Navy aircraft carriers: out with the old, and in with the new
DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti, 29 June 2011. In a rare symbolic passing of the torch, the U.S. Navy's oldest and newest aircraft carriers passed within distance of one another this month in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait in the Red Sea off Djibouti. The Navy's newest carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77), is headed to the Middle East, while the Navy's oldest carrier, the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) is headed home to Norfolk, Va., when it completes this, its last scheduled active deployment.
The Enterprise this week is visiting port in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, after spending 75 days at sea. When the ship is through with its duties in the Mediterranean, it will head home back across the Atlantic to its home port at Norfolk Naval Station, Va. The ship is not scheduled for another deployment before its decommissioning.
The Enterprise is the Navy's first nuclear-powered aircraft, and will be the first nuclear carrier to be decommissioned. The giant vessel has eight nuclear reactors, so decommissioning the ship promises to be long and expensive, Navy officials say.
More information about the Enterprise is online at www.navy.mil/local/cvn65.