Photo of the week: USS Enterprise’s final pass through the Suez Canal

After 51 years in service, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise is making her final voyage home, passing last week through the Suez Canal for the last time in the above picture. The ship (CVN 65) made final port calls in the Mediterranean this week. On December 1, the Navy’s aircraft carrier fleet will be reduced ...

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jared King/Released
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jared King/Released
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jared King/Released

After 51 years in service, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise is making her final voyage home, passing last week through the Suez Canal for the last time in the above picture. The ship (CVN 65) made final port calls in the Mediterranean this week. On December 1, the Navy's aircraft carrier fleet will be reduced from 11 to 10, with the "inactivation ceremony" for the Enterprise in Norfolk, Va.

The debate over the right number of carriers in the fleet has surfaced in the presidential race, as Mitt Romney has called for incresaed shipbuilding and for an additional carrier to be stationed in the Middle East as a show of force to Iran.  Earlier this month, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey said that an 11-carrier fleet was the right size for the Navy. For now, 10 will have to do. It will be several years before the newest carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford is ready for prime time. That ship, CVN 78, is not scheduled to be delivered to the Navy until 2015.

After 51 years in service, the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise is making her final voyage home, passing last week through the Suez Canal for the last time in the above picture. The ship (CVN 65) made final port calls in the Mediterranean this week. On December 1, the Navy’s aircraft carrier fleet will be reduced from 11 to 10, with the "inactivation ceremony" for the Enterprise in Norfolk, Va.

The debate over the right number of carriers in the fleet has surfaced in the presidential race, as Mitt Romney has called for incresaed shipbuilding and for an additional carrier to be stationed in the Middle East as a show of force to Iran.  Earlier this month, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey said that an 11-carrier fleet was the right size for the Navy. For now, 10 will have to do. It will be several years before the newest carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford is ready for prime time. That ship, CVN 78, is not scheduled to be delivered to the Navy until 2015.

Kevin Baron is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy, covering defense and military issues in Washington. He is also vice president of the Pentagon Press Association. Baron previously was a national security staff writer for National Journal, covering the "business of war." Prior to that, Baron worked in the resident daily Pentagon press corps as a reporter/photographer for Stars and Stripes. For three years with Stripes, Baron covered the building and traveled overseas extensively with the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, covering official visits to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Middle East and Europe, China, Japan and South Korea, in more than a dozen countries. From 2004 to 2009, Baron was the Boston Globe Washington bureau's investigative projects reporter, covering defense, international affairs, lobbying and other issues. Before that, he muckraked at the Center for Public Integrity. Baron has reported on assignment from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the South Pacific. He was won two Polk Awards, among other honors. He has a B.A. in international studies from the University of Richmond and M.A. in media and public affairs from George Washington University. Originally from Orlando, Fla., Baron has lived in the Washington area since 1998 and currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, three sons, and the family dog, The Edge. Twitter: @FPBaron

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