The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 arrived at Naval Station Norfolk, Aug. 7, concluding an eight-month deployment to the U.S. Navy’s 5th, 6th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility.
While deployed, aircraft assigned to CVW-2 flew more than 11,000 sorties totaling in excess of 32,000 flight hours, including more than 2,400 combat sorties and more than 14,000 hours flown in support of U.S. and coalition ground forces supporting Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).
Since leaving in December, the ship sailed more than 72,000 miles during its 245 days deployed, including 105 days in the Arabian Sea supporting OEF.
“The men and women of Lincoln and the embarked commands have done a remarkable job throughout this twice-extended deployment,” said Rear Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9. “Now that we’re home, each and every one of us is very excited and more than ready to see our families and friends again.”
Upon her arrival in Norfolk, Lincoln is scheduled to undergo a four-year refueling complex overhaul (RCOH) in-port maintenance period. During the RCOH period, workers will refuel Lincoln’s nuclear reactors, upgrade and modernize the ship’s combat and communication systems, and overhaul the hull, mechanical and electrical systems.
“I am incredibly proud of our Sailors,” said Capt. John D. Alexander, Lincoln’s commanding officer. “They have performed admirably for months on end, and they have done so with huge smiles on their faces. I am enormously proud of each and every Abe Sailor for their contributions to national security. They’re great Americans, one and all.”
Alexander added that the in-port period comes at the perfect time for the ship’s crew.
“After two deployments in a little less than two years, the Abraham Lincoln crew is very happy to be in our new homeport and ready to spend time with family and friends,” he said.
Lincoln departed Naval Station Everett, Wash., her home since January 1997, in December 2011 for a scheduled change-of-homeport deployment to Virginia for a four-year RCOH in Newport News, Va. After operational requirements added two extensions and three months to the ship’s deployment schedule, Big Abe pulled into port following eight months at sea.
“I’m excited about the homeport change,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class Sheila Seripap. “I loved living in Everett, but it will be interesting to call somewhere else home. One of the biggest advantages of the Navy lifestyle is getting to experience living in different parts of the country and the world.”
While deployed, Lincoln visited several foreign ports, including Pattaya, Thailand; Manama, Bahrain; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; and Antalya, Turkey.
“To be able to tell people I’ve literally been around the world is something I’ll be able to take with me for the rest of my life,” said Seaman Anton Schafer. “Coming from a small town, I never thought I’d get to see and do some of the things I did. I’m glad I’ll be able to share this experience with my friends and family in the years to come.”
Lincoln deployed as the flagship for CSG 9, which is also comprised of CVW-2, guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and Destroyer Squadron 9, composed of guided-missile destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).
Naval Today Staff, August 8, 2012; Image: US Navy