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Abraham Lincoln

 

Abraham Lincoln, born on 12 February 1809, near Hodgenville, Kentucky, where he lived until the age of seven. At that time, his family moved to southwestern Indiana where they resided until 1830.

 

 

Abraham Lincoln as he appeared as the Civil War took its toll. The celebrated photographer Matthew B. Brady captured this image of the embittered President on 8 January 1864.  Library of Congress: LC-B816-1321.

Five months before he received the Republican Party’s nomination for President, Lincoln discussed his life, and noted concerning his childhood: “I was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin Count y, Kentucky. My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families – second families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year, was of a family of the name of Hanks…My father…removed from Kentucky to… Indiana, in my eighth year…It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods. There I grew up…Of course when I came of age I did not know much. Still somehow, I could read, write, and cipher…but that was all.”

 

During the sojourn in Indiana, Lincoln made a trip down the Mississippi to New Orleans, Louisiana, an experience that probably gave him his first actual experience as a man with slavery. In 1830, Lincoln moved to Illinois with his father’s family but struck out on his own the following year. He hired on for another flatboat trip to New Orleans, and, upon his return, the promoter offered Lincoln work in his store and mill in New Salem, Illinois.

 

Both businesses, however, failed within the year. Meanwhile, as Lincoln’s livelihood became precarious, a dynamic Native American leader known as Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak (Black Hawk), a man of exceptional martial prowess who gained battlefield experience fighting alongside Shawnee chief Tecumseh during the War of 1812, rose to prominence among the Fox and Sac Indians.

 

These Native Americans had lost their Illinois lands in a disputed treaty signed in St. Louis in 1804. Black Hawk became determined to redress the wrongs which he felt that settlers committed against his people, and later repudiated what he considered to be the deception of the whites involved in orchestrating the treaty and the subsequent settlement of tribal lands, saying in part that he “touched the goose quill to the treaty–not knowing…that, by that act, I consented to give away my village. Had that been explained to me, I should have opposed it.” In April and May of 1832, he led a band of perhaps a thousand disgruntled Fox and Sac out of the Iowa territory back to their former homes across the Mississippi River in northern Illinois.

 

The return of the Indians to these lands sparked widespread panic among settlers. “The country is in a dreadful situation,” Sarah Bracken, a settler, wrote to her niece, Mary J. McKown, in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, “no business of any kind going on, no crop making, the people all in garrison, a great many murders perpetrated, and distress of every kind that can be imagined.” Bracken fled from Wisconsin to Cynthiana, Kentucky.

 

Illinois Governor John Reynolds responded to the fears of people living along the frontier by calling up militia to “repel the invasion.” About 1,600 men, including a young Lincoln, mustered with General Edmund P. Gaines, the commander of the Army’s Western Department and a veteran of battles against Creeks and Seminoles, and a force of regulars under his command. Lincoln joined a local militia company, the 1st Regiment of the Brigade of Mounted Volunteers, and his personal popularity and easy manner won him election to the office of captain.  What would prove to be Lincoln’s lone opportunity for military distinction came to naught, however, as he later humbly noted that during the ensuing four month long war he endured only “a good many bloody struggles with the musquitoes [sic].”

 

Lincoln returned to New Salem, where he delved into several occupations, including postmaster, surveyor and store owner. Although he had only attained barely a year of formal schooling, he decided upon the seemingly unlikely choice to pursue the profession of law. As a youth, however, he had learned to read and write, and to work through arithmetic, and Lincoln became an avid reader.

 

In addition, the study of law in the early 19th century could be rather informal in general, and admission to the bar on the frontier even more so. Lincoln acquired a license to practice law on 9 September 1836. He moved to Springfield, Illinois, the next year and entered into a partnership with John T. Stuart, a friend and legal and political mentor.

 

His interest in politics had predated his legal career and provided some of the stimulus toward his choice. Lincoln unsuccessfully bid for a seat in the state legislature soon after he returned from the war. In 1834, however, he succeeded, and the people of Illinois reelected him in 1836, 1838, and 1840. He became active in state Whig leadership, the party’s candidate for speaker twice and (despite defeat), served effectively as the Whig floor leader.

 

Lincoln married Mary Todd, a daughter of Eliza Parker and Robert S. Todd, pioneer settlers of Kentucky, on 4 November 1842. A childhood friend remembered her as vivacious and impulsive, though noted that “she now and then could not restrain a witty, sarcastic speech that cut deeper than she intended…” Although their union became a stormy one marked by tensions and gossip, they produced four boys, but tragically, only one lived to maturity.

 

During this period of his life Lincoln’s misgivings concerning slavery grew, and although he did not become a zealous Abolitionist, he became dedicated to eradicating slavery. In 1846, he ran for the United States House of Representatives, defeating his Democratic opponent. Peter Cartwright. In Congress, he opposed the war brewing with the Mexicans but recognized the need for unity to win, and voted for necessary appropriations. Many of the frontiersmen who had voted for Lincoln supported the war, however, and they did not reelect him in 1848.

 

Following the war Lincoln worked determinedly for the Whig candidate, General Zachary Taylor, known to soldiers as “Old Rough and Ready.” Lincoln sought a position as the commissioner of the General Land Office, however, after Taylor became the 12th president, his administration refused to appoint Lincoln to the post.

 

The ambitious Lincoln declined offers of less prominent offices in the Oregon territory and resumed practicing law in Illinois, and some of his cases went before federal courts and up to the Illinois Supreme Court, which enhanced Lincoln’s reputation. During this time he stepped away somewhat from the political spectrum and pursued legal cases.

 

In the interim, Stephen A. Douglas pushed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854, which destroyed the Missouri Comprise and the Comprise reached four years earlier by allowing slavery in areas of the Louisiana Purchase previously closed to the institution. Lincoln supported a movement toward ‘free soil,’ sought the Whig nomination for the United States Senate.

 

Within a year, however, he switched parties and embraced a combination of antislavery factions that became the Republicans. Although he failed to gain a seat in the Senate seat in 1858, Lincoln participated in a series of debates with his Democratic opponent, Douglas, that propelled him toward national prominence as an opponent of slavery. His reputation, and availability after his loss in the Senatorial effort, gained Lincoln the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 1860.

 

The brief Constitutional Union Party placed four candidates before the American people in 1860, and Lincoln became the nation’s 16th president with a plurality of 40 percent of the votes cast. “In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war,” Lincoln addressed southerners. “The government will not assail you…You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it.”

 

His success alarmed many southerners, however, who perceived that they would lose control of the government. Within two months seven states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas) left the Union out of fear that leaders hostile to them would seize power in Washington.

 

Lincoln persevered in his unwavering commitment to preserve the Union and attempted to persuade the southerners to remain within the Republic, but they formed the Confederate States of America. On 12 April 1861, South Carolinians fired upon Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, which capitulated the next day. Two days later, Lincoln declared a state of insurrection and called for volunteers to crush the rebellion. Arkansas, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia promptly seceded.

 

The President’s guiding principle throughout the terrible conflict became the restoration of unity, and only when persuasion failed did he turn to battle. As the nation disintegrated Lincoln turned to the commander of the Army, General Winfield Scott, known to many soldiers as “Old Fuss and Feathers.” Scott suggested a three-pronged strategy to defeat the southerners that became famous as his ‘Anaconda Plan’:

 

  1. Create and field a large army near Washington to defend the capital and to contain the principal Confederate forces.
  2. Blockade the South.
  3. Thrust up the Mississippi River and split the Confederates in two.

 

Lincoln demonstrated firm leadership, innovation and integrity concerning naval operations and following Scott’s counsel proclaimed a blockade of the Confederacy only six days after the fall of Fort Sumter. The South was dependant upon maritime trade, and Lincoln’s personal interest and intervention spurred planners to orchestrate a blockade of the Confederacy that ultimately proved successful in choking the South.

 

Combined with victories ashore, the blockade gradually deprived the South of access to foreign markets where southerners could trade wares for vital munitions, and prevented blockade runners from penetrating southern inlets and ports past blockaders to unload their crucial cargoes. In addition, Europeans developed alternate markets for key southern products such as cotton, to compensate for the reduction in trade.

Although the Fleet operated somewhat dispersed, the Confederates seized key naval stations and ships from the outset, including the Navy Yard at Norfolk, Virginia. Despite northern sabotage the southerners seized some vessels and shops, and gained an advantage that forced northerners to build a huge fleet virtually from scratch. To partially offset their lack of numbers, the rebels developed a fleet of ironclads, and both combatants pressed merchant ships into naval use.

The northerners required deep water ships to enforce their coastal blockade and flotillas of river vessels to press up the great rivers of the South to cut the Confederacy. In addition, they belatedly considered ironclads as viable warships and enlisted the aid of a brilliant designer, John Ericsson, who devised and built ironclad Monitor during the Civil War, just in time for her to engage Confederate ironclad ram CSS Virginia (former U.S. screw frigate Merrimack) on Sunday 9 March 1862. Virginia had wreaked havoc with wooden-hulled Union blockaders the day before; however, the two ships fiercely pounded each other in history’s first battle between powered ironclad ships. Although the battle proved inconclusive in breaking the North’s blockade, the fight revolutionized naval warfare.

 

In addition, Lincoln’s interest in naval artillery directed him to encourage John A. Dahlgren, a gifted ordnance designer, to the Washington Navy Yard and locations around the capital, where Dahlgren labored in the development of artillery that provided decisive for Union fortunes.

 

The President also supported naval aviation in the infancy of the service. Thaddeus Lowe approached Lincoln with the idea of establishing a corps of observation balloons. The Navy purchased George Washington Parke Custis, a coal barge built in the mid-1850s, in August 1861. Her name appropriately honored Lincoln’s father-in-law, the son of John P. Custis, George Washington’s stepson, and the father-in-law of General Robert E. Lee. Lowe fitted her out with a gas-generating apparatus that he developed and which Dahlgren modified at the Washington Navy Yard, for service as what they termed “a balloon boat.”

 

Early in the morning of 10 November 1861, steamer Coeur de Lion towed George Washington Parke Custis out of the yard and down the Potomac River. The next day Lowe, accompanied by an entourage led by General Daniel E. Sickles, ascended in his trial balloon from the barge off Mattawomen Creek to observe Confederate troops on the Virginia shore several miles away.

 

Two days later Lowe reported: “We had a fine view of the enemy camp fires during the evening and saw the rebels constructing batteries at Freestone Point.” This operation and John La Mountain’s earlier ascension from vessel Fanny began the widespread use of balloons for reconnaissance work during the Civil War.

 

Meanwhile, abolitionists pressured the President to address the issue of slavery. He initially avoided deciding against the abominable institution, due to rival factions on both sides of the controversy; however, the Congress passed the Second Confiscation Act on 17 July 1862, which freed the slaves held by people in rebellion against the Union. The act served as a catalyst and revealed growing public support for action.

 

The President prepared a Preliminary Proclamation and read the initial draft to Secretary of State William H. Seward and Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, on 13 July 1862. The draft stunned the men, and Seward rightly considered that such a proclamation would sow discord across the South.

 

Undaunted, Lincoln presented his proclamation to the cabinet nine days later. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton also discerned that the edict would disrupt the Confederates, however, he foresaw some advantageous aspects for Northern fortunes, including removing many slaves from Southern owners and encouraging the fugitives to seek asylum within Union lines. Although the remaining men became largely divided upon the merits of the decree, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase also supported the President. The cabinet met again on 22 September 1862, and agreed (in substance) upon the final refinements to the draft, and the President composed the actual announcement as the nation entered the third bloody year of the Civil War, on 1 January 1863.

 

Although critics derided the proclamation for only addressing the issues of slaves held by their owners within seceding states, and did not apply to border states or regions which Northern troops had already occupied, the proclamation stated “that all persons held as slaves” within the seceding states, “are, and henceforward shall be free.” The proclamation electrified African Americans on both sides of the front lines, and increasing numbers took up arms with the North until almost 200,000 black sailors and soldiers had fought to preserve the Republic and free their brethren by the end of the war. The proclamation provided a strong moral argument to the Northern cause, and solidified support of abolitionists for Lincoln, although some reactionaries and Southern sympathizers saw the President’s actions as a direct attack against their way of life.

 

For three decisive days in July 1863, tens of thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers fought across the fields and woods surrounding Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. General George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac turned back General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia during this, the arguably bloodiest (over 51,000 men were killed, wounded or captured) and most decisive battle of the war.

 

Four months later Lincoln participated in the dedication of a cemetery to the manifold fallen at the battlefield, on 19 November 1863. The President delivered a brief speech of barely two minutes following Pastor Edward Everett, a renowned orator who held forth for almost three hours.

 

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” Lincoln began as he tackled the essence of the struggle between the states, of the reasons why the American people needed to continue the carnage through to a dénouement of unity, of victory that would heal a divided house and restore the Republic. And the sacrifice of the fallen determined his conclusion: “…From these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.”

 

Lincoln suffered a loss of popularity during the political campaign of 1864 but managed to win reelection. On 22 August of that year the President addressed a group of soldiers from the 166th Ohio Regiment on the lawn of the White House:

 

“…It is in order that each of you may have through this free government which we have enjoyed, an open field and a fair chance for your industry, enterprise and intelligence; that you may all have equal privileges in the race of life, with all its desirable human aspirations. It is for this the struggle should be maintained, that we may not lose our birthright – not only for one, but for two or three years. The nation is worth fighting for, to secure such an inestimable jewel.”

 

His wife Mary’s sojourn in the White House proved to be as equally tempestuous as their previous years together. The First Lady believed herself (with some justification) widely misunderstood. She spent lavishly to furnish the White House and to entertain guests, which generated resentment among critics who accused her of a lack of patriotism, however, when she curtailed spending after her son Willie died in 1862, critics charged her with failing to fulfill social duties. Southerners scorned her as a traitor to her birth, while northerners suspected her of southern sympathies. Yet the President stood loyally by her side throughout these trials, and commented contentedly as he observed Mrs. Lincoln charm guests during a White House reception: “My wife is as handsome as when she was a girl, and I…fell in love with her; and what is more, I have never fallen out.”

 

The people elected Lincoln to a second term, which he inaugurated on 4 March 1865. During his address, he shared a brief glimpse of his extraordinary magnanimity: “With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds.” The President intended to heal the nation’s wounds by preparing flexible and generous terms for southerners, and encouraged them to lay down their arms and join their northern brethren in rebuilding the country.

 

John Wilkes Booth, however, an actor who somehow thought that he would help the South by joining a conspiracy of southern extremists, shot Lincoln on Good Friday 14 April 1865, while the President attended the play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theater in Washington. Lincoln succumbed to his wound the following morning and was buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois, on 4 May 1865.

 

Lincoln’s assassination shattered his wife, who never recovered from his death. Although she traveled abroad with her son “Tad” in search of health, distorted ideas concerning her finances plagued her, and after Tad’s death in 1871, she slipped further into mental dissolution and obsessed over perceived poverty and murderous plots. She died in 1882 at her sister’s house in Springfield, Illinois, the same home where 40 years before she had married her beloved husband.

 

Aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) adopted Lincoln’s phrase “Shall not perish” as her motto.

 

Ship name number:  The second ship named Abraham Lincoln.

