USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) is America's fifth Nimitz class carrier. The ship was named in honor of the nation's sixteenth president and is the second ship of the line to bear the name. The keel was laid on Nov. 3, 1984, at Newport News, VA. Four years later, the ship was christened and began a series of performance trials leading up to commissioning on Nov. 11, 1989, in Norfolk, Va.
After completing shakedown and acceptance trials, Lincoln departed Norfolk in September 1990 to complete an inter-fleet transfer from the Atlantic to Pacific Fleet. To change fleets, the ship completed an "around the horn" transit of South America and participated in multilateral training exercises with the navies and air forces of several South American countries, including Brazil, Argentina, Chili and Uruguay. These highly successful operations, involving both air and surface units, were significant for their complexity and unique professional training, which firmly established Lincoln's reputation for excellence.
On May 28, 1991, Lincoln set sail on its maiden Western Pacific (WestPac) deployment, nearly four months ahead of its originally scheduled date in response to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. While en route to the Indian Ocean, Lincoln was diverted to support evacuation operations in the Philippines. The operation, Operation Fiery Vigil, became the largest peacetime evacuation of active-duty military and family members in history. Lincoln led a 23-ship armada that sea lifted nearly 20,000 evacuees from the naval station at Subic Bay. The ship moved nearly 4,500 people from Subic Bay to Cebu Island, Philippines.
With Operation Fiery Vigil, complete, Lincoln took up station in the Arabian Gulf in support of allied and U.S. troops remaining in the region for Operation Desert Storm. Lincoln's air wing, CVW-11, provided nearly continuous combat air patrol, reconnaissance and support air operations over Kuwait and Iraq. Lincoln remained in the Gulf for more than three months, on alert for contingencies. After returning from WestPac in November 1991, Lincoln spent much of early 1992 in a Selected Restricted Availability (SRA) at Naval Air Station Alameda, CA
In the latter part of the year, Lincoln began work-up training operations for a second WestPac. Lincoln spent the better part of a year preparing for the deployment and then departed Alameda on June 15, 1993. After a port visit to Hong Kong, Lincoln returned to the Arabian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch, the UN sanctioned enforcement of a "no-fly" zone over Southern Iraq.
On Oct. 8, Lincoln departed the gulf at flank speed headed for Somalia to assist United Nations humanitarian operations there, as directed by President Clinton. The carrier spent four weeks flying patrols over the city of Mogadishu and surrounding areas, backing UN ground troops during Operation Continue Hope.
Lincoln’s crew celebrated an age old traditional "Crossing the Line" on Nov. 12, just prior to enjoying a four day visit to Perth, Australia. The Marine detachment performed a sunset review onboard Lincoln on Dec. 7, 1993 during a three day port visit, the last stop before returning to Alameda on Dec. 16, 1993. During the transit from Hawaii, family members and friends were able to embark for a Tiger cruise.
After returning from deployment, Lincoln spent several months in SRA, refurbishing the ship and onboard equipment. Work-ups preparing the ship and air wing for the next deployment started in earnest in June 1994 and continued until early 1995. Part of the refurbishment included installing privacy bulkheads prior to integration of women into the crew in the spring of 1995. Lincoln was the first West Coast aircraft carrier to integrate women.
April 11, 1995, Lincoln departed on its third WestPac deployment. The ship made port visits in Hong Kong (May 5 - 9) and Singapore (May 14 - 19), before entering the Arabian Gulf May 26, 1995. The crew made port visits to Jebel-Ali, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), four times during the first two months in the gulf. In response to renewed Iraqi military posturing, the Lincoln Battle group was required to remain in the Arabian Gulf to participate in Operation Vigilant Sentinel. With plans to visit Australia dashed, the ship visited Jebel-Ali one more time before departing the Arabian Gulf on Sept. 11, 1995. The Lincoln took on family members and friends in Hawii for a Tiger Cruise home, arriving in Alameda, CA Oct. 10, 1995.
The Lincoln gave the crew a much need rest during a post deployment stand down Oct. 10 - Nov. 6, 1995. Then the Commanding Officer began a "Noah’s Ark" cruise, bringing family members, vehicles and pets aboard ship for the transit to a new homeport, Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash, arriving Nov. 18, 1995.
