One of the most awesome pictures ever taken aboard USS Enterprise: starry night in the Gulf of Aden.

A C-2 on the deck of USS Enterprise. (Image credit: U.S. Navy)

A lonely C-2 Greyhound sits on the flight deck of USS Enterprise (CVN 65) with the Milky Way partially visible on the background. The image was taken on Oct. 8, 2012, as the aircraft carrier, on its final cruise, was then steaming in the Gulf of Aden during routine operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

The “Big E” moved through Suez Canal for the last time on Oct. 16, 2012.

Noteworthy, the COD (Carrier On board Delivery) planes do not always spend the night on board the supercarriers: since they are quite cumbersome, they usually perform daily missions to bring cargo, personnel, mail on board and return to Manama, Bahrain, where they rest until the following morning. Not as beautiful as the C-2 one, here’s another stunning photo taken under the same starry night.

From her commissioning as the world’s first nuclear powered aircraft carrier in November of 1961 to her final deployment ending in November 2012, USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and her crew have played a major role in many of the world’s major conflicts amassing some impressive figures:

– The “Big E” was launched on Sept. 24, 1960. Since then has carried 100,000 sailors and pilots through all its life.

– It is made of 60,923 tons of steel, 1,507 tons of aluminium and 230 miles of pipe and tubes

– 2,400 miles of blueprints were drafted for her design, enough to go from Miami to Los Angeles.

– At 1,123 feet, it is the largest US Navy vessel, almost four football fields long.

– It has completed 25 deployments taking part to 10 major operations during wars and international crisis including the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.

– Aircraft embarked have completed 400,000 arrested landings on its flight deck

– Most of the scenes at sea of the movie “Top Gun” were filmed aboard USS Enterprise.


About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.