Specifications: displacement 97,000 (full load); length 1,040'; beam 134'; extreme width at flight deck 257'; draft 36.8' (full load); speed 30 + knots (two pressurized water nuclear reactors, four generators, quadruple screws, geared steam turbine type, two rudders); complement 2,904 (152 officers and 2,752 crew); armament: three octuple NATO Sea Sparrow Basic Point Defense Surface Missile System (BPDMS–one forward and two aft) with Guided Missile Control System Mk 115 with at least 24 RIM-7M Sparrows, Guided Missile Launching System Mk 25 and two 40 millimeter saluting guns, 85–90 aircraft, four flush deck C-13 Mod 2 steam catapults, and AN/SLQ-32(v)4 electronic countermeasures system.[i]

 

Built by: Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va.

Keel Date: 3 November 1984

Launched: 13 February 1988

Sponsor (Christened): JoAnn K. Webb, wife of former Secretary of the Navy James H. Webb, Jr.

Commissioned: 11 November 1989

Redesignated: (n/a)

Decommissioned: (n/a)

Recommissioning date: (n/a)

Strike Date: (n/a)

Final Disposition: (n/a)

 

 


Chronology and Significant Events:

 

21 Jan 1989: Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) shifted from Pier 1 to Pier 2 at Newport News.

 

17 Apr 1989: The crew began to move on board Abraham Lincoln.

 

1 May 1989: Sailors raised the ensign and union jack for the first time on board.

 

28 May 1989: Crewmembers held their first divine services within the ship, in Ready Room No. 3.

 

4 Jul 1989: The crew celebrated Independence Day by enabling No. 1 reactor to go critical for the first time.

 

10, 22 Jul; 18 Aug 1989: Men loaded 291 lifts of ammunition and ordnance weighing a total of 265.55 tons.

 

30 Jul 1989: The carrier accomplished her initial incline test.

 

7–12 Aug 1989: The ship conducted dock trials.

 

28–31 Aug 1989: Abraham Lincoln completed initial builder’s sea trials, returning to Pier 2 at Newport News.

 

11–14 Sep 1989: The ship completed her primary builder’s sea trials off the Virginia capes. Approximately 2,700 crewmembers and 1,000 civilian shipyard workers embarked during the trials, which included limited air operations as three Sikorsky SH-3H Sea Kings from Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS)-9, became the first helicopters to land on board. The first, piloted by Comdr. William S. Kordis, the squadron commanding officer, descended onto the flight deck with Vice Adm. John K. Ready, Commander Naval Air Force Atlantic Fleet, as a passenger (11 September). The carrier returned to Pier 2 at Newport News.

 

30 Oct 1989: Fourteen marines reported on board after transferring from aircraft carrier Coral Sea (CV-43), scheduled to decommission shortly (26 April 1990).

 

1 Nov 1989: First brow and pier security watch set for Abraham Lincoln, moored at Pier 12 at Naval Station (NS) Norfolk, Virginia. During the month the ship also steamed out for a brief sail and anchored at Whisky Anchorage.

 

3 Nov 1989: About 400 crewmembers of the duty section and their guests held a commissioning ball on board cruise boat Spirit of Norfolk.

 

4 Nov 1989: Approximately 2,700 people attended the ship’s commissioning ball at Virginia Beach Pavilion.

 

11 Nov 1989: Abraham Lincoln commissioned at Pier 12 at Norfolk, Capt. William B. Hayden, commanding. Distinguished guests among the crowd, estimated at 18,000 people, included Secretary of Defense Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of the Navy H. Lawrence Garrett, III, Adm. Carlisle H. Trost, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Vice Adm. Ready, Governor James R. Thompson of Illinois, and Edward J. Campbell, president and chief executive officer of Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. JoAnn K. Webb, wife of former Secretary of the Navy James H. Webb, Jr., sponsored the ship. “The mention of Abraham Lincoln evokes images of freedom in every American, and every citizen of the world who has tasted the sweet fruit of liberty,” Adm. Trost said. “The name Lincoln also evokes powerful images of strength and national resolve. This ship honors a man who led our country through its most bitter and divisive period.” The admiral entitled his remarks as a request to the ship and her crew to “Bring us victories.” Secretary Cheney addressed the crowd with additional sentiments: “Of course, [Abraham] Lincoln’s hope that the unalienable rights of the Declaration [of Independence] would some day be enjoyed in all nations means we first have to defend ourselves. But it also means more than that. Our global presence, the kind of presence that will be clearly demonstrated by this new carrier, is required if our obligation to the promise of universal natural rights is to be taken seriously.” Aircraft from Fighter Squadron (VF)-41, VF-84, Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA)-15, VFA-87, Attack Squadron (VA)-36, VA-65, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW)-124 and Air Antisubmarine Squadron (VS)-24 flew over the ship in a formation at 800 feet. The carrier had arrived 10 days earlier from Newport News.

 

12 Nov 1989: The crew conducted a ecumenical and baptism service in Hanger Bay 2.

 

13–18 Nov 1989: The ship underwent deperming (to reduce her vulnerability to magnetic mines) at the deperming crib at nearby Lambert’s Point.

 

28 Nov–15 Dec 1989: The carrier stood out of the channel for her shakedown cruise, principally to accomplish flight deck certification. After running the degaussing range while sailing out of the Norfolk area, she conducted antenna radiation testing and embarked five SH-3H Sea Kings from HS-17. Utilizing Mk-38 mini-mobile anti-submarine warfare targets, the helos flew the first submarine hunting operations from the ship. The embarkation of the helicopters also became providential when one of the Sea Kings performed the first medical evacuation from the ship while underway one Sunday morning. The aircraft took off within minutes with a sailor suffering from intestinal bleeding, and flew to Portsmouth (Va.) Naval Hospital, where the man recovered several days later. That week during evening hours, a false alarm man overboard call prompted the launch of two Sea Kings that searched for an hour and a half without spotting anyone in the water. Two musters yielded all hands accounted for. In addition, the ship accomplished over all combat system testing, and recorded her first catapult launch and recovery of fixed wing aircraft. Victory 201, a Grumman F-14A Tomcat from VF-84, however, temporarily assigned to the Naval Air Test Center (NATC) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Patuxent River, Md., Capt. William B. Hayden, Abraham Lincoln’s commanding officer, pilot, and Comdr. Charles K. Crandall, Jr., radar intercept officer, trapped on the No. 3 wire, and then launched to return ashore (1 December). Capt. John F. Manning, Jr., Commander Carrier Air Wing (CVW)-8, followed them almost immediately in a McDonnell Douglas F/A-18A Hornet from VFA-15. “Today we became a real aircraft carrier” Capt. Hayden proudly commented. “The launching and recovery of aircraft is what this business is all about.” Two days later inspectors declared the flight deck certified for aircraft operations. Crewmembers also held their first ship wide divine services on board, on the foc’sle, as well as the initial Orthodox Divine Liturgy, in the chapel. Abraham Lincoln rendezvoused with ammunition ship Suribachi (AE-21) for her first underway replenishment, which she accomplished using Boeing Vertol CH-46 Sea Knights that hauled 250 lifts over to the carrier (9 December). During this period crewmembers also conducted dynamic interface testing of two NATC Sikorsky SH-60F Seahawks, and assisted investigators in Grumman E-2C Hawkeye upgrade 2 testing (CNO project 760). In addition, Abraham Lincoln slid alongside Military Sealift Command (MSC)-operated oiler Leroy Grumman (T-AO-195) for her first refueling at sea, and took on 527,782 gallons of JP-5 fuel. The ship returned to Pier 12 South at Norfolk.

 

31 Dec 1989: Abraham Lincoln recorded 516 aircraft launches and recoveries through the end of the year.

 

4 Jan 1990: S-6 Division received their initial complement of aircraft engines in support of the first air wing flight operations.

 

19 Jan–14 Feb 1990: The ship completed another shakedown cruise, in Atlantic and Caribbean waters, during which she embarked CVW-8. Abraham Lincoln accomplished cyclic operations off the east coast and off the Puerto Rican Operations Area, including North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Sea Sparrow missile system certification, noise measurement testing and similar procedures. The crew established their initial logistics mobile beach detachment to support the ship’s first refresher training. The detachment deployed from NAS Jacksonville, Fla., to NAS Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, and then back to Jacksonville. Tomcats shot the initial imagery during missions from the ship utilizing Tactical Aerial Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS) film. The carrier offloaded ordnance to ammunition ship Butte (AE-27).

 

14–19 Feb 1990: Abraham Lincoln visited Port Everglades, Fla.; during that visit the ship also accomplished her first wing fly-off with all of the aircraft either fully or partially mission capable (16 February).

 

28 Feb–7 Mar 1990: During training and independent steaming exercises off the Virginia capes, the ship embarked CVW-11.

 

12–13 Mar 1990: Abraham Lincoln completed her final contract trials.

 

14 Mar–24 Jul 1990: The carrier conducted her post shakedown availability at Newport News. The ship floated out of drydock (5 June), and loaded ammunition pierside during the next month. Following these events, she stood out of the channel for a brief shakedown sail to determine the success of the work accomplished (23-24 July).

 

Aug 1990: Abraham Lincoln onloaded additional cargo from replenishment oiler Kalamazoo (AOR-6).

 

2 Aug 1990: Iraqi tanks and troops poured across the borders from Iraq into Kuwait as Saddam Hussein’s troops raped and looted helpless Kuwaitis; sailors on board guided missile frigate Robert G. Bradley (FFG-49), patrolling in the Persian Gulf barely 50 miles offshore, could hear the victims’ pleas for help via their bridge-to-bridge radio, “over and over again,” but restrictive rules of engagement constrained the crew until the U.S. responded by forming a coalition of 29 nations, that rushed reinforcements to the region during Operation Desert Shield, designed to protect the region from Iraqi aggression. “Saddam Hussein won the toss, “CAPT Lyle G. “Ho Chi” Bien, Commander, CVW-15, detailed to Central Command as the Navy’s senior strike planner, noted, “and elected to receive.” The Navy augmented the Red Sea Battle Group’s mission to include maritime interception operations to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 51, which imposed an embargo upon ships entering or leaving Iraqi-occupied Kuwaiti and Iraqi ports. The Iraqi invasion led to Operations Desert Shield/Storm/Sabre, the coalition’s efforts to liberate Kuwait.

 

29 Aug–24 Sep 1990: While the ship remained in port at Norfolk to complete upkeep preparatory to her passage around South America, Vice Adm. John H. Fetterman, Jr., Commander, Naval Air Force Pacific Fleet, visited (30 August). During this period the crew performed their largest onload of supplies to date to prepare for their extended voyage, that comprised over 1,000 pallets of stores, direct turn-over and squadron material. CVW-11 moved on board two days before they sailed (23 September).

 

25 Sep 1990: Abraham Lincoln set sail for a voyage around South America as she shifted home ports from Norfolk to NAS Alameda, Calif.. Sailors draped banners that read “California or bust” and “Made in Va.” across her fantail. Guided missile frigate Doyle (FFG-39) escorted the carrier. Abraham Lincoln’s crew trained extensively throughout the cruise, and conducted many carrier qualifications. Sailors and marines also accomplished exercises with both U.S. and allied forces including the Argentineans, Brazilians, Chileans, Peruvians and Uruguayans. Aircraft embarked from CVW-8, CVW-11 and Carrier Air Wing Reserve (CVWR)-30. Some 130 Training and Administration of the Naval Reserve (TARs) and 35 Selected Reserve sailors from VFA-303 and VFA-305 manned six reserve Hornets for the sail.

 

28–30 Sep 1990: While the carrier sailed through the Puerto Rican Operations Area, aircraft completed a missile exercise.

 

1–3 Oct 1990: The ship visited St. Thomas,Virgin Islands, where she onloaded stores for the first time in a port outside of the continental U.S.

 

4–14 Oct 1990: Abraham Lincoln conducted refresher training, primarily off the waters of NS Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. At one point during the cycle of exercises, she sailed in company with Doyle and MSC-operated oiler Pawcatuck (T-AO-108). She also responded to counter-narcotics orders from Combined Joint Task Force 4 in the Caribbean (4-6 October). In addition, Abraham Lincoln crossed the equator for the first time, and her historian proudly noted that “King Neptune” embarked (9 October). Four days the carrier conducted her initial refueling of another ship at sea as she rendezvoused with Doyle for an underway replenishment.

 

15–18 Oct 1990: The carrier entered Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she hosted a reception for 400 guests in Hanger Bay No. 2. Anti-nuclear protestors, however, marred the visit with demonstrations (17 October). Two days later the ship stood out of the channel, and embarked a contingent of Argentinean naval officers.

 

21–25 Oct 1990: The presence of the Argentineans’ became vital during Gringo-Gaucho II, an exercise with their forces. The carrier began the exercise by hosting a visit of distinguished Argentinean visitors, including naval officers and landing signal officers. Aircraft then flew bombing runs against targets at the Punta Indigo range (22, 23 and 24 October). The Americans also benefited from the unique opportunity of flying low-level reconnaissance missions over southern Argentina. Meanwhile, Argentinean Dassault Super Étendards and Grumman S-2E Trackers practiced ‘touch-and-go’ landings on board Abraham Lincoln.

 

26–27 Oct 1990: The ship rounded Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn), traditionally one of the most dangerous and difficult voyages across the globe and graveyard of many ships, due to the foul weather that mariners usually encounter there.

 

28 Oct–8 Nov 1990: Successfully rounding ‘The Horn,’ the ship plowed through chill South Atlantic seas toward Chilean waters, where she took part in Blue Sky III, an exercise with the Chileans. Abraham Lincoln conducted an anti-air warfare exercise with the Chileans, and aircraft made low-level runs in the vicinity of Puerto Montt, and an opposed air wing training strike against Punta Arenas, both in southern Chile. Chilean Northrop F-5E Tiger IIs reciprocated and flew a strike against Abraham Lincoln, and several Chilean diesel-powered submarines stalked the carrier (29-30 October). After their arduous journey crewmembers enjoyed a visit to Valparaíso, Chile (31 October-4 November). Tragedy interrupted Blue Sky III, however, when aircraft accidentally bombed CVW-11 sailors near Viña del Mar, three of whom suffered superficial wounds (4 November). The Chileans helped the Americans as much as possible through the episode, though no one on either side claimed responsibility. Aircraft from Abraham Lincoln conducted air combat training, low-level flight training and practice bombing runs with their Chilean counterparts (6-7 November). The allies culminated the exercise with an opposed U.S. training strike against Chilean defenders at Antofagasta and Iquique, Chile, and a pair of anti-air warfare exercises against the Chileans.

 

10 Nov 1990: Peruvian distinguished visitors embarked on board the ship as she conducted cyclic flight operations. During one of these flights, Abraham Lincoln recorded her 6,000th arrested landing, though an aircraft made a barricade landing at one point during these busy events.

 

11 Nov 1990: The crew celebrated the one year anniversary of their ship with a ‘steel beach’ [flight deck] picnic at sea.

 

12–13 Nov 1990: Abraham Lincoln again fulfilled counter-narcotics directions from Combined Joint Task Force 4, this time off the Galapagos Islands. In addition, aircraft flew low-level missions over Ecuadorian ranges (12 November).

