, the Enterprise participated in many significant moments in history, including John Glenn′s first orbital space flight. She also appeared in two movie, ′Top Gun′ and ′Star Trek 4, The Voyage Home.′

uss enterprise takes final voyage