Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Last deployment of the USS Enterprise

People forget the history the Enterprise has had, be it it's involvement
in operation preying mantis, the gulf wars and war on terror, and the
recent attacks on Libya. Despite this being a historic ship it's hull
is very vulnerable to attack, and although this ship deserves to be
preserved, should it be preserved as a museum or a wreck like the
Rafaello in front of the Bushehr reactor. Something could happen with
this ship.
Peter Z


Carrier Enterprise leaves for final deployment

By Christopher P. Cavas - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Mar 12, 2012 5:30:34 EDT

ABOARD THE ENTERPRISE — Accompanied by three blasts of the ship’s horn,
the oldest active warship in the Navy shoved off from Norfolk Naval
Base’s Pier 12 at 11:50 a.m. on a bright, mild Sunday. As big ships
will, the carrier Enterprise moved almost imperceptibly at first,
gradually gaining momentum as she moved silently away from the pier and
backward out of her berth.

A surprisingly small crowd of well-wishers, kept off the pier by
security, watched with little fanfare as the ship’s crew lined the
flight deck and looked back. A group of U.S. Marines, on board as part
of a Marine strike fighter squadron, stood front and center at the
foremost end of the deck. It was a minor blast from the past and
harkened back to the days of the Enterprise’s youth when Marines formed
a portion of every major Navy ship’s company.

A group of officers on board the amphibious ship Mesa Verde, berthed
across from the carrier, rushed to have their picture taken one last
time with the distinctive island structure of the Enterprise in the
background. On the opposite side of the berth, a small group of sailors
gathered on the flight deck of the Navy’s newest carrier, the George H.
W. Bush, to watch the historic departure.

Two helicopters from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 11 lifted off
from the Big E’s flight deck, carrying Navy photographers to document
the 50-year-old ship’s departure on her 22nd and final deployment.
Although it was a Sunday, virtually no spectator craft were present as
the Enterprise shifted into forward gear and headed down the familiar
Norfolk ship channel to the sea. Only a Coast Guard security patrol
escorted the carrier as she passed a handful of spectators on nearby
Fort Monroe.

Off Virginia Beach, the Enterprise — one of the most recognizable ships
ever built — passed a long line of nondescript merchant ships waiting to
enter the Hampton Roads port. Flight operations began as a dozen F/A-18
jets from the four strike fighter squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 1 came
aboard to recertify their flight deck qualifications. The thunder of jet
aircraft continued into the night as the Enterprise steamed under a
million stars and a phosphorescent wake trailed behind.

More than 5,000 sailors on board the ship quickly adopted a seagoing
routine — stowing gear, checking equipment and working out wherever they
could. A workmanlike atmosphere prevailed throughout the 1,123-foot-long
ship.

Shortly after leaving Norfolk, ocean storms already were causing
navigators to adjust the planned course for the Enterprise and her
escorts to cross the Atlantic. The ships would maneuver to avoid the
heavy seas as best they could.

Behind, the strike group was leaving a country where the media featured
daily stories about a virtual civil war in Syria, a deteriorating
political situation in Afghanistan and increasing signs of some sort of
military action against Iran’s nuclear program.

Ahead, the Enterprise and her group faced at least seven and a half
months of steaming on the other side of the world, in a region where
those stories could become far more real at any given moment.

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