A 32-ton anchor from America's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is finding new life

HII anchor photos Enterprise

  • The huge starboard anchor of the USS Enterprise, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, has been installed aboard the USS George Washington.
  • A number of components from the decommissioned carrier affectionately known as the "Big E" have been handed off to other carriers, giving new life to a flattop that served the US Navy for more than half a century.
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A 62-year-old anchor from the USS Enterprise, the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, will live on in the USS George Washington, which is expected to continue to serve the US Navy for at least another 25 years.

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The USS Enterprise (CVN-65), waged war around the world, from Vietnam to Afghanistan, for 51 years. The carrier affectionately known as "Big E" was decommissioned in 2017, and inactivation of the eight nuclear reactors was completed last year.

The USS Enterprise (CVN-65), waged war around the world, from Vietnam to Afghanistan, for 51 years. The carrier affectionately known as "Big E" was decommissioned in 2017, and inactivation of the eight nuclear reactors was completed last year.

"We are harvesting as many parts as we can from the Enterprise," Chris Miner, the vice president of in-service carriers at Newport News, explained to Defense One in May. "She's still giving back even today."

"We are harvesting as many parts as we can from the Enterprise," Chris Miner, the vice president of in-service carriers at Newport News, explained to Defense One in May. "She's still giving back even today."

The USS George Washington, a Nimitz-class carrier, is undergoing its midlife refueling and complex overhaul, a necessity for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers that need to have their nuclear reactor cores refueled.

The USS George Washington, a Nimitz-class carrier, is undergoing its midlife refueling and complex overhaul, a necessity for nuclear-powered aircraft carriers that need to have their nuclear reactor cores refueled.

During the overhaul process, the shipbuilders determined that a George Washington anchor needed to be replaced. They opted to swap it out for one of the anchors on the former Enterprise.

During the overhaul process, the shipbuilders determined that a George Washington anchor needed to be replaced. They opted to swap it out for one of the anchors on the former Enterprise.

Source: Huntington Ingalls Industries

The starboard anchor weighs 32 tons and was first built in 1957, several years before the "Big E" went into service.

The starboard anchor weighs 32 tons and was first built in 1957, several years before the "Big E" went into service.

Source: Huntington Ingalls Industries

The USS Abraham Lincoln, another Nimitz-class carrier, previously received one of the Enterprise's anchors. The George Washington and the Lincoln received components of the ship's aircraft-launching catapults. And part of the steel hull from the Enterprise is to become part of the keel for the future carrier to bear the same name.

The USS Abraham Lincoln, another Nimitz-class carrier, previously received one of the Enterprise's anchors. The George Washington and the Lincoln received components of the ship's aircraft-launching catapults. And part of the steel hull from the Enterprise is to become part of the keel for the future carrier to bear the same name.

Read more: How the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier lives on in other US Navy flattops

The former USS Enterprise entered service in 1961 and served until 2012. The name is being given to CVN 80, a Ford-class carrier currently under construction.

The former USS Enterprise entered service in 1961 and served until 2012. The name is being given to CVN 80, a Ford-class carrier currently under construction.
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