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back to article USS Enterprise sets out on its final mission

The US Navy's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, has set sail on her last mission before being consigned to the scrap heap. After 51 years as a serving warship, including multiple circumnavigations of the globe, the Enterprise's final trip will be a short one from its home port of Naval Station Norfolk …

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Anonymous Coward

" the US Navy will be left with only 10 aircraft carriers to protect itself..."

Only if you don't count the 9 others.

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Even worse...

The US has 10 big-deck carriers plus 9 "little" carriers. The entire rest of the world has a total of zero big-deck carriers and nine "little" carriers. See:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_carrier#Aircraft_carriers_in_service

The big carriers can support various high-performance aircraft. the little guys handle STOL or VTOL aircraft, which have all sorts of design compromises.

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Anonymous Coward

Steven Segal

Should shoot his next movie here.

It would be epic.

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The world becomes a safer place every time we remove one these behemoths.

Unfortunately, they get replaced with two...

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Those behemoths are keeping the sea lanes safe from piracy. Perhaps you don't realise that international trade used to be fraught with danger until Great Britain began regular sea patrols around the world. The world economy went through a huge boom once that projection of force cut down piracy and made the seas safe for international trade. The US navy took over that role after world war 2 and it's only within the last decade, with politically correct rules of engagement that prevent decisively dealing with pirates, that piracy has started to become a problem again.

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Unhappy

A world without guns is a safer than than a world populated with guns. My 2 cents.

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Re: AfternoonTea

"A world without guns is a safer than than a world populated with guns....." Well, that's fine then, seeing a the jets on these carriers do the majority fo their damage with missiles, rockets, bombs, depthcharges and the odd torpedo.

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Curious

I thought these large ships were to project power against other large and advanced forces. Pirates are a Coast guard problem since slow moving essentially unarmed ships should pose no problem for destroyers plus helicopters. Anything as large as a missile cruiser is wasted money.

I recall the UK went bankrupt by holding on to it's empire. The US seems to be following in spending more than half it's budget in military related expenses. It's a good thing that China has been so willing to buy our country on the cheap to finance our foolishness.

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Re: AfternoonTea

Um, OK. No gun's in the the first place? You fail to understand my friend.

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Re: Curious

I believe the piracy threat referred to is that of international piracy. The US Coast Guard's mission concerns only US coastal waters not such places as the Strait of Malacca where Somalian piracy has been rampant.

Still, it's sad to see such a piece of history fall to the scrapheap rather than being preserved as one of the early milestones (for good or ill) of the nuclear age.

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Re: Curious

"Still, it's sad to see such a piece of history fall to the scrapheap rather than being preserved as one of the early milestones (for good or ill) of the nuclear age."

It appears that some of these old preserved warships can work out horrendously expensive for the people concerned. I believe there are issues with some of the WWII museum ships which are literally rotting away at their berths. It's not as if there is a lot of spare cash around these days for the standard of upkeep needed.

Perhaps scrapping the Enterprise might be kinder than letting it go downhill over a number of years?

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Re: Curious

And the old museum ships don't contain nuclear reactors. The Enterprise has to be cut to pieces in order that the reactors can be decommissioned. That really can't be avoided.

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"A world without guns..."

Well, yes, and a world where chocolate ice cream falls from the sky promptly at 3pm every day is better than a world where it doesn't, and a water-fueled internal combustion engine would save me a lot of money getting to work every day. Does it matter?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Graham Dawson & Paul McClure

"Those behemoths are keeping the sea lanes safe from piracy."

Regular navy patrols can reduce piracy, but until the pirates start arming themselves with seriously big guns a nuclear powered aircraft carrier is complete overkill. They are useful for other things though, such as bombing middle eastern countries back into the stone age.

"I recall the UK went bankrupt by holding on to it's empire. The US seems to be following in spending more than half it's budget in military related expenses. It's a good thing that China has been so willing to buy our country on the cheap to finance our foolishness."

The UK went bankrupt fighting Germany whilst the US profited by selling the British old armaments at high prices. There's a reason the US came out of WWII far richer than when it went in. The empire crumbled for many reasons but it didn't help that Roosevelt was actively working against it. The end of colonialism is the reason the US can sell its goods all over the world today.

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FAIL

with politically correct rules of engagement

Those pesky law things again. They ruin everyone's fun.

If you're going to sail about the oceans proclaiming that you're enforcing the law then you better f**king well abide by the law yourself. That's how laws work, innit?