During an Extended Drydock Selected Restricted Availability (EDSRA), the Lincoln crew, shipyard workers and contractors conducted need repairs to various systems throughout the ship. Lincoln entered drydock Jan. 8, 1996 to begin its first major overhaul since commissioning. Four Lincoln Sailors saved a local civilian from drowning in a nearby lake. In July, the flight deck non-skid is renewed and 536,010 gallons of JP-5 is on-loaded in preparation for leaving drydock.
On Aug. 8, Lincoln moved out of drydock to Pier Bravo, PSNS, eight days ahead of schedule. The ship completed $200 million in repairs, modifications, systems upgrades and general improvements before conducting Sea Trials to test the integrity of the work Nov. 30 - Dec. 6, 1996, four weeks ahead of schedule.
More than 2,000 guests accompanied the ship to its new homeport, Naval Station Everett, Wash., Jan. 8, 1997. The Command Career Counselors received "The Golden Anchor" for career counseling excellence in 1996 during the transit.
The ship conducted carrier qualifications (CQ) and conducted general shipboard training, in a preparation for workups for a deployment in 1998.
During spring operations, many distinguished visitors from the Chinese Navy embarked the ship, including the Chief of Chinese Naval Operations.
A Lincoln Tiger cruise was held Aug. 4. More than 3,000 guests were treated to a short cruise in the Puget Sound, including carrier flight operations demonstration, steel beach picnic in the hangar bay, self-guided tours of the ship and an opportunity to experience the anticipated thrill of hearing "Moored, shift colors." On Aug. 5, Abraham Lincoln participated in the Seattle Sea Fair celebration by taking a day cruise into Elliott Bay while hosting area dignitaries and other high ranking officials. On Sept. 11, 1997, Lincoln pulled into San Francisco bay for the first time in almost two years to conduct an air power demonstration as part of the Fleet Week celebration there. The Blue Angels performed a show over the Bay within view of the city and the crew of the ship. After several hours, the ship departed at flank speed heading for homeport after several weeks of CQ and training. During its longest underway period (40 days) since WestPac ‘95, Lincoln conducted almost continuous flight operations, loaded 4,000,000 lbs of material and ammunition, successfully completed nearly every phase of "Ready Carrier" qualifications and gave 100's of distinguished visitors, including 40 Admirals and Generals, an opportunity to see what their hard earned tax dollars are being spent on.
After another underway period, Lincoln returned to Everett Dec. 20, 1997 just in time for the holidays.
In June 1998, Abraham Lincoln commenced her fourth deployment, spending three months in the Arabian Gulf during the hottest summer on record. Apparent temperatures on the flight deck at midday sometimes reached 150 degrees Fahrenheit! Port visits enroute to the Gulf included Hong Kong and Singapore. After several visits to Jebel Ali, UAE, between Operation Southern Watch missions, Abe headed home by way of Perth, Australia, Hobart, Tasmania, and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, arriving in Everett before the Christmas holiday.
Following a well-deserved break, the ship visited Santa Barbara, California and Victoria, British Columbia, then commenced a six-month Planned Incremental Availability (PIA) in Bremerton, Washington in April 1999. After completion of the PIA in September 1999, Abe participated in Fleet Week ’99 in San Francisco, California. The crew then began a nine- month Inter-Deployment Training Cycle (IDTC) during which the ship revisited Santa Barbara and Victoria before participating in RIMPAC 2000, a multi-national exercise conducted off the Hawaiian Islands. RIMPAC completed the IDTC and prepared the ship for WESTPAC 2000, a major deployment to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf.
During deployment, the ship spent more than 100 days on station supporting Operation Southern Watch and maritime interception operations. For their performance, the carrier, air wing and battle group ships earned the Navy Meritorius Unit Commendation. Additionally the ship earned the prestigious Arleigh Burke Award as the most improved command in the Pacific Fleet.
In April of 2001, the ship moved to Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for a scheduled six month Planned Incremental Availability. After completing PIA in October, Abraham Lincoln began workup exercises for its next deployment on which the carrier departed on July 20, 2002.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN operated in the Arabian Gulf and was initially scheduled to return home on January 20, 2003, but the Battle Group - while already underway home - was ordered to remain in the Gulf area to be able to participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom which started in March.
After more than 9 months at sea, ABRAHAM LINCOLN and the Battle Group finally returned home to the US in early May 2003. On June 24, the carrier entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Bremerton, Wash., for a 10-month DPIA (Drydocking Planned Incremental Availability). Work was completed in May 2004.
