The ‘Big E’ comes home for the last time

By Mike Hixenbaugh
The Virginian-Pilot
© November 4, 2012


This massive ship was covered in red lead paint and sitting on a dry dock in Newport News the first time Ray Godfrey laid eyes on it.

The sailor was a 21-year-old high school drop out.

Now 73, Godfrey teared up Sunday while standing on the bridge of the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier as he watched a young helmsman steer the Enterprise toward its final homecoming.

From the tower, Godfrey looked down on thousands of cheering family members who had arrived hours earlier at Pier 12 at Norfolk Naval Station to welcome the ship and its crew home after an eight-month deployment – the ship’s 25th and final.

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