On Dec. 1, Navy Chief Petty Officer Christopher M. Royael, son of Claudia and Art Royael of Clearwater, along with almost 12,000 past and current crew members, attended the inactivation of aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65), the world's first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
Also in attendance were the chief of naval operations, the commander of U.S. Fleet Forces, nine of 23 prior commanding officers and many decorated war heroes.
The ceremony took place in the carrier's home port of Naval Station Norfolk and served as a celebration of life for the ship and the more than 100,000 sailors who served aboard.
In a video message played at the ceremony, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced that the name Enterprise will live on as he officially passed the name to CVN-80, the third Ford-class carrier and the ninth ship in the Navy to bear the name.
Commissioned Nov. 25, 1961, the USS Enterprise has served in nearly every major conflict to take place during its history.
Royael is a 1997 graduate of Clearwater High and joined the Navy in August 2000.