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The Amazing History And Figures Of The First Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier In The World

The USS Enterprise, the first nuclear aircraft carrier in the world, has been officially retired today at a ceremony in Norfolk, Virginia, including an special appearance by Captain Kirk himself. Since her commissioning in November 1961, she has served under ten US commanders-in-chief, including John F Kennedy during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

The figures and the history of this mighty sea titan are impressive. Here you have them all:

The Figures

  • The “Big E”, as she’s fondly called, has carried 100,000 veterans through all its life, enough to fill the Rose Bowl.
  • She was built with 60,923 tons of steel, more than the Empire State Building.
  • 3862km of blueprints were drafted for her design, enough to go from Miami to Los Angeles.
  • At 342m, she is the largest US Navy vessel, almost four football fields long and longer than the Nimitz class.
  • She travelled 1,000,000 nautical miles, enough to circle the Earth 40 times.
  • She used eight nuclear reactors.
  • She can carry up to 90 aircraft.

The History

  • 400,000 aeroplane landings, including the Vought F-8B Crusader — her first aircraft model — the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, and the Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet — the latest one.
  • It was deployed 55 times, from the August 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis to the 2012 Afghanistan campaign.
  • The first deployment was a NATO exercise with 24 other ships.
  • Only a few months later, she was deployed in the Cuban Missile blockade, where she was instrumental in JFK’s standoff with the Soviet Union.
  • Three of those deployments went all around the world, in 1964, 1986 and 1990.
  • In 1965 she was sent to the Vietnam War. She kept serving this area till 1973 and became on the last ships to support the evacuation efforts at the end of the war.
  • She also participated in Operation Decisive Endeavour and Souther Watch in 1996.
  • In 1998 she was part of the coalition against Iraq, launching 297 combat missions during 70 hours of continuous operation.
  • From 2001-2012, the USS Enterprise was in constant combat mode, with 700 combat missions in November 2001 alone.

Watch these facts in this graphic. Click to expand and see it complete:

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