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Re: Curious

the uk went bankrupt fighting WW2 which if you count stoping nazi and japanase expansion as protecting the empire then your point stands. After the war the various states were given full independance ( a number might have happened sooner were it not for the war)

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Pirate

traditionally pirates were merchants with close connections to a monarch who would give said man of influence a licence to plunder ships under the flags of some other monarchy, Depending on the annoyance to monarch, they would build ships devoted solely to fighting and these ships would go off fighting all over the place. People of lesser influence (or none at all) just lit a big fire and let the ship crash on to very jagged rocks.

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Mushroom

A world without guns is a safer than than a world populated with guns.

Sure, just as soon as you do away with all the criminals and tyrants.

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@Aaron Em

I disagree. That sounds really messy.

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Joke

@Graham Dawson

"The world economy went through a huge boom once that projection of force cut down piracy..."

But cutting down piracy triggered global warming!!!

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"Those pesky law things again. They ruin everyone's fun."

The trouble with western do-gooders is that one fundamental thing they fail to understand is that what they seen as being fair and even handed is interpreted as being weak. Somali pirates being caught and given a stern talking to don't go away hanging their heads in shame determined to behave better, they go away thinking the west is soft and weak and they can behave as they wish without any real consequence. You can extend this analogy to any number of other situations too.

Here in Britain we have the same problem in our classrooms on our streets. Our teachers have virtually no power to punish and consequently almost all our schools have major behavioural problems and on our streets the police are given virtually no respect and are made to do their jobs hamstrung by rules and regulations which make them almost powerless. I remember reading an interest blog during the London riots written by a Philipino guy living in the Philipines (but who had lived in London) saying he was astonished at how powerless and ineffective the UK police were after he'd been mugged. They were completely terrified of being accused of any number of things and were accordingly unwilling to investigate the crime despite the perpetraters (of Pakistani origin, according to the blogger) still being in the vacinity.

Rather than try to understand the naughty pirates and let them off with a warning, I wonder if a more effective deterent might be that the next time they are seen harrassing a merchant ship with AK47's and RPG's that the warship on the scene blows them out of the water. It would only take 2 or 3 such responses and the pirates would get the message.

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Pirate

@Heathroi - No, that's Privateers

Privateers were the ones given a licence to plunder certain ships, eg those flying the flag of another country. In most cases they were given a ship and a crew to go and do this with.

Essentially they were a deniable part of the military, rather like modern espionage.

Pirates did not, and still do not operate under a licence from anyone, they just board a ship and steal and/or ransom the cargo, crew and passengers.

Back then they'd probably ransom the officers and passengers, using the ship and the money to fund their lifestyle. The crew were probably killed or forced to join the pirate crew.

These days the full ship and crew are ransomed.

This is why the British have a standing policy of never, ever paying a ransom. All it does is fund the next act of piracy. We send in the SAS or SBS instead.

In theory, once they know that boarding a British-flagged vessel will cost them dearly and won't get them any money, they won't bother with ours and will go for other flags.

Finally, some privateers did break the terms of their licence, becoming pirates. Those were the ones who were really hunted down, "por encouragement los autres".

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Pirate

@Heathroi

What you are describing is a privateer, not a pirate. Similar jobs but the pirate has no official backing.

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Are there unicorns in your fantasy world?

A world without guns just means that those with muscle get to bully those without. Especially women.

The saying goes: God made men but Colonel Colt made them equal.

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Hate to say this but...

Peace has always lived in the shadow of the sword.

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Re: Curious

*The US seems to be following in spending more than half it's budget in military related expenses*

actually .. about 24% ... depending on what you consider *related* that is still something more than $700 billion and perhaps as much as $900 billion

in my mind WAY more than needed for defense .. though if Iran blocks the Straight of Hormus .. it's going to be the rest of the western world that will be happy that the US naval task forces are there to open them back up

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Re: Curious

"The US seems to be following in spending more than half it's budget in military related expenses."

No - that would be for "entitlements" Medicare, Medicaid, and SS. DOD makes up less than 20% of the budget - and that was while we were still in IRAQ.

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Re: @Heathroi - No, that's Privateers

Speaking of "pour encouragement les autres", the Enterprise's home port in Norfolk is just a couple miles across the water from a place still known today as "Blackbeard's Point", where said pirate's head was placed on a pike after the governor of Virginia sent the Royal Marines after him.

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Re: Graham Dawson & Paul McClure

"The UK went bankrupt fighting Germany whilst the US profited by selling the British old armaments at high prices. There's a reason the US came out of WWII far richer than when it went in."

Waaaaaaaah.... waaaaaah. Do I hear a child crying?

The UK went bankrupt trying to keep a colonial hold over most of the world.

