Saturday December 1st, was a bitter sweet day as I had the chance to meet with some old friends that I have not seen in over 20 years. As well as we take this nations first nuclear powered aircraft carrier out of service. After 51 years and 25 combat deployments The USS Enterprise CVN 65 is no longer available to serve her country. This ship is one of the most decorated ship in naval history defending her country during every major crises since the Korean War. I myself had the honor to ride this ship into battle in defense of what we hold dear, our freedom. To feel her pulse through the steel decks, the scent of the oil, fuel and the heat of her steam. To hear the slam of the water break in the catapult system launching the best of the best pilots to keep us safe. Like a mother she would gently rock us as we lay in our racks drifting off to sleep. Like a member of our family, she was alive.
Seeing her one last time although majestic I could tell, she was tired. Like an old friend who wants to depart this earth, she was ready to dim the lights on her island and settle down for her eternal rest. As I walked her decks for the final time, I recall the days of my youth and how I was in need of little since almost all of my needs were cared for on this ship. My old friend who took care of me was in her final days. I could see past the paint and tile that she was tired and wanted to rest. If pushed, she would go one more year, one more combat tour one more launch but at what cost? No, the decision is made that it is time for her to depart and end her service to the greatest country this earth has ever known. No more will planes catapult from her deck, or become trapped in their recovery. No more will her anchors splash in ports of call. No more will she take on supplies underway, defend free trade routs and negotiate through power. Today, she falls silent to become history, no longer in the making but of the past. Rest easy old girl, you lasted twice as long as they thought you would, being alone in your class. You brought us home safely, you earned your rest. Fair winds and following seas.