 

15–16 Nov 1990: The carrier accomplished counter-narcotics missions under the command of Combined Joint Task Force 5, while in the vicinity of Clipperton and Clarion Islands.

 

20 Nov 1990: Abraham Lincoln arrived at Alameda after sailing upward of 18,000 miles.

 

30 Nov 1990: Adm. Bruce DeMars, Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, visited the ship.

 

29 Apr–9 May 1991: Abraham Lincoln accomplished ReadiEx 91-2B, a battle group exercise in Californian waters, during which aircraft flew over 460 sorties.

 

28 May 1991: The eight ships of the Abraham Lincoln Battle Group deployed to the western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf, the carrier’s first deployment outside of the Western Hemisphere.

 

17–23 Jun 1991: Abraham Lincoln participated in Operation Fiery Vigil, the evacuation of USAF and USN dependents trapped within the Philippines when the volcano Mount Pinatubo erupted. The mountain’s fury blackened the skies across Angeles City and much of the main Filipino island of Luzon for nearly 36 hours, and Typhoon Yunya added to the devastation when it slammed inland with fierce winds and rain. The rain eventually cleared the atmosphere of most of the choking and blinding ash, but the disaster deposited a heavy eight-inch coating of grey ash over much of the area around NS Subic Bay and NAS Cubi Point, and sailors observed that the residue gave the landscape the appearance of dry cement. The ash crushed many lightweight structures, and a chalky film covered the bay, which presented the appearance of a translucent shade of green. The disaster cut electricity and water to the base for two days, and only heavy trucks could grind their way through the morass to reach victims. Rescue workers also contended with earthquake aftershocks. Abraham Lincoln transported 4,323 people, mostly USN and USAF dependents from Subic Bay and Cubi Point and from Clark Air Base (AB) to Cebu City on Cebu, for further evacuation to Guam and the continental U.S. Sailors and marines also brought on board as many pets as they could save. Crewmembers recorded over 250 helo lifts required to off-load evacuees and over 500 pets, and the ship’s historian noted that the sailors and marines performed the “Herculean effort…efficiently and with compassion.” Sailors surrendered berths to exhausted people, and those of the Medical Department provided special medications, diapers, formula, baby food and hygiene articles to evacuees. Among the aircraft that transferred to make room on board for people, were five from VA-95 that flew ashore to Kadena AB on Okinawa. “This is the best treatment I’ve had in more than a week,” Sgt. Tony Ellis, assigned to the USAF 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, said. “Sailors stopped and asked us if we needed help if we looked lost. We could have been going in the opposite direction and they would turn around and go all the way to the other end of the ship just to help us find our way. These guys are great!” Crewmembers generously raised more than $12,000 to aid victims. Sailors converted sections of Hanger Bay No. 3 into what they called “The Dog Pound” for the myriad of evacuated pets. One sailor slept on a piece of cardboard covered by frightened Dachshunds, and sailors and marines built a variety of shelters to accommodate dogs and cats. “The challenges came in the form of puppies,” EM1 Richard Cunningham, who supervised the pet shelters, explained. “We have a Doberman with nine pups. There’s a sign up to warn people to keep their fingers out of the travel case [from the protective mother].” Cunningham noted that he enjoyed working around most of the animals, especially friendly canines. “They love to cuddle, and they really appreciate attention.” Abraham Lincoln sailed more than 1,800 nautical miles through inshore waters, which required careful attention to detail from her Navigation Department due to other vessels, treacherous shoals and currents. The ship also supported guided missile cruiser Lake Champlain (CG-57) as she evacuated a further 844 people and their pets during three trips in and out of the disaster area. Lake Champlain’s historian noted that the devastation and the suffering of the victims “overwhelmed” her crewmembers. Thousands of Filipino looters, however, magnified the tragedy by adding a dark note to the heroic efforts of rescuers when lawless elements climbed over the gates and ransacked abandoned homes. In many instances the looters wiped out everything of value for entire families including treasured mementoes, and so many swamped the gates that they overwhelmed military policemen by their sheer numbers and determination.

 

1–7 Jul 1991: The crew celebrated Independence Day with a visit to Singapore, following which the ship transited the Strait of Malacca, conducting air-to-air, air-to-ground and low level training flights with the Malaysians, and entered the Indian Ocean for the first time (5-7 July).

 

9 Jul 1991: Green Lizard 515, a Grumman KA-6D tanker, Lt. Mark S. Baden and Lt. Keith Gallagher of VA-95, experienced mechanical problems (possibly generated by a stuck float valve) while flying at about 8,000 feet, around seven miles abeam from the ship and heading away from her, as the ship sailed northwesterly courses toward the Persian Gulf. As Baden eased the Intruder up, speed about 230 knots, Gallagher suddenly smashed through the canopy in a partial ejection. The cockpit depressurized and the tremendous pressure from the wind tore Gallagher’s helmet and oxygen mask off, as the bombardier/navigator’s head, arms and upper torso emerged into the windstream and he struggled against the elements. “The wind had become physically and emotionally overwhelming,” Gallagher described his terrifying experience. “It pounded against my face and body like a huge wall of water that wouldn’t stop.” The stresses suffocated Gallagher and as he fought to keep from passing out, he remembered his wife and said to himself “I don’t want to die” just before he lost consciousness. In what the squadron historian accurately described as “superb airmanship,” Baden recovered on board in a matter of minutes, with Gallagher thrust through the Plexiglas and with his parachute entangled around the Intruder’s horizontal stabilizer. Sailors cleared the flight deck, and rapidly hooked-up and towed several aircraft out of the landing area to enable 515 to recover. The intrepid aviator worked his way through physical therapy and recovered to complete his naval service. The accident occurred on Gallagher’s 26th birthday.

 

13 Jul–27 Sep 1991: Abraham Lincoln passed through the Strait of Hormuz and sailed in the Persian (Arabian) Gulf for her initial deployment to those waters. During the fighting in Desert Shield/Desert Storm/Desert Sabre, the Iraqis set many oil refineries and drills afire, a crime which the Department of Defense branded “an act of environmental terrorism.” The rising flames and smoke plumes impeded aircraft flying missions through them and posed challenging navigational hazards for pilots. In addition, a thick haze blanketed the area due to the high humidity common to the region. The Iraqis also dumped several million barrels of oil into the Gulf from their Sea Island crude oil tanker loading terminal off the Kuwaiti coast, and from five pre-positioned tankers in the occupied Kuwaiti port of Mina’ al Ahmadi, which they drained of oil and pumped overboard. They increased the devastation when they pumped additional oil from storage tanks ashore through an underwater pipeline into the waters of the Gulf, which impacted ships sailing in those waters. Men kept Abraham Lincoln on station despite propulsion plant space temperatures that sometimes reached in excess of 110°F, and maintained full plant capabilities while sailing in seawater that reached 95°F. The carrier enforced United Nations sanctions against the Iraqis following Persian Gulf War I, and provided 212 combat air patrol, 206 airborne early warning, 19 TARPS and a number of electronic support measures sorties in support of allied tasking. Lake Champlain proceeded ahead of the carrier and as the cruiser passed through the strait, an Iranian warship sailed from outbound shipping lanes and crossed in front of her, however, Omani authorities took the Iranians to task for their disregard of international rules of the road (14 July). Meanwhile, aircraft from the carrier completed the first in a series of long range raids into Kuwaiti and Saudi airspace to practice high altitude strike capabilities (23 July). As anti-surface warfare commander, the ship planned, coordinated and executed the hunt for an Iraqi myam mine that drifted dangerously into shipping lanes, and located and destroyed the device (2 August). In doing so, the carrier prevented the rest of the ships from having to conduct an emergency dispersal. At various times she operated with British, French, Japanese, Malaysian, Omani, Saudi Arabian and Thai forces. A-6E Intruders from VA-95 flew a strike mission for their first time carrying main armament loads of AGM-84E Standoff Land Attack Missiles (SLAMs). Abraham Lincoln also took part in Al Hamra, an exercise with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and twice visited Dubai (13-16 August and 15-20 September) before she came about and left the Gulf for additional operations in the Indian Ocean.

 

28 Sep–3 Oct 1991: The ship participated in Beacon Flash 4-91, which included low level coordinated strikes, and air-to-air and surface exercises with Royal Omani air and naval forces.

 

4–12 Oct 1991: The carrier steamed into the Arabian Gulf for a brief visit to Dubai (5–11 October).

 

15 Oct 1991: Abraham Lincoln took part in Al Hout 1/91, a passing exercise with the Omanis that included war-at-sea and antisubmarine scenarios.

 

21–22 Oct 1991: The ship completed a passing exercise with Malaysian forces, including dissimilar air combat training flights and Hawkeye linking exercise with Thai forces. The next day she continued through the Strait of Malacca.

 

23 Oct–7 Nov 1991: Abraham Lincoln operated in the western Pacific, with stops at Subic Bay (26-29 October) and Hong Kong (1-5 November), before she sailed for the waters of the north Pacific.

 

8–9 Nov 1991: The ship participated in Annualex 03G, a joint U.S. and Japanese exercise with antisubmarine, anti-surface and anti-air warfare training. Abraham Lincoln maintained 50 hours of continuous on station submarine hunting coverage.

 

15–16 Jan 1992: The ship completed refresher training in southern Californian waters, during which she offloaded ammunition with ammunition ship Mauna Kea (AE-22).

 

17–20 Jan 1992: Over 20,000 people visited the ship (18-19 January) when she visited Long Beach, Calif.

 

21–29 Jan 1992: Abraham Lincoln completed carrier qualifications in southern Californian waters, principally for fleet readiness squadron aircraft. The carrier offloaded ordnance with ammunition ship Mount Hood (AE-29).

 

Feb 1992: The crew established their Integrated Service Branch, which consisted of 169 (E-3 and below) sailors who filled 90-day temporary assignments as food service attendants, laundrymen and stateroom cleaners. The branch placed all new sailors of these rates or below into a common pool, which ensured that junior sailors did not have to participate in more then one such temporary assignment.

 

8 Feb 1992: The ship hosted a regional meeting of the Navy League in Hanger Bay No. 2, which 300 people attended.

 

Mar 1992: The chapel began to host protestant divine devotions.

 

2–5 Mar 1992: The carrier completed training exercises in northern Californian waters, and twice offloaded ordnance with ammunition ship Kiska (AE-35).

 

12 Mar 1992: Abraham Lincoln adopted Manzanita Elementary School in Oakland, Calif., as part of her personal excellence partnerships program. Volunteer tutors began to visit the school twice a week to help teachers with classroom duties.

 

26 Mar–20 Aug 1992: Abraham Lincoln completed a selected restricted availability at NAS Alameda. Crewmembers gave back to the community by conducting what they called “Alameda FOD Walkdowns,” as they picked up trash along nearby Atlantic Boulevard. The ship also supported a VA-304 weapons detachment to NAS Fallon, Nevada (23 May-25 June). And during Abraham Lincoln Night at Candlestick Park, Capt. James O. Ellis, Jr., the ship’s commanding officer, threw out the first baseball pitch at a game where the San Francisco Giants defeated the Atlanta Braves 5 to 0 (30 July).

 

8–11 Sep 1992: The carrier completed sea trials in Californian waters, during which she responded to a fishing vessel in distress, which delayed Abraham Lincoln’s return to port by a day. In addition, the ship certified her Super Rapid Bloom Off Board Chaff Launching System by firing 48 practice rounds (10 September).

 

21 Sep 1992: Abraham Lincoln began her participation in a unique Navy experiment to ban smoking on board. The service issued the controversial instructions to protect crewmembers’ health and to cut costs for Morale, Welfare and Recreation funding. The Navy intended to eliminate smoking during a two-year trial period of gradual conversion, and initiated the program by making berthing compartments off-limits to smoking. As planners expected, sailors and marines greeted the endeavor with mixed but strong emotions, as non-smokers praised the move and smokers resented what they considered an infringement upon them, with some crewmembers continuing to smoke illegally due to their habits and from resentment.

 

22 Sep 1992: No. 2 NATO Sea Sparrow Surface Missile System completed a successful skin-to-skin test firing against a towed dummy unit.

 

9–12 Oct 1992: Abraham Lincoln led the Fleet Week Parade of Ships under the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco Bay (10 October). The ship then hosted over 10,000 guests for tours and views of static displays as she moored at NAS Alameda (11-12 October).

 

27 Oct 1992: Phalanx 20 millimeter close-in-weapons system (CIWS) Mounts 23 and 24 completed successful test fires against a towed dummy unit.

 

29 Oct 1992: During an underway replenishment with replenishment oiler Wichita (AOR-1) the carrier received her 30 millionth gallon of JP-5 aviation fuel.

 

2 Nov 1992: CIWS Mounts 21 and 22 completed successful test fires against a towed dummy unit.

 

12 Nov 1992: About 1,000 crewmembers spelled out “Beat Army” on the flight deck in preparation for the Army-Navy football game.

 

28 Nov–18 Dec 1992: The ship sent a weapons detachment to support CVW-11 at Fallon.

 

7 Dec 1992: Abraham Lincoln accessed the CNO flag officer e-mail system via cellular telephone and satellite communications for the first time.

 

10–14 Dec 1992: Catapult no. 1 logged its 14,000th shot. Two days later, arresting gear engine no. 3 logged its 11,000th trap. Tow days after that milestone, catapult no. 2 recorded its 7,000th launch, and Abraham Lincoln noted her 28,000th trap on the same day.

 

11 Jan 1993: The ship merged her Weapons Elevator Maintenance Division with the Weapons Support Equipment Division.

 

13 Jan–12 Feb 1993: The carrier took part in CompTuEx 93-9A/ITA in Californian waters. She also inaugurated the Navy Super High Frequency Personal Computer transmission system for the first time on board (18 January). In addition, Abraham Lincoln logged her 30,000th trap during this period at sea.

 

2–28 Mar 1993: Abraham Lincoln participated in FleetEx 93-2A/B/C in Californian waters.

 

27 Apr 1993: HTFA Aaron Ahearn, claiming that Abraham Lincoln’s violation of environmental laws had driven him to his disobedience, returned from about 75 days of unauthorized absence. Ahearn’s actions generated media attention and controversy, but the resulting investigation revealed no substance to his allegations. The Navy court-martialed Ahearn and separated him from the service. Ongoing media assertions of disciplinary abuses during the incident convinced Adm. Robert J. Kelly, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet, to personally inspect the ship’s brig shortly after Ahearn’s return. The admiral did not identify discrepancies in the design or operation of the brig.

 

16 May 1993: The crew performed a burial at sea for SM1 Ronald Blue.

 

1–14 Jun 1993: In preparation for deployment, 30 sailors completed unique training on Browning M2 .50 caliber machine guns for mine watches.

 

15 Jun 1993: Over 8,000 sailors and marines in seven ships and a sub of the group, comprising Abraham Lincoln, guided missile cruisers Fox (CG-33) and Princeton (CG-59), guided missile frigate Ingraham (FFG-61), attack submarine Pasadena (SSN-752), Mount Hood, combat store ship White Plains (AFS-4) and oiler Willamette (AO-180), deployed for the western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf. Rear Adm. Joseph J. Dantone, Jr., Commander Carrier Group Three, and Capt. David M. Lee, Commander Destroyer Squadron 21, broke their flags from Abraham Lincoln. Rear Adm. Dantone, who also commanded the carrier battle group, returned to a familiar ship, as he had taken Abraham Lincoln to sea as her first commanding officer. The F/A-18A Hornets of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA)-314 also embarked on board. In addition, the ship carried AIM-120A Advanced Medium-Range, Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs) for the first time during a deployment.