The US came out of WWII with far higher output but much poorer than it went in. In particular, 400,000 Americans died because European countries like the UK first got into colonial rivalries, then slaughtered each other silly over them, completely made a hash out of the peace, went into a second bloody war and had to be rescued again by the US -- at great human cost -- for the second time in 30 years.

Then the US decided that the Europeans needed to be watched more closely -- we stayed to protect you from the commies -- and we've had 67 years of peace there.

Don't worry: Ingratitude and a desire to blame others for your own shortcomings are common character flaws.

You are welcome.

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Re: Curious

A completely bizarre rewrite of history. The UK and France tried hard to keep their postwar possessions and were only forced out by the natives and US pressure. You are welcome.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Graham Dawson & Paul McClure

Roosevelt, unlike his WW1 predecessors, wasn't selling to both parties. Churchill was more than willing to hold off any involvement in Europe because the Soviets and Germans were killing each other off. While I don't blame him, in some respect, he was not helping to end the war. Roosevelt had to push Churchill to action in Europe, the U.S. being responsible for the taking western Europe back, not the English. You should also appreciate the fact that Roosevelt and Stalin had agreed on how Europe would be split, since the U.S. was in no position ot stop the Soviets if they decided to keep rolling west of Berlin. Getting our old equipment under lend/lease was about the best Roosevelt could do with a country that didn't really see the Nazi's as bad enough to go to war, a moral failing on the part of the U.S. Lend/lease also allowed the U.S. to pick a side in the war without 'technically' picking a side. Unfortunately, my country currently resorts to military actions due to poor long term political planning, so I don't this this aspect improving any time soon.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Graham Dawson & Paul McClure

"Churchill was more than willing to hold off any involvement in Europe because the Soviets and Germans were killing each other off. While I don't blame him, in some respect, he was not helping to end the war."

Whilst this is partly true it omits some important points. Namely that Churchill did eventually want to take back western Europe but was unwilling to send in Imperial forces alone with limited help from the Free French because these forces were already spread thin fighting in north Africa and the far east.

"the U.S. being responsible for the taking western Europe back, not the English."

That'd be why D-Day was planned Lieutenant-General Frederick Morgan (a Brit), the ground forces were under the command of General Bernard Montgomery (a Brit), the air forces under the command of Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory (a Brit), the naval forces were under the command of Admiral Sir Bertram Home Ramsay (a Brit) and of the 160,000 troops that landed that day 83,115 were from the Empire (61,715 British and 21,400 Canadian)?

" You should also appreciate the fact that Roosevelt and Stalin had agreed on how Europe would be split,"

We should appreciate nothing since it was a massive power-play by both leaders to take control of Europe whilst the colonial powers were weakened. It had nothing to do with the best interests of the people of Europe.

"Lend/lease also allowed the U.S. to pick a side in the war without 'technically' picking a side."

Lend/Lease was about nothing more than draining British coffers whilst giving the appearance of helping. Roosevelt was staunchly anti-imperial, he had even drafted plans in the 1920's for war with British and an invasion of Canada. I've no problem with his view, Imperialism is not a good thing but it annoys me when people try to airbrush this stuff from history.

Read a book, stop getting your knowledge of history from Hollywood.

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Mushroom

Re: 67 years of peace my foot

67 years of peace - unless you lived in Africa, Central America, South America, the Middle East or Asia, where you were likely to run foul of one the US and USSR's proxy wars.

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Wrong tool

In the days of sail, the RN did not use ships of the line against pirates. The RN used Frigates and smaller ships for that. Similarly, a big-deck carrier is completely inapproprate against modern pirates. Enterprise has a crew of 4600, and its task force has about that again, for a total of 9200. That's enough to crew 92 LCSs, and an LCS is just about ideal against pirates, since it can support fast patrol craft and helicopters. The problem is that neither the USN nor the RN really want to do anti-piracy becase it just isn't sexy and it does not provide seagoing commands for admirals. for LCS, see:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Littoral_Combat_Ship

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@Bryan Hall

"DOD makes up less than 20% of the budget - and that was while we were still in IRAQ."

