Photographer: Alkis Konstantinidis
USS Enterprise (CVN-65, nicknamed 'Big E') is the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the second-oldest vessel in commission in the United States Navy, after the wooden-hulled, three-masted frigate USS Constitution, by completing its 50 years of naval duty last year. A legend of the US Navy, she has been deployed in almost every conflict and crisis around the world. The Enterprise is scheduled to be decommissioned and deactivated on 01 December 2012. The carrier participated in a multination aeronautical exercise in the eastern Mediterranean and in the meantime paid a courtesy visit to the port of Piraeus (the greater Athens area) on 27 and 28 March, as part of its 22nd and last deployment before the vessel heads for decommissioning. According to the US Navy, she is scheduled to conclude its military deployment in late 2012, with most of the vessel’s 5,000 sailors and Marines shifted to other duties and vessels. However, a number of officers and sailors will still serve on board the vessel at port-side until it is officially decommissioned and stricken off the US Navy’s register, something that occur when the process of shutting down its eight nuclear reactors commences. It is scheduled to sail through the Suez Canal and head for the Straits of Hormuz in the Gulf and is expected to dock at Norfolk Naval Base late November 2012.