 

Jul 1993: As the ship sailed into western Pacific waters, maintainers established plastic welding capabilities to repair A-6E Intruder bombardier radar scope hoods, and inflated first time support of AAS-38A laser transceiver sets.

 

5–9 Jul 1993: When Abraham Lincoln visited Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong, she introduced a bar code system on ID cards to track numbers of sailors leaving the ship, the first time that she did so during a deployment.

 

11 Jul 1993: Abraham Lincoln conducted a turnover with aircraft carrier Nimitz (CVN-68) in the Indian Ocean. Crewmembers also activated the Joint Deployable Intelligence Support System from the ship to Maj. Gen. George B. Harrison, USAF, Commander Air Warfare Center, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, who conferred with planners concerning operations as the former Commander Joint Task Force – Southwest Asia, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

 

15–17 Jul 1993: The ship passed through the Strait of Malacca eastbound.

 

20 Jul 1993: Aircraft No. 111, an F-14 from VF-213, Lt. Matthew T. Claar and Lt. Dean A. Fuller, crashed on the flight deck as the ship sailed in the Indian Ocean. The Tomcat skidded across the deck and most of the aircraft ended up in the water. The accident killed Lt. Claar, the pilot, but sailors rescued Lt. Fuller, the Radar Intercept Officer,who had suffered minor injuries in the mishap. Abraham Lincoln sustained minimal damage but did not report additional casualties.

 

22 Jul 1993: The carrier entered the Central Command (CentCom) area of responsibility.

 

26 Jul–13 Aug 1993: The ship participated in Operation Southern Watch. The United Nations established two no-fly zones over Iraq after Gulf I. The southern zone extended along the 32nd parallel after the Iraqis renewed attacks against Shi ahs, in August 1992. The allies later extended the southern zone from the 32nd to 33rd parallels to enhance tactical options. Two days before she came about, Saudi Prince Saud bin Naif visited the ship (11 August).

 

14–19 Aug 1993: The ship put into Jebel Ali, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Meanwhile, Tomcats from VF-213 flew in Iron Agate, dissimilar air combat maneuvering exercises with Mirage 2000s from that country.

 

20 Aug–9 Sep 1993: Aircraft flying from Abraham Lincoln patrolled the southern no-fly zone for Southern Watch. Brig. Gen. John B. Hall, USAF, Commander, 4404th Composite Wing, visited the carrier (30 August). Two Intruders from VA-95 (BuNos 161682 and 164385) collided in mid-air over the northern Arabian Gulf while returning to the ship, the day before she came about (8 September). Rescuers pulled all four crewmembers from the water in good condition.

 

10–15 Sep 1993: The ship visited Jebel Ali.

 

16 Sep–7 Oct 1993: Aircraft operating from Abraham Lincoln again patrolled the southern no-fly zone for Southern Watch. The communications station at Guam suffered a two-week outage and the crew activated their first fleet support broadcast via UHF satellite to support ships and submarines sailing in the Arabian Gulf, Indian Ocean and Red Sea (beginning on 20 September). In addition, tasking instructed the ship to prepare for contingencies concerning the crisis in Somalia. Severe draught destroyed local crops in that African country, and famine resulted when marauding gangs seized food and blocked distribution of humanitarian supplies. Ongoing relief efforts to help the people of Somalia culminated in Operation Restore Hope, United Nations directed humanitarian aid toward the embattled Somalis. When orders indicated the ship’s likely deployment for Restore Hope, crewmembers coordinated and promulgated communications plans and support for surge operations in Somali waters. During this period Abraham Lincoln also sent her first transmission of photos via an SHF personal computer information terminal, which went to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the United States for a briefing. In addition, the ship logged her 40,000th trap during the busy flight operations at that time. Tragedy struck; however, when the Army’s Task Force Ranger became embroiled in a fierce firefight against clansmen in Mogadishu, the Somali capital and principal port, overnight (3-4 October). The Somalis killed 18 Americans and wounded 84 more during the bloody battle, and claimed that they lost 312 dead and 814 wounded. To assist shipmates as they supported troops struggling ashore, crewmembers activated a 600 bit per second SHF naval automated message processing system for the America (CV-66) Carrier Battle Group, and amphibious forces led by amphibious assault ships Guadalcanal (LPH-7) and New Orleans (LPH-11), the next day (4 October). Meanwhile, operations continued in the Arabian Gulf and Brig. Gen. Saber al-Suwaidan, the commander of the Kuwaiti Air Force, visited the ship (5 October). The Navy ordered Abraham Lincoln to Somali waters two days later. Most of the other vessels in her group, however, remained in the Gulf to support Southern Watch.

 

8 Oct 1993: The carrier transited the Strait of Hormuz eastbound.

 

12 Oct–3 Nov 1993: Abraham Lincoln sailed in Somali waters as she participated directly in Restore Hope. To reinforce international troops attempting to re-establish order ashore, the ship disembarked marines of her detachment to provide security (15 to 22 October). Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Norman E. Williams, USA, Commander, United Nations Logistics Force, visited the ship (19 October). Mount Hood joined the carrier off the Horn of Africa, and made numerous transits between Mombasa, Kenya, and the battle group, which enabled ships to remain on station. The carrier’s historian noted that the crew of the ammunition ship worked tirelessly to provide “critical logistic support” for naval forces supporting Restore Hope. The demanding pace of the relief effort forced Abraham Lincoln’s crew to accomplish their largest underway replenishment of the deployment when they exchanged 554 pallets of provisions, general and retrograde stores with White Plains in Somali waters (21 October). The following day Abraham Lincoln crossed the equator, which enabled ‘pollywogs’ to become ‘shellbacks’ (22 October). Turkish Lt. Gen. Cevik Bir, who commanded United Nations forces in Somalia, visited the ship two days later (24 October). Additional distinguished visitors arrived on board on several subsequent occasions, among them Pakistani Brigadier Generals Ikram ul Hassan and Saulat Abaas (31 October).

 

Nov 1993: Catapult No. 1 logged its 20,000th launch, and No. 3 its 10,000th shot.

 

12–16 Nov 1993: The ship put into Perth, Australia, for a visit which most crewmembers celebrated as their favorite of the deployment, due to the traditionally warm reception which the Australians gave them.

 

20–22 Nov 1993: The ship passed through Selat Lombok (Lombok Strait) northbound. After sailing across the Celebes Sea, Abraham Lincoln crossed the equator for the second time of the deployment (21 November). The carrier then transited the Balabac and Surigao Straits.

 

28 Nov 1993: Abraham Lincoln passed from the Seventh to Third Fleets. The crew also performed a burial at sea for PR1 Stanley Kraft.

 

1 Dec 1993: Secretary of the Navy John H. Dalton announced that pending notification of Congress and the repeal of the Combat Exclusion Law (Section 6015, Title 10, U.S. code), the Navy would begin to open all classes of ships to women as crewmembers, as well as several enlisted ratings hitherto denied to them, including Aviation Boatswain’s Mate-Launch and Recovery Equipment (ABE), Gunner’s Mate (GM), Gunner’s Mate-Guns (GMG), Gunner’s Mate-Missiles (GMM) and Sonar Technician-Surface (STG). Planners scheduled female sailors to begin reporting to eight ships, including aircraft carriers Abraham Lincoln and Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69), in June 1994, and to have 400 or 500 women on board the two carriers by the end of that year. More than 200 commissioned and enlisted female sailors actually reported on board Abraham Lincoln by the New Year.

 

2 Dec 1993: Abraham Lincoln crossed the International Date Line eastbound, which gave people on board the unique experience of repeating the day.

 

1 Jan–27 May 1994: The ship completed a selected restricted availability at Alameda. Some marines from the ship’s detachment trained ashore in counter-terrorism procedures at Fort Bragg, North Carolina (5-12 February), and rifle and pistol requalifications at Naval Shipyard Mare Island in California (14-18 February). Sailors supported other ships and commands during the availability. Men of the Communications Department installed the ships information transfer system on board aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk (CV-63) and command ship Coronado (AGF-11) and assisted with trouble-shooting and activating the system on board aircraft carrier Carl Vinson (CVN-70). In addition, they assisted ships including Nimitz, Mount Hood and destroyer tender Samuel Gompers (AD-37) with activating the Afloat Gateguard system. The Supply Department initiated a cross-training program for Mess Specialists (MSs) with several hotels in the San Francisco area, including the Hilton Hagenberger, Sheraton Concord and Parc Oakland. Rear Adm. Jay B. Yakeley relieved Rear Adm. Dantone as Commander, Carrier Group 3 during a ceremony on board (18 March). In addition, Lt. Carolynn M. Snyder became the first woman officer to report on board (27 March).

 

28 May 1994: The Association of Naval Aviators held their annual luncheon in Hanger Bay 2 for 400 active duty and retired naval aviators and their families.

 

17–21 Jul 1994: Japanese ships of their Maritime Self Defense Force visited the San Francisco-Oakland Bay area; and their crews exchanged tours and receptions with those of Abraham Lincoln.

 

29 Jul–11 Aug 1994: The ship sailed to Seattle, Wash., to participate in the annual Seattle Seafair. En route Abraham Lincoln helped rescue a 16-year-old girl who fell 90 feet from the rigging of a 120 foot civilian sailing vessel (31 July). Rescuers evacuated the young victim to the carrier and from there on to a hospital in Portland, Ore. Abraham Lincoln became the first nuclear-powered carrier to moor at the new pier at NS Everett. While the ship visited the fair more than 1,200 people attended a sunset review performed by her marines on the flight deck (4 August). The crew kept busy hosting receptions, luncheons and tours for more than 30,000 visitors during the fair.

 

12 Aug 1994: Almost 7,000 crewmembers and their guests embarked on board for a family day cruise.

 

2 Sep 1994: Rear Adm. Ronald J. Zlatoper, Commander-in-Chief Pacific Fleet, visited the ship.

 

 

7 Sep 1994: Vice Adm. Frank L. Bowman, Chief of Naval Personnel, visited Abraham Lincoln and held a question and answer session with the crew.

 

8 Oct 1994: Abraham Lincoln participated in the Fleet Week Parade and embarked over 1,100 guests for the day. The ship also launched aircraft for the first time while sailing within San Francisco Bay; a pair of Hornets. Throughout events during the week, over 8,100 people toured the ship.

 

12 Oct 1994: Vice Adm. Donald F. Hagen, Surgeon General of the Navy, visited the ship.

 

25 Oct 1994: Lion 103, an F-14A Tomcat (BuNo 160390), Lt. Kara S. Hultgreen and Lt.  Matthew P. Klemish of VF-213, crashed while attempting to land as Abraham Lincoln conducted carrier qualifications during the afternoon watch (1501) about 50 miles off the California coast.  A landing signal officer waved them off and called “level your wings and climb” but the Tomcat plunged over the port side of the ship and killed Hultgreen, who bore the sad distinction of becoming the first naval female combat pilot to die in an aircraft accident. Klemish, the Radar Intercept Officer, ejected and survived with minor injuries. Investigators determined that the accident resulted from “pilot error” and aircraft malfunctions; a combination of Hultgreen’s maneuvering to correct her approach, and an engine bleed valve that failed in the closed position, which caused the Tomcat’s left engine to stall at a critical moment in the landing sequence. Hultgreen proved unable to compensate for the resulting yaw and the Tomcat rolled rapidly to the left and slammed into the water. Investigators summarized principal causal factors as “overcontrol, external distraction, cognitive saturation, channelized attention, wear debris, complacency and problem not foreseeable.”[ii]

 

7 Dec 1994: Approximately 300 survivors of the local Pearl Harbor Survivor’s Association held a commemoration for their fallen shipmates in Hanger Bay 2.

 

9 Dec 1994: Vice Adm. Walter J. Davis, Jr., Director, Space and Electronic Warfare, visited the ship for a tour and briefings.

 

15 Dec 1994: Crewmembers activated a 32 bit per second joint deployable intelligence support system from the ship for the first time while in the Pacific Fleet.

 

16 Dec 1994: Adm. Thomas B. Hayward (Ret.), former CNO, embarked on board.

 

31 Dec 1994: The ship recorded 8,220 aircraft launches and 8,221 recoveries, together with 10 fuelings at sea receiving and four delivering, and “numerous” replenishments during the course of the year.

 

27 Jan 1995: Marines from the ship practiced Visit, Board, Search and Seizure procedures on board Canadian replenishment oiler HMCS Provider (AOR-508).

 

28 Jan 1995: An F/A-18 Hornet from VFA-22 crashed immediately after launching, killing the pilot.

 

Feb 1995: Communications Department sailors installed and activated the ship’s first MCI prepaid card system. The system proved a tremendous boost to morale, as it enabled sailors to better keep in touch with loved ones, via telephone calls.

 

13–24 Feb 1995: The ship took part in a joint task force exercise (JTFEx) in southern Californian waters, designed to enable all commands of the battle group to train together one last time, while being observed and graded, prior to deployment. Aircraft No. 500, an A-6E Intruder (BuNo 155586) from VA-95, caught fire while at tension on a catapult. The crew escaped from the conflagration unharmed.

 

Apr 1995: Communications sailors installed and activated a battle group cellular telephone system, which provided commanders access to commercial landline phones to battle group ships within range of Abraham Lincoln. Rear Adm. Robert M. Nutwell, Commander Carrier Group 3, broke his flag from the carrier on this cruise. During her deployment the ship also provided a wide variety of on board repair capabilities and technical experts to 17 American and allied ships that operated in the Middle East with limited or non-existent tender services. In addition, the Communications Department completed a telemedicine video conference with Johns Hopkins Medical Center during this deployment, which supported X-ray transfers and surgical procedure consultations. And at one point during the western transit, Abraham Lincoln completed Union 95-1, a live fire NATO Sea Sparrow exercise, where she achieved a “perfect skin-to-skin kill” against a tactical air launched decoy.

 

17–20 Apr 1995: The ship took part in 95-2, an anti-submarine warfare exercise.

 

27 Apr 1995: Abraham Lincoln entered the Seventh Fleet as she steamed into the western Pacific. A Tomcat from VF-213 crashed during routine training, but rescuers recovered both crewmembers.

 

12 May 1995: Marines from the ship practiced Visit, Board, Search and Seizure procedures with two HH-60Hs from HS-6 onto fast combat support ship Sacramento (AOE-1).

 

14–19 May 1995: The carrier anchored at Singapore.

 

20–23 May 1995: The ship participated in exercise Beacon Flash.

 

26–31 May 1995: Abraham Lincoln entered the Fifth Fleet and conducted Inspired Alert, an exercise with the Pakistanis.

