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USS Enterprise Sailors Meet Before Decommissioning

11:56 PM, Nov 17, 2012   |    comments
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Colfax, NC - Fifty years, dozens of deployments and hundreds of thousands of miles of sea separate Shane Fisher and Leon Mills.

"It's an honor, it's an honor to see you," Shane told Leon.

These two 2nd Class Petty Officers share more than their rank.

"I was with the first group of people who actually moved onto the ship," said Leon. "We will be the last people to ever get off the ship so it's kind of bittersweet," added Shane.

The U.S.S. Enterprise will inactivate on December 1st at its home port of Norfolk, Virginia, after 51 years of service, but not before one of its first and last sailors have the chance to swap stories.

"We were in the Cuban crisis," said Leon.

"We spent all of our time in the Persian Gulf," said Shane.

Leon Mills, 71, was on its first deployment. Shane Fisher, 23, was on its last.
"Were you on the cruise that got to go to Italy?" asked Shane.

"Yes we went to Italy," said Leon.

"You all went to Italy and we were the last, they took us to Italy as well on the way home, they made a big deal about it, that Italy was the first foreign port the Enterprise had ever been too," said Shane.

"It's an honor to be with someone who also carried that ship, and put that ship together, and made it what it is today," said Shane.

The U.S.S. Enterprise is the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.

Known as 'Big E,' the 1,123 feet carrier was commissioned November 25, 1961.

It was ordered in 1957 and cost $451.3 million dollars to build.

The aircraft's flight decks area is 4.5 acres, the hangar bay area is 3.5 acres and the landing area is 344 feet. The famous aircraft was featured in the movie Top Gun.

The carrier has 4 elevators, a general store, 2 gyms, laundromat, print shop, chapel, library, coffee shop, television station and studio and 2 barber shops.

In its final deployment, the ship's company was 3,100 sailors strong. The air wing has 1,300 airman and its embarked staffs was 200.

An estimated 100,000 sailors have served on this ship.

8 American ships have bared the name "U.S.S. Enterprise." The first was originally owned by the British but was captured by Benedict Arnold in 1775.

WFMY News 2

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