After 51 years of distinguished service the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) will be inactivated on Dec. 1, 2012, during a ceremony at Norfolk, Va. The world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and currently longest serving ship in the U.S. Navy, the Enterprise has seen action in U.S. conflicts ranging from the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War to Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. When launched in 1961, no one envisioned the Enterprise serving 51 years. She was designed for 25. After deactivation, the Enterprise‘s nuclear reactors and fuel will be removed and she will be towed to Washington state for scrapping. Currently, no plans exist for the U.S. Navy to commission another Enterprise, although a petition has been created to name the next U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, CVN 80, USS Enterprise.
At the inactivation ceremony of the USS Enterprise (CVN 65) it was announced that the third Gerald R. Ford-class carrier (CVN 80) will be named the Enterprise.