 

1–11 Jun 1995: Abraham Lincoln took part in Southern Watch patrols against the recalcitrant Iraqis. During an underway replenishment with Sacramento, however, the carrier and the fast combat support ship collided (5 June). One Sacramento sailor suffered minor bruises after jumping between levels on board his ship as collision alarms began to sound. The impact damaged Sacramento’s port side amidships, including underway replenishment rigging, portside bridge wings, ladders, and the executive officer’s stateroom. The collision also bent her CIWS, although the system remained intact and capable of defending the ship. Sailors did not observe damage below decks. “There is bad damage in the superstructure area,” Comdr. Terry L. McCleary, a spokesman for Naval Forces Central Command, explained, “The whole port side, including unreps [underway replenishment] wings, the bridge area, is damaged along the central part of the ship.” Abraham Lincoln continued her mission with only lesser damage to life rafts and life lines. The crew of the carrier affected repairs without requiring extended time in port, however, Sacramento spent several weeks at Jebel Ali to complete what McCleary announced as “frenetic repairs,” which required her crew to work six days a week in three-duty sections to accomplish the back-breaking labor. “You can do what you need to make her mission capable and forget about the cosmetics,” McCleary elaborated, “Or you can fix everything at one fell swoop.” The Navy estimated the total cost of damage resulting from the accident at approximately $500,000 for the carrier and from $1 to $2 million for Sacramento. Meanwhile, two MSC-operated ships, oiler John Ericsson (T-AO-194) and combat store ship San Jose (T-AFS-7), relieved Sacramento to maintain ships operating in the area during the ensuing period.

 

12–17 Jun 1995: Abraham Lincoln visited Jebel Ali.

 

17 Jun–1 Jul 1995: The ship support Southern Watch in the Gulf.

 

1–6 Jul 1995: Abraham Lincoln visited Jebel Ali.

 

6–22 Jul 1995: The ship supported Southern Watch, and launched aircraft for patrols over the southern no-fly zone. She also worked with the Saudis during exercise Nautical Artist (8-12 July). In addition, crewmembers relayed message traffic received from Canadian ships via the battle group cellular system when the Canadian broadcasting system suffered an outage.

 

22–26 Jul 1995: Abraham Lincoln put into Jebel Ali.

 

26 Jul–20 Aug 1995: The carrier participated in Southern Watch and a supporting operation, Vigilant Sentinel, in the Arabian Gulf. As a blazing sun rose over the horizon (29 July), 14 Intruders from VA-95 launched from Abraham Lincoln and flew a long range strike familiarization mission into the Iraqi heartland in support of Southern Watch. The crew worked for days preceding the strike to prepare for the raid, and organized the flight deck into what the squadron referred to as an “Intruder configuration.” Sailors had all 14 of the squadron’s bombers airborne within 10 minutes. The A-6Es rendezvoused 100 miles to the north of the ship over the Gulf, and then headed into the teeth of Iraqi air defenses. The Intruders made simulated attack runs on 14 different target areas using AGM-88 High Speed Antiradiation Missiles (HARMs) and bombs, before they came about and returned to the carrier. The squadron approached Abraham Lincoln through a scorching haze from astern and flew over the ship at 500 feet above the waves. Squadron members proudly referred to the strike as “The Lizards’ Last Romp” [after their nickname: Green Lizards; VA-95 disestablished at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, on 18 November 1995].

 

20–25 Aug 1995: The ship again visited Jebel Ali.

 

25 Aug–4 Sep 1995: Abraham Lincoln participated in Southern Watch and Vigilant Sentinel in the Gulf.

 

4–7 Sep 1995: Abraham Lincoln put into Jebel Ali for her final visit to the port during this deployment.

 

7–8 Sep 1995: Aircraft carrier Independence (CV-62) relieved Abraham Lincoln. The Navy delayed Abraham Lincoln’s scheduled departure from the area to allow her to conduct a ‘face-to-face turnover’ with her relief. This entailed cancelling planned visits to Australian ports, however, a heavy blow to her crew, who anticipated traditional Australian hospitality. The Navy tried to compensate by extending the carrier’s visit to NS Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, by several days while returning home.

 

11 Sep 1995: The ship entered the Seventh Fleet.

 

18 Sep 1995: Abraham Lincoln crossed the equator.

 

20 Sep 1995: A Tomcat from VF-213 crashed, but rescuers recovered both crewmembers.

 

14 Nov 1995–6 Dec 1996: Abraham Lincoln sailed in what her historian called a “Noah’s Ark Cruise” with approximately 80 family members of crewmembers, and with 600 personally owned vehicles crammed onto the flight deck (14-17 November). She arrived three days later at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash., to begin the ship’s first extended drydocking selected restricted availability. The ship offloaded ordnance at Port Hadlock, Wash. (13 December), and finished the year moored to Pier Bravo. During 1995 Abraham Lincoln recorded 208 days at sea throughout the year, together with 10,190 total landings; 9,439 traps (5,511 daytime, 3,928 nighttime and 751 ‘touch and go’); 1,048 helo sorties (621 day and 427 night); and 4,643 carrier controlled approaches. Crewmembers served in many ways during the availability, and four sailors from the ship saved a local civilian from drowning in a nearby lake (19 February 1996). Two of the men received Navy Marine Corps Medals, and the other pair received Navy Achievement Medals. The Carrier Intelligence Center established a crossdecking program with soldiers of the Army’s I Corps at Fort Lewis, Wash., that enabled sailors to maintain proficiency in intelligence operations. Meanwhile, some intelligence specialists deployed with the Kitty Hawk and Nimitz carrier battle groups. Twenty-seven sailors were also detached for weapons assembly and flight line issue of ordnance during CVW-14’s training at NAS Fallon, Nevada. The crew held fairs to celebrate their change of homeports (6 and 11 May and 26 October). The carrier floated out of drydock to Pier Bravo at the shipyard, eight days ahead of schedule (8 August), and the crew began to move back on board shortly thereafter (4 September). Abraham Lincoln held dock trials (18-20 November) and then a fast cruise (23-27 November), to prepare for returning to sea. The shipyard experienced an accident during this period, however, when some of the one gallon lube oil spilled (26 November), though sailors and workers eventually cleaned-up the mess. The ship put to sea again to accomplish sea trials, during which she recorded 196 aircraft landings (30 November-6 December). A Hornet from VMFA-314, however, crashed in a ramp strike during night flight deck certifications (4 December). The USMC pilot ejected safely onto the flight deck, but the Hornet suffered “Class A” damage and the Navy struck it from inventory.

 

27–31 Jan 1997: The ship accomplished night flight deck certification in the waters of the Pacific Northwest, and performed 256 fixed-wing aircraft launches and recoveries.

 

31 Jan–3 Feb 1997: Abraham Lincoln visited Esquimalt near Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Feb 1997: The ship participated in AGM-154A Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW) testing.

 

6–25 Mar 1997: Abraham Lincoln conducted fleet replacement squadron carrier qualifications, during which aircraft completed 3,378 launches and recoveries. Vice Adm. He, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (Navy) vice chief of naval operations, embarked overnight (21 March).

 

8–20 May 1997: The ship accomplished fleet replacement squadron carrier qualifications.

 

17–27 Jun 1997: The carrier completed fleet replacement squadron carrier qualifications, and performed 1,924 fixed-wing aircraft launches and traps.

 

14–21 Jul 1997: Abraham Lincoln completed CVW-14 carrier qualifications, and accomplished 1,508 fixed-wing aircraft launches and recoveries. The ship also participated in a series of training exercises, including Tailored Ship’s Training Availability I.

 

6 Aug 1997: The ship took part in the Seattle Seafair, and performed a flight operations demonstration in Elliot Bay for over 1,500 guests.

 

4–28 Sep 1997: Abraham Lincoln completed CVW-14 carrier qualifications, and accomplished 2,448 fixed-wing aircraft launches and recoveries. The ship also took part in a series of training exercises, including Tailored Ship’s Training Availabilities II and III and her final evaluation period.

 

1–13 Oct 1997: The ship accomplished fleet replacement squadron carrier qualifications, and recorded 1,546 fixed-wing aircraft launches and recoveries. She also took part in San Francisco Fleet Week activities (11 October).

 

22–29 Nov 1997: Abraham Lincoln completed CVW-14 carrier qualifications, and accomplished 798 fixed-wing aircraft launches and traps.

 

29 Nov–20 Dec 1997: The carrier, with CVW-14 embarked, took part in CompTuEx 98-1 and Intermediate Training Assessment, during which she recorded a total of 3,412 fixed-wing launches and traps. Abraham Lincoln’s Battle Force Intermediate Maintenance Activity accomplished five actual aircraft repair and “fly-offs” for guided missile cruiser Shiloh (CG-67), destroyer Merrill (DD-976) and Canadian multi-role patrol frigate HMCS Ottawa (FFH-341).

 

31 Dec 1997: During the year, the ship’s damage control team developed, tested and implemented a complete restructuring of the Rescue and Assistance Detail and Inport Emergency Team. Vice Adm. Brent M. Bennitt, Commander, Naval Air Force, Pacific, approved the concept as a permanent change to the Fleet’s Repair Party Manual. And at one point during the year, a critcally ill sailor on board destroyer Fletcher (DD-992) required medical evacuation for immediate attention. Abraham Lincoln suspended night flight operations and steamed nearly 300 nautical miles at high speed to close to within helicopter range of the destroyer. A helo lifted the ailing sailor from Fletcher and flew her to the carrier, where the medical team stabilized her for follow-on transport to Balboa Medical Center in San Diego.

 

26 Feb–2 Mar 1998: The ship again visited Esquimalt.

 

12 Apr 1998: Abraham Lincoln moved Public Affairs from the Administrative Department and established the office as a separate department.

11–17 Jun 1998: The ship deployed to the western Pacific and Indian Oceans. En route she moored at NAS North Island to load aircraft, stores and sailors, principally for her embarked air wing, CVW-14 (16-17 June). This became the first deployment where the ship embarked an aviation optometrist for the entire cruise, who provided 1,200 eye exams as well as treatment to ship’s company. Abraham Lincoln also embarked en enhanced mobile explosive ordnance disposal detachment.

 

25 Jun 1998: Abraham Lincoln reached the Seventh Fleet.

 

4–8 Jul 1998: The ship celebrated Independence Day in Hong Kong, where she hosted 200 dignitaries. Sailors noted that the Chinese communists conducted extensive surveillance of the carrier.

 

13–17 Jul 1998: The carrier visited Singapore en route to the Indian Ocean, where she hosted a state dinner for 40 dignitaries and ambassadors.

 

22–24 Jul 1998: The ship entered the Fifth Fleet, and transited the Strait of Hormuz into the Arabian Gulf two days later.

 

7 Aug 1998: Terrorist threats and clashes between rival Muslim extremists made the Indian Ocean littoral a tinder box for much of this period, and al-Qāidah terrorists detonated bombs at the U.S. Embassies at Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, that killed at least 224 people including 12 Americans. Tensions in the region escalated and the ship had to be ready to retaliate against the perpetrators of the crimes.

 

9–31 Aug 1998: Abraham Lincoln assumed duties as the area air defense commander. The ship also visited Jebel Ali (10-14 August) and participated in Tactical Evolution Exercise 98 (19-25 August). In addition, her historian noted that the carrier served as the “cornerstone” of a national command authority directed contingency strike operation (20 August). The ship’s command, control, communications, computers and information (C4I) suite became pivotal to mission planning, execution and dissemination of initial battle damage assessments of two simultaneous operations on separate continents. Abraham Lincoln also assumed duties as air warfare commander in the Gulf to support the redeployment of battle group sailors and marines to accomplish the tasking. Ongoing concerns over Iraqi smuggling forced the ship to surge (23-30 August) to participate in Maritime Interception Operations (MIOs). The United Nations began MIOs as coalition efforts to enforce United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolutions imposed against the Iraqis following their invasion of Kuwait in August 1990. The organization prohibited cargo originating from Iraq and imports not accompanied by UN authorization letters, though the food-for-oil agreement permitted the Iraqis to sell limited amounts of oil to pay for food and medicine. Iraqi criminals and on occasion, terrorists (including a highly lucrative drug trade that specialized in heroin and methamphetamines to finance terrorist crimes), became so brazen in their smuggling efforts that the coalition consistently refined MIOs. The Iraqis, however, sold oil below market value to entice smugglers, and provided naval officers to assist thieves.

 

31 Aug–2 Sep 1998: The carrier anchored at Bahrain Bell. Sailors piped Gen. Henry H. Shelton, USA, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on board for a visit (1 September).

 

18–23 Sep 1998: The ship visited Jebel Ali (18-21 September) and took part in Beacon Flash 98-2, including the opening phases while still in port (19-23 September). The heat index on the flight deck rose during these days until at times the temperature often approached at least 140°F. Even the waters of the Arabian Gulf could reach a scorching 95°F. “You forget about the heat until you open a hatch to go outside,” 19-year-old ICFN Angela Nostrand explained, “and then it takes your breath away.”

 

2–14 Oct 1998: The ship visited Jebel Ali (2-5 October) and participated in exercise Red Reef 98 (3-14 October).

 

17–20 Oct 1998: The carrier visited Jebel Ali.

 

21 Oct 1998: Abraham Lincoln passed through the Strait of Hormuz outbound. During her total time in the area during this deployment, the ship used comprehensive, all-source intelligence to support coalition efforts to shut down illegal gas and oil shipments from embargoed Iraqi ports and facilities. The carrier supported UN Resolutions 661 and 665 for some 89 days and two MIO surges. Extensive intelligence exchange between on-scene commanders led to 625 merchant ship queries, 196 cooperative boardings, 17 non-compliant boardings and eight diverts. Aircraft flew 1,855 Southern Watch sorties from the ship. During 23 scheduled Southern Watch tactical reconnaissance missions, the ship processed more than 18,000 feet of aerial film covering over 100 separate Iraqi targets. Photographers from the ship also cross-decked to guided missile cruisers Cowpens (CG-63) and Valley Forge (CG-50), guided missile frigates Jarrett (FFG-33) and Thach (FFG-43), fast combat support ship Camden (AOE-2) and HMCS Ottawa to cover operations, and delivered more than 25,000 images to support the battle group.

 

26 Oct 1998: The ship reached the Seventh Fleet.

 

3–8 Nov 1998: The carrier visited Perth, Australia.

 

12–17 Oct 1998: After continuing around the southern portion of Australia, Abraham Lincoln put into Hobart, Tasmania. Throughout her Australian visits, the ship hosted 250 dignitaries and distinguished guests.

 

24 Nov 1998: The ship entered the Third Fleet.

 

27–30 Nov 1998: The carrier visited NS Pearl Harbor en route her return.

 

7–11 Dec 1998: Abraham Lincoln reached Californian waters and moored at NAS North Island to disembark the wing (7 December). She then sailed up the west coast to her home port. At one point during the deployment the ship rescued two sailors who fell overboard during a rapid transit of the Pacific, and stabilized and medically evacuated them, while during another case she responded to a call for emergency assistance from a civilian tanker in the Gulf and supplied advanced cardiac life support to a victim.

 

31 Dec 1998: During the year the ship logged 12,304 landings (11,961 traps: 8,161 daytime, 3,800 nighttime and 343 ‘touch-and-go’), 1,006 helo sorties (728 day and 278 night) and 17,095 total flight hours. Abraham Lincoln also extended the concept of the Battle Force Intermediate Maintenance Activity to provide maintenance availabilities not only to ships deployed with the battle group in the Arabian Gulf, but uniquely for a carrier, also to attack submarines Columbia (SSN-771) and Jefferson City (SSN-759). In addition, civilian technicians from the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division at NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey, and crewmembers, tested and evaluated a titanium piston assembly in Catapults 1 and 3.

