USS ENTERPRISE, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65) are scheduled to visit Piraeus, Greece, March 28 on their first port visit of the ship's 22nd and final deployment.
The visit will mark the first time Enterprise has visited the port since March of 1963, during the carrier's second deployment.
Crew members aboard the historic ship during her sophomore cruise, enjoyed a liberty call at Piraeus prior to an amphibious landing exercise at Timbakion, Crete.
"I was a crew member aboard Enterprise when she made her voyage to Greece," said Bill Micklos, a former chief aviation boatswain's mate who served aboard Enterprise during the first Piraeus visit. "Her primary mission then, was to show the flag."
In the half century since Enterprise's first visit to Greece, the crew has changed many times over, but the presence of the nation's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier remains as striking as ever, said Enterprise's Command Master Chief Eric J. Young.
"Enterprise is a very symbolic ship," he said. "It is a ship with a legacy. I think that it is in keeping with the Enterprise spirit that we should pull in to Piraeus as kind of a tip of the hat 'goodbye' to our friends who welcomed us on our second voyage."
This may be Enterprise's final scheduled deployment, but for many Sailors currently aboard Enterprise, this underway is a first. These Sailors see the visit to Piraeus as an opportunity to be a part of history.
"This is my first deployment and I'm thoroughly excited," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Handling) Airman Apprentice Doug W. Meyers. "Greece should be a great time. It's always great to experience a different culture and be a part of the Enterprise legacy. This is one of the main reasons that I joined the Navy."
As was the case when Enterprise first visited Piraeus in 1963, the port offers Sailors an opportunity to enjoy themselves after weeks of hard work at sea. The work, however, is not done when the ship moors.
"Liberty is a mission," said Young. "Each and every member of the Enterprise Strike Group is an ambassador of goodwill for the United States, the Navy and Enterprise. Enjoy the chance to see Greece, embrace the history and culture, and help reaffirm our friendship with the people of Piraeus...a friendship that our shipmates began long ago."
After 50 years of service, steeped in history, Enterprise has become a staple of U.S. maritime power and dominance. Although this may be the last hurrah for the world's the legendary carrier, her name strikes a chord of pride among those who served on her long ago and those currently aboard.
"Though I have been fortunate to serve aboard other magnificent carriers, 'Enterprise' will always be a name associated with the word, 'honor,'" said Micklos.
Current Enterprise Sailors are expected to continue that tradition during the carrier's return to Piraeus.
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