NORFOLK -- USS Enterprise (CVN 65) made her final voyage to the Newport News Shipyard June 20.
The ship, nearly six months into her dismantling process, was moved by tugboat on the James River to Newport News Shipyard with almost 150 Newport News Shipbuilding and Huntington Ingalls Industries shipbuilders aboard.
"The main purpose of bringing the Enterprise up here is to defuel and deactivate her. This is the only shipyard capable of this," said Denis Geary, who works in the radiological controls department at Newport News.
The move marks one of Enterprise's final trips underway and is expected to be the last opportunity for shipbuilders and crew to ride the ship.
Shirley Langston was part of the original planning for the ship. "I worked on the 'Big E' from the beginning- it was my first project 55 years ago. It's sad to see her go, but we are all proud of what she's done." Throughout Enterprise's 51-years in service, many of the career shipbuilders riding the ship worked on Enterprise during her scheduled maintenance periods.
Henry Deese, an engineering analyst at the shipyard, talked about his time working on Enterprise. "Working on the ship from the beginning and following it throughout its life had been rewarding. I was part if the team that started it and I'm part of the team that will finish it. It's sad to see Enterprise go when it's the first, last, and only one of its kind, but that's life." Captain William C. Hamilton, Jr., Enterprise's commanding officer, monitored the ship's progress from the navigation bridge. "It's sad to see a ship with such a history taken apart and the Sailors leave, but we are looking forward to commissioning the next Enterprise. Right now our focus is the safety of our Sailors and shipyard workers as we take the ship on this underway and continue the dismantling process." Enterprise's keel was laid at Newport News Shipbuilding in 1958 and she was commissioned November 25, 1961. The ship was formally inactivated at a ceremony held at Naval Station Norfolk December 1, 2012. The announcement that the next nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, CVN-80, will be called Enterprise was made at this ceremony.