Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The end of the Enterprise: an outrage, an insult and a crime

The US Navy will soon no longer have an active aircraft carrier named Enterprise:
The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) departed Norfolk Naval Station March 11 on the ship's 22nd and final deployment.

Enterprise is slated to deploy to the U.S. Navy's 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation as part of an ongoing rotation of U.S. forces supporting maritime security operations in international waters around the globe.


For Enterprise, the Navy's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the deployment represents the culmination of more than 50 years of distinguished service.

Commissioned in 1961, the Enterprise is both the largest and oldest active combat vessel in the Navy.

Enterprise's age, however, does not impact its effectiveness.

"Enterprise is as ready and capable as she has ever been throughout her 50 years," said Capt. William C. Hamilton, Commanding Officer of Enterprise. "The ship and crew's performance during work-ups demonstrates that the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier has never been more relevant."

Throughout its storied history, Enterprise has played a role in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom, and was one of the first Navy assets deployed following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The importance of the role Enterprise has played in both national and naval history is a fact not lost on the Sailors and Marines currently aboard the ship.

"The crew is very mindful that we are following the legacy of the more than 200,000 Sailors who have come before us during the last 50 years," said Hamilton. "It's the Sailors of this great warship, and the Sailors that have served aboard Big E over the past half-century that have established the legacy she enjoys."

Enterprise was designed in the late 50's for a 25-year lifespan, and the Nimitz-class carriers were designed for 50 years. "To effectively double the service life of a ship as complex as Enterprise speaks volumes about the design strengths of the world's first nuclear-powered carrier, the Navy's commitment to cost effectiveness, and our Sailors hard work and innovation throughout the last half-century to keep her going strong," said Hamilton.

Enterprise is scheduled for deactivation and eventual decommissioning following its anticipated return later this year, marking the end of the carrier's legendary 50-plus years of service.
Mark Krikorian at National Review hits on an issue that has infuriated me for years:

[A]fter this year the U.S. Navy will no longer have an Enterprise, which is why there’s a petition to name the next planned carrier, CVN-80, the USS Enterprise. Sign it, because we’ve gotten into the habit of naming our greatest warships after politicians, and not even dead ones — one of the newest carriers is the USS George H. W. Bush. Look, I voted for the guy, and he was a whole lot better than the current occupant, but nothing named by the U.S. government — not a building, not a scholarship program, certainly not one of the greatest warships built by mankind — should be named after a living person. Except for posthumous Medal of Honor recipients, it seems to me you should be dead for 50 years, preferably 100, before your name is even eligible to be considered for a naval ship.

And while we’re naming ships after Jimmy Carter and John Murtha and Bob Hope, keep in mind there’s no USS Lexington or Yorktown or Saratoga or Midway or Khe Sanh or, if we want to name them after people, Benjamin Franklin or John Adams or Jefferson or Madison or Monroe or Jackson. There have been nearly 1,000 Marine and Navy combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan — any one of those is more appropriate as the name of a ship than the USS Gabrielle Giffords.
We have a George H.W. Bush.  We will soon have a Gerald Ford.  We have a John Stennis.  We have a Carl Vinson.  But no Lexington, no Saratoga, no Yorktown, no Hornet, no Constellation, no Ranger. And now no Enterprise.

This is mind-bogglingly stupid and simply inexcusable.  Part of the purpose of a warship is psychological power projection.  Now, which name would better show the history, strength and power of the United States: Saratoga or George H.W. Bush?

I don't know that this is the Navy's fault, because the Congressional armed services committees have a say in ship names, but the Navy certainly showed how important it took history when it took the World War II aircraft carrier Enterprise -- probably the greatest warship in the history of the US Navy -- and scrapped it.

This just goes to show that politicians think government resources that belong to all of us and should represent all of us are just their personal playthings.  Sickening.

Please sign the petition. Let's take back our Navy from selfish politicos.

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