The US Navy’s aircraft carrier bearing the same name as Star Trek’s iconic starship has been officially inactivated. After over fifty years in service the nuclear carrier USS Enterprise was ‘inactivated’ at an event in Norfolk, VA. More details and video from the event. The US Navy has also announced that the next aircraft carrier will be named Enterprise.
USS Enterprise Inactivated
The US Navy Ship USS Enterprise (CVN-65) is the eighth ship (not counting the Space Shuttle) to bear the name "Enterprise." It was christened in 1960 and was the first nuclear powered carrier. It has engaged in multiple combat operations, starting with the Vietnam War in 1965.
Here is footage of a news report on the inactivation event from WAVY.
The "Big E" is the first nuclear powered carrier to be taken out of service by the US Navy. While the ship has been ‘inactivated’ it has yet to be fully ‘decommissioned,’ but that should take place no later than March 15th of 2013. The ship needs to have all the nuclear fuel removed before it can be decommissioned. The remains of the ship will be scrapped by 2015.
Before the event Star Trek’s William Shatner announced he would be in attendance to see off the ship. However, on Saturday Bill was a no show. The original Kirk took to Twitter to say goodbye and explain his absence.
My thoughts and well wishes go out as the USS Enterprise is decommissioned today. I had hoped to attend but a schedule snafu prevented it…
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) December 1, 2012
Here are some photos of the event (more at official flckr page)
Star Trek and the USS Enterprise
Gene Roddenberry chose the name Enterprise due to the tradition of the name and specifically because of the heroic service of this latest ship’s predecessor the CV-6 Enterprise, the Yorktown-class carrier which participated in World War II. Roddenberry had noted how he felt it was a heroic ship, especially at the Battle of Midway.
Notionally this same USS Enterprise appeared in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Chekov and Uhura snuck aboard the ship to collect particles from the ship’s nuclear reactor. While they referred to the ship as the Enterprise, the real ship was not available for filming and so the scenes were done onboard the USS Ranger.
USS Ranger standing in for USS Enterprise in "Star Trek IV"
Enterprise To Live On
While one Enterprise ends its days, another ship will soon take on the historic name. The Navy has announced that CVN-80, a Gerald R. Ford class nuclear carrier due for service in 2025, will be the ninth ship to bear the name USS Enterprise.
May history never forget the name Enterprise
The next USS Enterprise
Thanks to all the readers who sent in tips on this event