The US Navy announced they will officially decommission and give a final farewell to the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CVN 65) in a ceremony on February 3rd. The event is closed to the public but the Navy will post the ceremony on their Facebook page.

The Enterprise played a role in many major events in US history from the Cuban missile crisis to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The carrier entered service in 1962 and was affectionately named “The Big E” by its crew. Serving for approximately 50 years the Enterprise’s homeport was Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.

The USS Enterprise has spent the past several years being defueled and dismantled at Newport News Shipbuilding, the shipyard where it was built and refueled.

The decommissioning ceremony is a long-honored naval tradition that retires a ship from service through a variety of ceremonial services, including lowering the ship’s commissioning pennant.

The carrier was the eighth Navy ship to bear the name Enterprise, which dates to the Revolutionary War. The Navy has said a future Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier also will be called Enterprise. – The Virginian Pilot

Watch as the USS Enterprise is Moved Into Dry Dock

The Enterprise was moved to Dry Dock 11 at the Newport News Shipbuilding. The ship was taken out of service in December, 2012 but is still an active US Navy ship until the official decommissioning ceremony on February 3rd.

The Enterprise was the only ship of its class and also the longest US Navy ship ever built at 1,123 feet. Six total carriers of the Enterprise class were proposed to be built but never were due to the high costs involved. She is the only carrier with four rudders and has eight Westinghouse A2W nuclear reactors.

Port bow view of the US Navy USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65), underway at sea at high speed.

Featured image of Operation Sea Orbit by the US Navy. On 31 July 1964, USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) (bottom), USS Long Beach (CGN-9) (center) and USS Bainbridge (DLGN-25) (top) formed “Task Force One,” the first nuclear-powered task force, and sailed 26,540 nmi (49,190 km) around the world in 65 days. Accomplished without a single refueling or replenishment, “Operation Sea Orbit” demonstrated the capability of nuclear-powered surface ships.