 

12–16 Mar 1999: The ship visited Esquimalt. As she sailed back to Everett the carrier also held a family cruise and performed carrier qualifications for Grumman EA-6B Prowlers from VAQ-129 and VAQ-139, completing 31 launches and recoveries.

 

1 Apr–15 Sep 1999: The ship completed a planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. At one point, however, a major fire ignited within Abraham Lincoln’s Carrier Intelligence Center that destroyed the APS Tomahawk [R/UGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs): all-weather subsonic cruise missiles that ships or submarines fire] and TARPS DCRS equipment. Four Combat Systems technicians arrived on the scene first and contained the fire until the import emergency fire party relieved them. Sailors and workers repaired the vital center 30 days earlier than originally projected.

 

6–13 Oct 1999: Abraham Lincoln visited San Francisco for Fleet Week and served as the flagship for the Parade of Ships (9-13 October). The vessel hosted over 4,000 visitors during the three days of visitation, and also accomplished carrier qualifications during both voyages en route.

 

31 Dec 1999: During the year Abraham Lincoln received the Department of Defense Award for the Best Anti-Terrorism Program Afloat.

 

31 Jan 2000: Alaska Airlines Flight No. 261, a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 airliner (Serial No. N963AS), crashed into the Pacific Ocean about 2.7 miles north of Anacapa Island, California, at about 1621. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the flight, which operated on an instrument flight rules flight plan. The accident killed all of the people on board (the pilot, co-pilot, three cabin crewmembers and 83 passengers). Flight 261 lifted off from Lic Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport at Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, en route to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Washington, when the aircraft lost pitch control that resulted from an in-flight failure of the horizontal stabilizer trim system jackscrew assembly’s acme nut threads. Excessive wear caused the thread failure, due to insufficient lubrication of the jackscrew assembly. Abraham Lincoln supported rescuers as they responded to the tragedy, for which the ship uniquely later received the Coast Guard Unit Commendation with Operational Distinguishing Service. The Navy also mapped the accident area with underwater side scanning sonar and video, which enabled searchers to recover pieces of wreckage to investigate the loss. Some of the naval vessels that participated in recovery operations into the New Year included amphibious transport dock ship Cleveland (LPD-7), submarine support vessel Kellie Chouest, which utilized Scorpio, a tethered, unmanned remote vehicle, and MSC-operated fleet ocean tug Sioux (T-ATF-171).

 

27 Jan–7 Feb 2000: The ship took part in CompTuEx 00-2A. Abraham Lincoln tested the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet program, and collected data on carrier Precision Aided Landing System operations with the upgraded aircraft. Sailors of the Air Department accomplished 1,099 aircraft launches and 1,111 recoveries. Crash and Salvage teams responded to nine flight deck emergencies. In addition, the ship anchored off Santa Barbara, California, where she hosted a reception for approximately 400 dignitaries.

 

9 Feb 2000: A Hornet crashed with a sheared main mount. Sailors removed the aircraft from the landing area, salvaged and subsequently craned the F/A-18 off the ship.

 

15 Feb 2000: The ship offloaded an F-14 Tomcat aircraft crash and salvage dud (utilized for training to familiarize sailors in accident response procedures) to NAS North Island.

 

26 Mar–14 Aug 2000: Raytheon Company technicians and sailors from Ship’s Company installed the IT21 local area network modification, a massive project which involved the installation of cables, breakers, transformers, power panels and receptacles throughout Abraham Lincoln.

 

17 Apr 2000: The carrier held a family cruise for about 1,900 people as she steamed from Esquimalt to Everett. Prowlers from VAQ-139 and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets completed 47 carrier qualification launches and recoveries.

 

15 May 2000: Capt. Douglas K. Dupouy relieved Rear Adm. J.J. Quinn as commanding officer of Abraham Lincoln, while in port at San Diego. Following the change of command ceremony, the crew held a reception for about 500 guests and 200 Ship’s Company in Hanger Bay 2.

 

20–29 May 2000: During the major exercise Rim of the Pacific (RimPac 2000) in Hawaiian waters, Abraham Lincoln supported an amphibious ready group, and executed 261 aircraft launches and 263 recoveries. Since 1998 the Navy began to develop a

prototype Area Air Defense Commander (AADC) Capability program to address existing and emerging ballistic and air-breathing threats, and Abraham Lincoln and Shiloh tested AADC performance during RimPac 2000. According to Vice Adm. Phillip M. Balisle, Commander Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, the AADC system “showed outstanding value as a force enabler that will allow a…battle group commander to enter a troubled area and gain control of it quickly.”

 

Sep 2000: After sunset an airman fell overboard from the flight deck of Abraham Lincoln into the dark water below. BM3 David Duvall, on watch on the fantail, spotted two blinks of a strobe light and alerted shipmates, who rescued the sailor. “I pretty much saved his life,” Duvall remembered. “That’s something that I can take back to my family as something good that came out of the deployment. I felt good about myself. If I hadn’t really been paying attention, he probably would have been long gone.” The victim suffered a ruptured spleen; however, a surgical team from the Medical Department performed an emergency procedure and stabilized him.

 

24 Sep–3 Oct 2000: Abraham Lincoln relieved aircraft carrier George Washington (CVN-73) and participated in Southern Watch and MIOs. As the ship passed through the Strait of Hormuz, Vice Adm. Charles W. Moore, Jr., Commander Fifth Fleet, made an overnight visit to the carrier to meet her leadership and to explain firsthand to the crew the purpose of their mission in the Gulf. During this period Abraham Lincoln recorded 557 aircraft launches and 598 recoveries, and crash and salvage crews responded to nine flight deck emergencies. Fist 411, however, an F/A-18C (BuNo 164681), Lt. Bruce J. Donald, a 27-year-old pilot from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., assigned to VFA-25, crashed shortly after taking off from Abraham Lincoln for a routine test on carrier landings (at 1030 on 29 September). Donald perished in the accident, though searchers recovered his body, which enabled his family to intern the pilot in Arlington National Cemetery (17 October). Helos and four ships sought for the wreckage; however, although they discovered small fragments of debris in the water, they could not locate the bulk of the aircraft. Richard Cochrane, a 27-year-old naval flight officer and classmate from the 1995 class of the Naval Academy, ran the 25th Marine Corps Marathon in tribute to his friend. And at one point during these operations, the carrier received her initial Guided Bomb Unit modified Command Rack and Launcher Test set upgrades for modified F-14D Tomcat weapons rails.

 

4–7 Oct 2000: The ship visited Jebel Ali. Some sailors visited an area of shops, beverage stands and vendors that they dubbed “The Sand Box” due to the lack of amenities and liberty options ashore. Nonetheless, they played softball and basketball, and participated in go-kart races and rode camels.

 

8 Oct 2000–1 Jan 2001: Abraham Lincoln supported Southern Watch, and accomplished 4,643 aircraft launches and 4,643 recoveries, while crash and salvage sailors responded to 57 flight deck emergencies. During the year, aircraft flew 1,468 combat sorties from the ship and dropped more than 4.7 million pounds of ordnance on Iraqi troops during Southern Watch missions, including 18 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs) and 16 Paveway II guided bomb units, in response option strikes. This also became the first time that the carrier deployed with GPS guided JDAMs and JSOWs as part of ammunition allowances. When the ship later received the Meritorious Unit Commendation for these battles, the citation noted that her pilots and aircrew did so while “in the face of live enemy fire,” and that the sailors of the battle group used a policy of “continuous presence and deterrence,” and demonstrated “extraordinary dedication to duty, aggressively enforced United Nations sanctions.” As Abraham Lincoln completed these operations, terrorists struck at guided missile destroyer Cole (DDG-67) as she refueled in Aden, Yemen, en route to Bahrain with the George Washington Carrier Battle Group, on 12 October 2000. A pair of suicide bombers brought their small inflatable Zodiac-type boat alongside the anchored ship and detonated their lethal cargo, killing 17 Americans and wounding 39 more. The blast flooded engineering spaces but gallant damage control efforts by the crew saved the ship, and she later returned to the U.S. for repairs. Due to enhanced force protection training and preparations, the G-2 Division provided small arms protection for the ship during crucial transits, such as the Strait of Hormuz. Over 85 sailors of the Weapons Department qualified in the employment and use of Browning M2 .50 caliber and M60 machine guns, to defend against attacks by small boats and low-slow flying aircraft, threats that sailors of the battle group did not normally train for. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen visited the carrier (16 November). “I’m here because I want to meet you and thank you for the service that you provide to our country…I know that I’m sending you out to a dangerous area,” he said. “I speak of danger because [the attack on] the [USS] Cole is most recent on my mind, and probably most recent in yours.” At one point during operations in the hot and arid Middle East, No. 6 Air Conditioning Unit overheated, which caused significant damage to electrical components which supplied it power, and which the system usually cooled, but EMs from the Power Shop repaired the system within a day. At another point, sailors noted unusual noise and vibration on No. 9 sliding padeye, and completed depot level repair and testing that kept the crucial underway replenishment equipment operational, and ensured that maximum stores and ammunition transfers allowed the carrier to remain on station. In addition, the ship’s historian noted that sailors maintained damage control training at an “obscene pace” through the deployment. A nurse anesthetist embarked during the first three months of the deployment, and an anesthetist joined the ship during the final three months. The ship spent part of the holidays in port at Jebel Ali. The heightened terrorist threat, however, required sailors to man additional security positions, and gunners manned M60s even over Christmas, but the ship’s historian referred to their service as “the cornerstone of Abraham Lincoln’s force protection measures 24 hours a day, every day...” The ship launched her last Southern Watch flights and came about for Australian waters (29 December).

 

11–16 Jan 2001: The ship visited Perth, Australia, where some MSs spent two days working in the restaurants of the Rendezvous Hotel.

 

20–25 Jan 2001: Abraham Lincoln put into Hobart, Tasmania, where she hosted a reception for 400 guests and dignitaries in Hanger Bay 2. Crewmembers spoke about the wonderful reception that the Australians gave them, and agreed that they looked forward to future visits.

 

23–27 Mar 2001: The ship visited Esquimalt. As she came about for home, Abraham Lincoln embarked passengers for a family cruise.

 

11 Apr–15 Oct 2001: Abraham Lincoln completed PIA 2001, a planned incremental availability, at Bremerton. Barracks craft APL-62 spent much of the availability berthed nearby to provide sailors accommodations during the work, though crewmembers jokingly referred to her as “the barge.” The Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department established a support equipment rework detachment ashore at Everett to overhaul gear. Meanwhile, Al Qaeda terrorists attacked the United States (11 September). Saudi émigré terrorist Usama bin Lāden and others developed al-Qāidah (al Qaeda; The Base) in the early 1980s to support the war in Afghanistan against the Soviets. They refocused their hatred against the United States and its allies after the expulsion of the Marxist regime from that country. One of the primary goals of their extremist interpretations of Islam became driving American forces, which they perceived as representing America’s “infidel” policies–which the terrorists also deemed inconsistent with their Islamic extremism–out of Saudi Arabia and its neighbors. Altogether, the terrorist atrocities, which survivors dubbed ‘9/11,’ murdered upward of 2,750 people from as many as 86 nations. ETC Mark Lind on board Abraham Lincoln had neared the end of his enlistment when the terrorists struck. “When I returned home on 9/11,” Lind recalled, “I spoke to my wife and children. Everyone was upset – the kids were crying. My son, Daniel, 13, looked at me and said. ‘Dad, I guess you’re not retiring. I said, ‘I think you’re right son.” The next day the chief called the Navy Personnel Command and asked that they rescind his retirement papers. “When I looked at all the young people I was recruiting to serve their country, I realized that it would take them 20 years to learn what I know.” Lind deployed with the ship in 2002.

 

15–18 Oct 2001: The ship accomplished sea trials.

 

31 Dec 2001: During the year the Medical Department treated two sailors for falling overboard and evacuated 16 others for further treatment. The ship’s Walking Blood Bank also recorded their highest numbers of volunteers to date–386.

 

14 Jan–7 Feb 2002: Abraham Lincoln participated in CompTuEx in Californian waters. A sailor fell overboard as the ship performed carrier qualifications in southern Californian waters, approximately 90 miles west of San Diego. In addition, about 400 sailors presented to Sick Bay at various times with viral gastroenteritis. One of the key elements of CompTuEx directed the ship’s carrier intelligence center to operate with men of Alpha Platoon from Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) Team 1. The SEALs conducted a special reconnaissance mission that took them to San Clemente Island, about 75 miles northwest of San Diego. For three days and nights the SEALs dug-in and gathered intelligence, transmitting imagery and data to the carrier. The final phase of the exercise taxed participants to their limits, as officers changed the intelligence gathering missions to a scenario that included rescuing two downed airmen. The SEALs found the men and a pair of Seahawks from HS-4 swept in and extracted the SEALs and their rescued victims. Training with the SEALs broadened sailors and gave them valuable experience which would help them during fighting against the Iraqis, and IS2 James Hartje detached from the ship for a month ashore to work with Naval Special Warfare Command to familiarize himself with some of their communications and operational procedures. And during the exercise some Distribution work center sailors also flew to Shiloh to aid in troubleshooting and repairing an SH-60B AESS station.

 

5 Apr 2002: Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England visited the ship, where he spoke to crewmembers in an “All Hands” muster during the forenoon watch.

 

14 Apr–22 May 2002: The ship sailed from NS Everett for Northern Edge, a multi-threat scenario acted out in Alaskan waters. She accomplished carrier qualifications while en route to the northern Pacific (14-17 April), and then took part in JTFEx (4-14 May) as she returned to NAS North Island (14-15 May), before she came about for Everett. Meanwhile, the Navy announced that the service would equip several thousand sailors of the Abraham Lincoln and George Washington Carrier Battle groups the Man Overboard Indicator (MOBI) system, a salt-water activated device to track people who fell overboard. The success of the experiments would determined whether the Navy would introduce MOBI’s Fleet-wide.

 

24 Jul 2002: Abraham Lincoln deployed to the western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf. A number of vessels joined her at various times over subsequent days as she sailed westward, including guided missile cruisers Mobile Bay (CG-53) and Shiloh, guided missile destroyer Paul Hamilton (DDG-60), Fletcher and Camden. In addition, VFA-115 embarked with 12 F/A-18E Super Hornets, and HC-5 embarked with two MH-60S Seahawks, marking the first deployment of these types of aircraft on board the ship. The carrier also put to sea with her first F414-GE-400 Super Hornet Jet Engine Test Instrumentation Cell, and 1,000 pound class JDAMs for use with F/A-18Es. As they set sail, Lt. Corey L. Pritchard of VFA-115 accomplished the initial deployed Super Hornet trap on board the carrier during a series of carrier qualifications over the first few days. The squadron dedicated their deployment to the memory of the firefighters of Ladder Company 4 of Midtown Manhattan, which lost 15 men to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. At one point, sailors painted the names of 12 of these heroes onto each of their Super Hornets to honor the firemen, and some also adopted one of the firehouse’s slogans for their cruise patches: “Pride of Midtown. Never Missed a Performance.” Abraham Lincoln deployed with the Naval Fires Network, a network-centric warfare system designed to provide real time intelligence correlation, sensor control, target generation, mission planning and battle damage assessment capabilities. In addition, the system allowed ships in the battle group to hit ‘time critical targets’ (for example, terrorists attempting to escape), and share real time targeting and intelligence data with each other. Previous battles against the Iraqis and Serbs had underscored the need to hit what analysts also referred to as ‘rapidly relocatable targets.’ The carrier and Mobile Bay deployed with the MOBI system, and during the cruise Shiloh used the Area Air Defense Control system.