You make it sound as if it's quite reasonable to spend 10-15% of a nation's budget on the military. the US could very comfartably cut it's military budget in half and still have more ships, planes and firepower than the rest of the world combined

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Re: Curious

@ Paul McClure: "I recall the UK went bankrupt by holding on to it's empire"

No we almost went bankrupt paying back the USA for assisting us in that little conflict called World War 2 - we only finally finished paying the bill in 2001. UK had war rationing until the mid 50s because the US Marshall Plan was only designed to help with reconstruction in the parts of Europe that LOST the war, not the parts that won it. There are still gaps in the buildings in Central London that were bombed by the Luftwaffe 70 years ago! (okay they are now used as car parks but the gaps are there because of German bombs)

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Boffin

Re: Re: Graham Dawson & Paul McClure

The difference in Chruchill's and Roosevelt's approach to "liberating" Europe was stark. The Brits wanted to use the hard-won foothold of Africa to invade the "soft underbelly" of Europe in 1943, in particular through Greece and Romania, and use this as a means to drive up into Poland and Germany. Churchill wanted to do this to stop the Russians getting too deep into Europe and to stop them getting access to ports in the Med. The Yanks insisted on the the cross-Channel invasion of France as "the shortest route to Berlin", despite this also being the route with the strongest Nazi defences and units. The success of the half-arsed invasions of Sicily, Italy and Southern France only showed up the eventual Normandy landings and campaign through France as the expensive tactic of hitting Hitler where he was strongest, and let the Russians get their hands on Eastern Europe by default. As a direct result of Roosevelt's anti-Imperialism, Poland was sacrificed to the Soviets, which was ironic considering it was the country Britain and France had gone to war to liberate in 1939. You can still meet Poles today that will tell you they consider Roosevelt the biggest traitor in their history since the Polish Nobles in 1792.

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Devil

International trade eh?

International trade eh? Does that include the cruises made by dark skinned people?

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Re: International trade eh?

Initially yes, but it seems rather unfair to ignore the fact that although the British participated in the slave trade they A) didn't start it and B) ended it (much to the chagrin of the good ol' USA).

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Unhappy

Re: International trade eh?

Well, I don't think any of the other international trade would be considered a fair deal between equal parties by todays standards.

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Enterprise

There was of course a predecessor USS Enterprise in WW II, which took part in the Battle of Midway and various other actions. As the name of a US warship it goes back at least to the War of 1812.

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Speaking of the Roddenberry comment, it should be noted that the retiring ship happens to be the (at least) the SECOND U.S. Navy ship named Enterprise (its earlier namesake was CV(N)-5, a WW2-era carrier that saw service for most of the war until it was crippled during the Okinawa campaign).

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CV-5 was the Yorktown, the previous Enterprise was CV-6, although they were sister ships. Yorktown was sunk at Midway however Enterprise survived the war with more battle honours than any other US carrier not being scrapped until 1958 by which time the decision had been made to name the current ship Enterprise.

In my defence I only learnt this when I got asked to make a 3D model of her...

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The WWII Enterprise was "The Enterprise"

CV-6 Enterprise became a very famous ship during and after WWII, because after Lexington was lost at Coral Sea, Yorktown at Midway and Hornet at Santa Cruz Islands battles (while the Saratoga was at repairs, but she was already getting obsolete), Enterprise remained the only "battle carrier" available until the Essex class ships entered services, but it took months. The press took inspiration from it, and it looked the whole USA future were depending on the Enterprise itself.

It was the only pre-war carrier to survive the war, and the most decorated one. IIRC Roddenberry was a pilot in the Pacific theatre during WWII, I believe he couldn't avoid to be "infected" by the Enterprise story. And the fact that the new nuclear carrier would have been named Enterprise, just draw a line towards future that matched the glory of the old carrier with the future technology of the new one.

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Re: The WWII Enterprise was "The Enterprise"

I have to correct myself - the Saratoga too survived WWII, but was sunk in the atomic experiments around Bikini in 1946.

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Megaphone

It's worse than that! Where have all the Trekkies gone?

Lots more than 2 ships named Enterprise, but Roddenberry served on the WW II aircraft carrier and did name the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 for that ship. My memory is probably getting fuzzy, because I think I even knew his assignment when he was there. Possibly damage control?

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Trollface

carriers lol

Floating cities full of young men ready to kill on moments notice that we send all over the world when we need to put our d_ck on somebody's chin. Very necessary I guess but wish I wasn't borrowing from my grandkids so we can have so many.

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Angel

Re: carriers lol

Too true, US politicians and huge numbers of US citizens seem to have no understanding of the depth of their current economic debt crisis. Your downvoter there would belong to that group I'm sure.

The irony is that the entire Chinese military budget is funded by the interest payments that Uncle Sam makes on the massive numbers of US government bonds the Chinese own.

From "After America - Mark Steyne"

"According to the Congressional Budget Office’s 2010 long-term budget outlook, by 2020 the government will be paying between 15 and 20 percent of its revenues in debt interest. Whereas defense spending will be down to between 14 and 16 percent."

That is to say that their interests payments (not actually paying down the debt, just paying the interest) will take a greater slice of their GDP than what they spend on their military and a large proportion of those payments will go straight to China.

Golly, I can't see anything wrong with that, can you?

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