On October 15, 2004, the ABRAHAM LINCOLN left Everett, Wash., on a four-month deployment to the Western Pacific. During the carrier's port visit to Hong Kong December 24 - 27, word was received that a disastrous Tsunami hit the coast lines of Thailand, Indonesia, India, and the Maledives. The ABRAHAM LINCOLN was ordered to proceed to the waters off Thailand and Indonesia where her embarked helicopters of HS-2 and HSL-47 were used to distribute food, medicine and other urgently needed goods. on March 4, 2005, the LINCOLN returned home to Everett, Wash.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN departed its homeport of Everett, Wash., for her 2006 WESTPAC on February 27, stopping in San Diego to load the personnel and equipment of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 before heading west. The ship and air wing participated in Operation Foal Eagle in the South China Sea before making its first port call of the deployment in Hong Kong April 6.
Upon leaving Hong Kong, ABRAHAM LINCOLN participated in a Passing Exercise (PASSEX) with the Royal Thai Navy and hosted the U.S. ambassador to Thailand, as well as many Thai distinguished visitors aboard during the brief underway period between the Hong Kong and Thailand port visits, before becoming the first aircraft carrier to moor pierside in Laemb Chebang, Thailand.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN proceeded to Singapore for another port visit before conducting freedom of navigation exercises and a PASSEX in the Java Sea. During the time the carriern sailed in the Java Sea, the U.S. ambassador to Indonesia and several Indonesian officials flew out to the ship to once again thank the crew for their efforts to provide humanitarian assistance during Operation Unified Assistance in the aftermath of the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami disaster.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN then sailed north to participate in PASSEX and training exercises with the Japanese Maritime Defense Force before conducting a port call in Sasebo, Japan.
The carrier sailed on to the Guam operating area to participate in Exercise Valiant Shield 2006. Valiant Shield was the first exercise in more than a decade to employ three carrier strike groups, as ABRAHAM LINCOLN joined USS KITTY HAWK (CV 63) and USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76). The joint services exercise showcased the United States’ dedication to preserving security in the Pacific region, and its joint warfighting capabilities.
At the end of Valiant Shield, ABRAHAM LINCOLN pulled in to Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, to enjoy the 4th of July holiday weekend, and to kick off Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2006. RIMPAC is a multinational exercise including the navies of Chile, Peru, Great Britain, Australia, Japan and South Korea. The month-long exercise was designed to continue the close relationships between U.S. forces and those of the participating nations.
After a final port call in Hawaii, ABRAHAM LINCOLN headed for San Diego and then toward home, arriving in Everett, Wash, on August 8, 2006.
During this Western Pacific deployment, the aviation boatswain’s mates (fuels) of ABRAHAM LINCOLN’s air department, V-4 division set a new record, handling 27,559,818 gallons of JP-5 fuel during 13 underway replenishments. The aircraft of CVW-2 flew 7,871 sorties, with a total of 7,578 catapult launches from the flight deck and the ship safely navigated more than 41,000 nautical miles during the deployment.
On August 29, 2006, the ABRAHAM LINCOLN entered the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard for a 10-month Drydock Planned Incremental Availability (DPIA) which was finished in late June 2007. After successful sea trials, the aircraft carrier conducted carrier qualifications off southern California in July.
From October 18 - November 16, 2007, took part in a Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX) off the coast of southern California in preparation of her upcoming deployment. The final step towards the deployment was completed in February 2008 with LINCOLN's participation in a Joint Task Force Exercise.
On March 13, 2008, ABRAHAM LINCOLN departed her homeport of Everett, Wash., for a scheduled deployment to the 5th fleet area of operations. After stops in San Diego, Calif., and Pearl Harbor, Hi., the carrier continued westbound. After successfully completing operations with the 5th fleet where sailors enjoyed port visits in the Persian Gulf region, LINCOLN sailed to the US 7th fleet area of responsibility and participated in 16 community relations projects with 400 volunteers, contributing more than 2,000 hours to communities in Singapore and Thailand.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN returned home on October 12, 2008. The total distance steamed during deployment was 58,370 miles, or approximately 2.3 times around the world. Electrical power generated during deployment totaled 52,000 megawatt hours, enough to power the entire downtown Seattle network for roughly two weeks. Fresh water produced totaled 58,240 gallons, enough to support more than 1 million showers for crew personnel. Embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 flew approximately 7,100 sorties - including 2,307 combat sorties, providing more than 22,000 flight hours - and dropped 255,963 pounds of ordnance.