 

14–20 Aug 2002: As the ship visited Sasebo, Japan (16-19 August), three F/A-18C Hornets from VFA-25 flew ashore to Kadena AFB for an air-to-air training detachment.

 

23–27 Aug 2002: The carrier put in to Hong Kong.

 

31 Aug–5 Sep 2002: The ship visited Singapore en route to the Indian Ocean.

 

11–21 Sep 2002: Abraham Lincoln entered the Fifth Fleet and relieved George Washington on the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Two days later, Capt. Kevin C. Albright, Commander CVW-14, and Comdr. Jeffrey R. Penfield, the commanding officer of VFA-115, flew the first Super Hornet sorties from the ship as she sailed in the northern Arabian Sea, on a mission against militants in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, operations against al-Qāidah terrorists in and around Afghanistan and those who supported them. Penfield later received the Bronze Star for his flights against the enemy during this deployment. At one point during these missions, a Prowler from VAQ-139 accomplished the squadron’s first field landing with night vision goggles, at Bagram AB, Afghanistan. But Catapult Nos 2 and 3 developed leaks due to in service wear and corrosion of a 2 inch trough heating drain, which forced sailors to laboriously repair the gear and return the systems to full operation while underway. In addition, Jet Blast Deflector No. 1 failed due to improper manufacture of an actuator base that opened and closed the deflector. The problem destroyed substantial cooling piping and brass fittings, but sailors restored the vital system within 12 hours. At about 1330, however, an aircraft flare dispenser ignited near the bomb farm on the flight deck (18 October). AWSC Randy Horner, the Ordnance Division’s leading chief petty officer, reacted quickly and grabbed the burning cylinder, ran 20 yards to the edge of the flight deck and tossed the device overboard. Normally used with F-14 Tomcats as decoys for heat-seeking missiles, the flares contained 80 internal units that burned at 1,600 degrees. “By the time I reached it, about 20 or 30 of [the internal units] were burning,” Horner recalled. “When I grabbed the handle [of the dispenser], it burned my hands a little, like grabbing a hot pan with the water boiling over.” Shipmates raced over to help the sailor control the potential conflagration. Horner’s rapid reactions averted what could have escalated into a terrible fire, and he received the Navy Achievement Medal for his actions, his sixth such award during the senior chief’s 25 years of service. After Abraham Lincoln launched her last combat mission over Afghanistan the next day, she came about for the Arabian Gulf.

 

25–28 Oct 2002: The ship visited Bahrain.

 

29 Oct–4 Dec 2002: The ship fought in Southern Watch. Lt. John Turner, a 34-year-old Super Hornet pilot, and Lt. Eric Doyle of VFA-115, flew the first Super Hornet combat live-fire actions from the ship, in Aircraft No. 202 and Aircraft No. 206 (6 November). The men dropped four Mk 84 (GBU-31 [guided bomb unit] (V) 4, J109 target penetrator) 2,000 pound JDAMs against an Iraqi command and control facility near Tallil, and two surface-to-air missile systems near Al Kut, both locations situated to the southeast of Baghdad, in response to Iraqi provocations against coalition aircraft. Gen. Tommy R. Franks, USA, Commander Central Command, led a troupe of United Services Organization (USO) entertainers on board that included singers Wayne Newton and Neal McCoy, comedian Paul Rodriquez and two Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, to share the Thanksgiving holidays with the crew (26 November). Paul Hamilton sailed alongside the carrier, which also enabled her crew to enjoy some of the entertainment. After aircraft flew their last Southern Watch mission, the ship came about for the Arabian Sea.

 

Dec 2002: At one point, a small Class “A” fire broke out in the Socket Pouring Room. The fire damaged overhead lighting fixtures and burned cableway for No. 4 ACE control, indication and stanchions, though sailors controlled the blaze without casualties. As ongoing negotiations with the Iraqis, however, concerning Saddam Hussein and his Ba’ath party cronies, and their abuses of human rights and weapons of mass destruction program (which many analysts at the time perceived as a substantive menace) appeared to deteriorate, rumors circulated across the media that the Navy would extend the ship’s deployment. Sailors struggled with homesickness and longed to share Christmas with families, but anticipated longer separations. “Just focus on the day,” Capt. Kendall L. Card, the skipper, counseled his crew. “Keep your head on the swivel.” As tensions among crewmembers mounted, the captain added “Get over it” to emphasize their commitment to the war. Sailors began to joke about the phrase to momentarily alleviate homesickness, and some started to wear t-shirts sporting the skippers’ expression.

 

22–28 Dec 2002: The ship visited Perth.

 

1 Jan 2003: The Navy announced that it would extend Abraham Lincoln’s deployment. The strike group commander passed the word over the 1MC during the evening of New Year’s Day, a heavy blow to crewmembers as they looked forward to reunions with loved ones at home. Officials added that at least two carrier battle groups and two amphibious ready groups would need to be ready to sail for the Arabian Gulf with only 96 hour’s notice, a clear indication of failing negotiations with the Iraqis.

 

6–20 Jan 2003: The ship conducted an extended visit to Fremantle, during which VFA-115 sent some Super Hornets to the Royal Australian Air Force station at Pearce to train with their Australian counterparts (14-19 January). Although crewmembers labored replacing non-skid on the flight deck, many sailors commented on the extraordinary Australian hospitality that they received, and how much they enjoyed their visits to Perth and Fremantle. The Boat and Airplane Crane rotational cable-connecting pin broke (at a connection point inside the cableway sheath), however, technicians worked on the crane and repaired it on all but one of the days of the stay in port. The Navy also flew in a depot repair team from Puget Sound Naval Shipyard to help crewmembers rebuild and replace components of No. 4 Maine Engine Attached Lube Oil Pump.

 

1 Feb–18 Mar 2003: The ship participated in Southern Watch. Abraham Lincoln sailed initially with Constellation until Kitty Hawk later joined them, and the three carriers and their screens maneuvering in the constricted waters of the Gulf provided challenging navigational dilemmas to their sailors. Acting Secretary of the Navy Hansford T. Johnson visited the ship (20 February), and Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition John Young, followed him the next day (21 February). Sailors alternated stressful situations with boredom during the weary hours at sea, and 18-year-old SN Tamekia Dixon of Columbia, S.C., described her long watches as she manned an M60: “I’m just trying to keep my eye out for stuff – helicopters, planes and boats. Lately, we’ve been seeing a lot of jellyfish.” Some sailors joked about routines that became so unbearable and repetitive that they dubbed them Groundhog Day, after the Bill Murray film where he finds himself experiencing the same day over and over again. As war approached and the crew began experiencing frayed nerves, the skipper authorized some “down time” (11 March). Cool rain fell lightly as some fighter pilots watched a marathon of the popular television situation comedy Seinfeld and played backgammon, while other sailors drove golf balls off the flight deck; some tossed a football around and others wrote e-mails to loved ones at home. The coalition prepared to launch the initial strikes of Operation Iraqi Freedom, which resulted in the largest deployment of combatant naval aviation forces since Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm/Desert Sabre (17 March). The Iraqis failed to comply with UN resolutions, which led the Congress in October 2002, to authorize President George W. Bush to use the military to enforce Iraqi compliance with these decisions. Saddam Hussein’s regime continued to disregard warnings to eliminate offensive weapons, and the President issued an ultimatum demanding that Hussein and his sons leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so precipitated Iraqi Freedom two days later. The British supported their allies with Operation Telic. Meanwhile, Abraham Lincoln assisted guided missile frigate Reuben James (FFG-57) to repair and align her AN-SPS-49 air search radar, which reestablished full air defense support for the group as they entered the war. Sailors from the carrier also helped shipmates from Constellation and Kitty Hawk.

 

18 Mar 2003: CNO Adm. Vernon E. Clark sent sailors and marines about to thrust into Iraq a personal message: “The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat. But we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety.” The admiral also noted that seven of the Navy’s 12 aircraft carriers, nine of the 12 “big deck” amphibious assault ships, together with hundreds of aircraft, deployed for the massive confrontation, a total of more than 200 allied ships and submarines from five carrier strike groups[iii], three amphibious ready groups, and two amphibious task forces. More than 130 sealift ships also sailed to support the armada, all of which Adm. Clark observed would not have been possible without sailors and marines and their “energy, expertise and dedication. You are proving everyday the unique and lasting value of decisive, sovereign, lethal forces projecting offensive and defensive power from the vast maneuver area that is the sea.”

 

19–20 Mar 2003: The coalition began Iraqi Freedom with selective strikes aimed at Saddam Hussein and his key leaders. Guided missile cruisers Bunker Hill (CG-52) and Cowpens, guided missile destroyers Donald Cook (DDG-75) and Milius (DDG-69) and attack submarines Cheyenne (SSN-773) and Montpelier (SSN-765) fired TLAMs while sailing in the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf, and aircraft flew from ashore and aircraft carriers as part of what the Pentagon announced as a “decapitation strategy” aimed at killing key Iraqi leaders and thereby shortening the war and saving lives. Cowpens alone fired a devastating salvo of 11 missiles just before dawn. “On my orders,” President Bush explained from the Oval Office, “coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein’s ability to wage war.” The President addressed a personal appeal to the men and women of the armed forces as they set out upon the conflict: “The peace of a troubled world and the hopes of an oppressed people now depend on you. That trust is well placed. The enemies you confront will soon know your skill and bravery. The people you liberate will witness the honorable and decent spirit of the American military.” Aircraft No. 202, Lt. Comdr. David Little and Lt. Robert Kihm of VFA-115, accomplished the first Super Hornet quantity four drop of GBU-31 (V) 2, J84 JDAMs during a mission, and squadron Super Hornets normally launched carrying the destructive firepower of up to four 2,000 pound JDAMs each. Newly installed radar warning receivers, together with extra chaff and flares, towed missile decoys, radar jammers and additional fuel, gave these Super Hornets unparalleled flexibility, reach and effectiveness. AT3 Jose Maldonado, a sailor from Dwight D. Eisenhower temporary serving on board Abraham Lincoln in her aircraft intermediate maintenance department, observed that crewmembers briefly overcame homesickness and uncertainties to concentrate on the task at hand: “The morale in my shop went up. Everyone is motivated today.” Maldonado stressed that his shipmates did not celebrate the waste of war, but rather their opportunity to help the oppressed Iraqi people. “I hope they will be free like we are,” the young man reflected. “Hopefully, they will see the Americans that we are, and not the ones we’re portrayed to be in the Middle East.” Crewmembers ran the gamut of experience, and one sailor, SA Curtis Blunck, had only reported on board five days earlier as the ship went to war. The men and women of the allied forces also had to contend with a shamal, a strong sandstorm that swept across portions of southern Iraq, only dissipating by the end of the day (19 March). In some instances wind and sand reduced visibility to mere yards, grounded many aircraft and choked people caught in its path, and people struggled to breathe in the oppressing tempest. As the shamal blew itself out, however, the clearing skies presented additional problems to pilots flying into the teeth of Iraqi air defenses, because the moon and starlight made them better targets to the optical guidance of Iraqi gunners.

 

20–21 Mar 2003: Beginning around 2100, the allies hit the Iraqis with their principal assault, known as A [Air]-Day, though journalists seized upon the phrase “shock and awe” to describe the devastating firepower that the alliance unleashed. Some 780 Navy and marine aircraft flew 13,893 sorties on A-Day. Task Force 50, which comprised the Abraham Lincoln, Constellation and Kitty Hawk Carrier Strike Groups, steamed in the Arabian Gulf, while the Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) and Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Groups operated in the Mediterranean. Guided missile destroyer John S. McCain (DDG-56), and attack submarines Columbia and Providence (SSN-719) and British HMS Spendid (S-106) and HMS Turbulent (S-87), fired about 50 TLAMs against targets in and around Baghdad. Strike planners deconflicted the routes of aircraft and TLAMs to avoid fratricide (hitting ‘friendlies’) as the missiles arced over the horizon toward the recalcitrant Iraqis. The air corridors crossing the country that naval aviators nicknamed “driveways” became so crowded at times that aircraft flew carefully to avoid colliding with each other. Although Iraqi pilots wisely avoided opposing their allied counterparts in the air, the Iraqis fired hundreds of SAMs and countless rounds from over 6,000 anti-aircraft guns. Coalition planners divided Iraqi air defense zones into missile engagement zones (MEZs), and pilots nicknamed the heavily defended area around the capital the “Baghdad Super MEZ.” EA-6B Prowlers destroyed or negated enemy electronic warfare and radar capabilities so thoroughly that not a single Iraqi missile successfully locked on and guided to its target. The intensity of the fighting led to inevitable confusion and at one point Lt. Comdr. Ken O’Donnell, who flew a Prowler, recalled that 13 or 14 aircraft stacked up as they awaited their turns at an aerial refueling tanker. “Everyone was getting low [on fuel],” O’Donnell explained, “It was getting kind of tense up there.” Lt. Shannon Callahan, an electronic countermeasures officer with VAQ-139, also described their suppression of enemy air defenses missions: “That was a big task, to protect the strikers when they went into Baghdad, because it was so heavily protected. To send a strike into Baghdad was a very dangerous thing, and that’s why you had to have a Prowler there.” Air power ripped apart Iraqi defenses and drove their troops out of positions and into the open. Once they exposed them, aircraft prevented the Iraqis from retreating fast enough to escape advancing coalition troops, who often overwhelmed them in savage firefights. A pair of F/A-18C Hornets from VFA-113, embarked on board Abraham Lincoln, knocked-out Iraqi SAMs at Al-Taqquedam airfield in the heart of the Baghdad Super MEZ with a salvo of HARMs, at 2135, which enabled other strike aircraft to pulverize their targets. The combination of jamming and HARMs from allied aircraft meant that the Iraqis could not lock onto or guide any of their missiles into aircraft. And special operators achieved one of the unsung victories of the war during the first few days of the fighting as they seized most of the Iraqi oil fields and refineries intact before Hussein could sabotage them as he had during Gulf War I. The Iraqis retaliated for the invasion, however, and fired a tactical ballistic missile into Kuwait, but Army PAC-3 Phased Array Tracking Intercept of Target (Patriot) missiles shot down the intruding weapon at about 0100 in what Central Command described as two “bright orange flashes.” Alert ordnance sailors on board Abraham Lincoln discovered that the stresses of dropping 2,000 pound JDAMs broke the linkages of seven BRU-32 bomb racks. The sailors quickly launched an investigation and notified other Navy commands, which minimized the impact of the problem on other aircraft carriers and possibly saved lives and aircraft. Commanders tasked Abraham Lincoln to provide communication support to the British Royal Navy, which required sailors to interface with the British “Brent” telephone system to launch coordinated TLAM attacks. Meanwhile, coalition aircraft not only bombed enemy airfields, but in an unusual departure also struck a variety of other targets, including: targets in and around Baghdad, Kirkuk, Mosul and Tikrit; an air defense center equipped with mobile early-warning radar in western Iraq; an air traffic control center in al-Basrah; communications sites near Ash Shuaybah, Mudaysis and Ruwayshid; long-range artillery deployed near Az Zubayr and emplaced on the al-Fāw Peninsula (also known as al-Fāo); and surface-to-surface missiles near al-Basrah. In between the strikes an eerie stillness descended upon the capital, broken by the roar of frequent explosions or the wail of air-raid sirens as allied bombs and missiles pounded targets. People largely deserted Baghdad’s streets, with the exception of isolated knots of soldiers and Republican Guardsmen who manned security checkpoints or huddled together to wait out the carnage. Many fires burned out of control, and lit the sky with an infernal glow.

