Navy

Navy decommissions 'legendary' carrier that shaped history

USS Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

USS Enterprise, the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.  (U.S. Navy)

The U.S. Navy has officially decommissioned the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

During Friday's ceremony at a Newport News shipyard, the USS Enterprise was described as a "legendary" vessel that helped shape history. It served more than 50 years, playing a role in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Affectionately called the "Big E," the ship retired from service in 2012. The Navy has spent the last few years defueling its reactors. The ship will eventually be taken apart and its metal recycled.

One of the Enterprise's original sailors was 77-year-old Ray Godfrey of Bigfork, Montana. He said the ceremony was emotional for him realizing that "she's done."

But he said "we started something really good and our nation is on the right track."