||Simon & Schuster
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In the tidal flats of the Hackensack River rested a warship waiting to die. She was the most honored man-o'-war in her nation's history. In the spring of 1958, however, USS Enterprise (CV-6) was just one more project in a long line of structures due for dismembering. Lipsett Incorporated was vastly experienced in demolition. Among its credits were dismantling New York City's Second Avenue and Third Avenue elevated lines, as well as many previous ships. An obsolete aircraft carrier, Enterprise had been stricken from the Navy's register in October 1956 and purchased for scrap. Lipsett reckoned that it could turn the half-million-dollar acquisition into a profit by rendering the ship's components into salvageable materials. The carrier's distinctive tripod mast had been removed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, toppling onto the flight deck so she could clear the East River bridges en route to the Kearny, New Jersey, execution site. Propelled by tugs, Enterprise's final journey had taken her past Brooklyn Heights and Governors Island, southwesterly into Upper Bay, thence across to Jersey. Despite the foggy weather, thousands of people and scores of small craft had turned out to witness her dolorous trek. Now, riding easily alongside Lipsett's pier, Enterprise was still intact, her cavernous hangar deck empty of men and aircraft. Only the large scoreboard depicting her wartime tally reminded visitors of what she had been, where she had sailed, and what she had done. She was already thoroughly demilitarized: her last aircraft gone since 1945; her antiaircraft batteries removed; her communications and radar equipment stripped away.