 

21 Mar 2003: Iraqi antiaircraft gunners fired wildly at aircraft from the ship as a strike roared in on targets. “It looked like a string of 50 firecrackers that all went off at the same time,” Lt. Eric Doyle, a 29-year-old Super Hornet pilot from Houston, Tex., described the heavy fire. “Like mini-space shuttles going up. And the plumes – the plumes of flame trailing them!” Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, USA, Vice Director for Operations on the Joint Staff, revealed that allied forces had launched the largest use of precision guided munitions ever deployed to date. USAF Boeing B-52H Stratofortresses had dropped about 100 AGM-86C conventional air-launched cruise missiles, and altogether, Air Force aircraft, including Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirits, Lockheed Martin F-117A Nighthawks, McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagles and F-15E Strike Eagles, and Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons, flew approximately 2,000 missions, about half of them strike tasks that hit nearly 1,500 ‘aimpoints’ during the first 24 hours of the war (individual targets could comprise multiple aimpoints). British Tornado GR4s, Sepecat GR3 Jaguars and Harrier GR7s were among allied strike aircraft that also flew dangerous missions over Iraq. Allied aircraft dropped large numbers of JDAMs, both those fitted with penetrating and those with non-penetrating warheads. In addition, 30 U.S. and British ships and subs let loose a staggering barrage of about 400 TLAMs against Iraqi military targets: guided missile cruisers Bunker Hill, Cowpens, Mobile Bay, San Jacinto (CG-56) and Shiloh; guided missile destroyers Arleigh Burke, Donald Cook, Higgins, John S. McCain, Milius, O’Kane (DDG-77), Oscar Austin (DDG-79), Paul Hamilton and Porter (DDG-78), destroyers Briscoe (DD-977), Deyo (DD-989) and Fletcher, and attack submarines Augusta (SSN-710), Cheyenne, Columbia, Key West (SSN-722), Louisville (SSN-724), Montpelier, Newport News (SSN-750), Pittsburgh (SSN-720), Providence, San Juan (SSN-751) and Toledo (SSN-769), together with British boats HMS Spendid and HMS Turbulent.

 

22 Mar 2003: Despite intense fire from numerous Iraqi gunners and SAMs, VFA-113 led a strike that destroyed the Ba’ath Party headquarters, which comprised 12 critical targets in four different cities, using JDAMs. Meanwhile, during a briefing at Central Command at Doha, Qatar, Gen. Franks outlined allied military objectives for Iraqi Freedom:

 

“First, end the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Second, to identify, isolate and eliminate Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

Third, to search for, to capture and to drive out terrorists from that country.

Fourth, to collect such intelligence as we can related to terrorist networks.

Fifth, to collect such intelligence as we can related to the global network of illicit weapons of mass destruction.

Sixth, to end sanctions and to immediately deliver humanitarian support to the displaced and to many needy Iraqi citizens.

Seventh, to secure Iraq’s oil fields and resources, which belong to the Iraqi people.

And last, to help the Iraqi people create conditions for a transition to a representative government.”

 

The general added that the fighting would be “unlike any other in history, a campaign characterized by shock, by surprise, by flexibility, by the employment of precise munitions on a scale never before seen, and by the application of overwhelming force.”

 

23–27 Mar 2003: An enormous low-pressure cyclonic storm front roared across Egypt and Saudi Arabia and hit the southern half of the region with a fierce turab (similar to a shamal, though originating from the south rather then from the north), which blew fine dust and sand at high winds into everything in its path. At one point, a polar-orbiting satellite captured an image of the turab covering almost the entire southern half of Iraq and most of Kuwait. Thick dust covered people and equipment with an ochre haze and permeated into exposed skin and gear, which caused numerous maintenance problems, and at times, visibility dropped to 0/0. During the afternoon watch (26 March), the turab twirled and spun from sea level all the way up to 8,000 feet, and completely blanketed the ship as aircraft recovered on board with mere seconds to spare. Capt. Card shifted Abraham Lincoln almost 30 miles as he vainly attempted to outrun the storm, but the turab caught up with the ship and her commanding officer grimly resolved to continue flight operations despite the appalling conditions. The storm affected 12 aircraft returning to the carrier and 11 more launching during these critical hours. The captain manned the bridge and closely eyed the cauldron, shifting his gaze between the windows and a closed-circuit television monitor that recorded the tense scenes on the flight deck. Lookouts could barely see beyond the ship as the fighting ashore continued unabated. “This is a commanding officer and pilot’s nightmare,” Lt. Comdr. Mark Eckardt, Abraham Lincoln’s senior meteorologist, reflected, as he stood next to the skipper to keep him up to date on the turbulent weather. “These will be the hardest flights of your life,” Capt. Albright told the sailors of his wing, “But the guys on the ground are getting killed and they need us.” Occasionally, flight controllers had no recourse but to direct aircraft to orbit, in the hope that they could experience a momentary break in the weather that would enable them to land. “That was the most disconcerting thing,” Comdr. Dale E. Horan, a 39-year-old Super Hornet pilot from VFA-115, recalled, “You’re doing a lot of math at that point in the sky [to determine remaining fuel status].” Aircraft No. 202, Lt. John Turner, circled over his target with Lt. Steven Dean, a 29-year-old fellow Super Hornet pilot, until they received strike orders and dropped a pair of GBU-31 (V) 2, J84 JDAMs on Iraqi troops south of Karbala, about 60 miles south of Baghdad. As they returned to Abraham Lincoln, they flew into the maelstrom surrounding the carrier and Turner trapped, climbed out of his aircraft, and noted that his knees shook from the stress. “These are the most adverse conditions I’ve ever faced” he admitted. The tempest wreaked havoc with operations and seriously curtailed air missions at a time when troops on the ground desperately needed every aircraft in support. Even further north the weather deteriorated so badly that pilots described the rigors of trying to rendezvous with tankers while flying through thunderstorms and swirling dust. “So here are the tankers up at 40,000 feet with these baskets flailing about out there on the wingtips in bad weather” Rear Adm. Stufflebeem explained. “And the guys having a long run to get there and then trying to safely get tanked and then into the fight and then back to tanking. That was a huge challenge for them...” Nonetheless, Gen. Franks learned that the turab immobilized many of the Iraqi troops including crack Republican Guardsmen preparing to counterattack, as winds from the south blew dust into their faces, and he attempted to make the weather work for the coalition. “That night [25 March] B-52s, B-1s and a whole range of fighter-bombers flew above the dense ochre dome of the sandstorm,” the general recalled, “delivering precision-guided bombs through the zero-visibility, zero-ceiling weather. … The bombardment, which lasted from the night of March 25 to the morning of March 27, was one of the fiercest and most effective in the history of warfare.” Strikes broke-up enemy troop concentrations so decisively that the Iraqis failed to mount coordinated, large-scale counterattacks.

 

24 Mar 2003: Rear Adm. John M. Kelly, commanding Task Force 50, announced that aircraft had flown about 550 sorties from the decks of Abraham Lincoln, Constellation and Kitty Hawk. The long ranges that they flew consumed fuel at such rates that officers discovered that they required additional aerial tankers, which forced them to temporarily configure four Super Hornets as tankers. During typical aerial refueling missions, these Super Hornets could bypass the need to delay in tanker tracks and transfer up to 12,000 pounds of fuel to thirsty strike aircraft, which allowed these aircraft to hit targets and receive what VFA-115 referred to as “back side fuel” from supporting Vikings on their return flights. In addition, a USAF MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) destroyed an Iraqi radar-guided ZSU-23-4 antiaircraft artillery piece outside Al Amarah in southern Iraq with an AGM-114K Hellfire II missile, the first UAV strike of Iraqi Freedom. Without facing Iraqi opposition in the air, aircraft could concentrate on flying close air support missions for soldiers and marines on the ground locked in grueling battles with Iraqi troops, jihādis (foreign Muslim volunteers) and Fedayeen Saddam (Iraqi fanatics headed by Hussein’s eldest son Uday). These hold-outs used women and children as human shields, drove suicide vehicles against allied troops, and organized ‘death squads’ that roamed across the country brutally murdering dissenters to the Ba’aths.

 

25 Mar 2003: Iraqi troops of the Medina Republican Guard Tank Division took advantage of fierce weather to launch a determined attack against soldiers of the Army’s V Corps. Although they faced 0/0 visibility that grounded many coalition aircraft, VFA-113 persevered through heavy overcast and hit the Iraqis repeatedly, halting the thrust.

 

25–26 Mar 2003: U.S. and Turkish negotiators resolved most over-flight issues, which greatly facilitated the problems which allied aircraft encountered to date flying over the northern battles. The routes over the southern half of the country continued as a tangle of conflicting channels, with an average of as many as 70 aircraft flying from Abraham Lincoln, Constellation and Kitty Hawk simultaneously crossing over the limited air space during heavy strikes. Air traffic controllers on board the carriers had to ‘sequence’ aircraft; separate them specified distances to avoid mid-air collisions, a demanding task that the rigors of war made more difficult.

 

26 Mar 2003: Coalition aircraft struck nine Iraqi surface-to-surface missiles and launchers in Baghdad with precision guided munitions. The Iraqis attempted to hide the weapons within a residential area, and callously positioned them barely 300 feet from homes in the hope that the allies would not target the missiles in an attempt to protect civilians from collateral damage.

 

28 Mar 2003: Coalition aircraft blasted nine meeting places that intelligence analysts had identified Ba’ath party officials and paramilitary chiefs favoring, killing an estimated 200 Iraqi leaders and bodyguards. Special operations troops on the ground provided coordinates to the targets, all of which were located to the northeast of al-Basrah an important port and crossroads of commerce in the south of the country. Naval aircraft helped marines defeat a ferocious attack by Iraqi irregulars supported by armored personnel carriers, rockets and AAA, at An Nasiriyah. At about 1500, a pair of Hornets knocked out three Iraqi Al Samoud surface-to-surface missile launchers, approximately 25 miles northwest of Al Basrah. Additional strikes supported allied troops locked in firefights with Iraqi troops and Fedayeen Saddam in the Rutbah and Samawah areas, and air assaults dropped 1,000 pound bombs on Republican Guardsmen deployed around Baghdad, destroying missile sites and fuel depots. Meanwhile, President Bush signed an amendment to Executive Order 10448 of 22 April 1953, which authorized eligibility for the National Defense Service Medal to members in good standing in the Selected Reserve. The beginning date for eligibility was 11 September 2001, through a termination date to be determined.

 

29 Mar 2003: TLAMs struck the Iraqi Ministry of Information in Baghdad, which the Iraqi regime utilized for command and control.

 

30 Mar 2003: Two F/A-18E Super Hornets, piloted by Lt. Comdr. Hal Schmitt and Lt. Comdr. Jason Norris of VFA-14, and two F/A-18Fs flown by Lt. Comdr. Brian Garrison and Lt. Comdr. Mark Weisgerber, and Lt. Tom Poulter and Lt. Tom Brodine, all four men from VFA-41, temporarily shifted from Nimitz to Abraham Lincoln. They made the move to provide the ship with an improved mix of fighter-tanker capabilities, but the transfer involved an exhausting 1,700 mile flight. This move brought the total number of Super Hornets embarked on board the ship up to 16 aircraft. The detachment returned to Nimitz after she arrived in Gulf waters (6 April). Meanwhile, multiple USAF B-52Hs, Rockwell (Boeing) B-1B Lancers and B-2As bombed the same area at the same time as part of a single strike package, the first such raid ever accomplished. The bombers plastered leadership and command and control targets in Baghdad using precision guided munitions. The scope of these operations ensured that many aircraft from different services and countries supported each other, and naval aircraft often flew with their Air Force counterparts.

 

31 Mar 2003: As the coalition pounded them, many of Saddam Hussein’s cronies attempted to regain control of their collapsing order and lashed out at innocent people caught in the crossfire. One such paramilitary band gathered in an unused prison at Ar Rutbah, in western Iraq, to prepare to strike at civilians nearby. Allied intelligence specialists identified the thugs, however, and aircraft broke up the meeting.

 

Apr 2003: Three brothers maintained the proud tradition of service to the Republic that the five Sullivan brothers of World War II exemplified when all three served on board three different ships simultaneously in the war: 24-year-old night-watch maintenance technician PO3 Melvin Casasola with VFA-25 embarked on board Abraham Lincoln, 27-year-old Livni on board amphibious transport dock ship Dubuque (LPD-8) and 26-year-old Milton on board Constellation. Their mother, Florencia, had fled fighting in Guatemala in 1985 to make a better life for her family, and struggled as a cleaning woman until she attained citizenship, and her sons honored her sacrifice by serving their adopted country.

 

2 Apr 2003: Allied aircraft macerated a heavily secured Iraqi storage facility in the Al Karkh district of Baghdad with 40 JDAMs. The regime’s Special Security Organization, one of several internal security operations responsible for the illicit imprisonment and torture of countless victims, utilized the building for their crimes.

 

3 Apr 2003: F/A-18Fs flying from Abraham Lincoln made the first operational flight of the Super Hornet Fast Tactical Imagery reconnaissance module, during a strike over Iraq.

 

6 Apr 2003: The coalition declared air superiority over all of Iraq. CVW-14 aircraft had dropped over 1.3 million pounds of ordnance on enemy troops.

 

8–12 Apr 2003: Nimitz relieved Abraham Lincoln (8-9 April), which enabled the ship to transit the Strait of Hormuz outbound the same day that coalition forces declared that they had liberated most of Baghdad, and ended her (initial) commitment to Iraqi Freedom (12 April).

 

19–22 Apr 2003: As Abraham Lincoln performed an underway replenishment with Paul Hamilton, the carrier’s Re-Fueling Station No. 21 experienced a casualty on the high-tensioning winch (19 April). This problem prevented the ships from completing their refueling, and interfered with Abraham Lincoln’s ability to support her group. Sailors accomplished what the Deck Department described as “a rigorous overhaul” of the equipment, however, so that they could finish refueling Paul Hamilton several days later (22 April). Meanwhile, aircraft from the ship covered other ships during the war, and six amphibious assault ships: Bataan (LHD-5), Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), Boxer (LHD-4), Kearsarge (LHD-3), Saipan (LHA-2) and Tarawa (LHA-1), sailed with the other 26 ships of Task Force 51 in the Arabian Gulf, which comprised the largest concentration of amphibious vessels to operate together simultaneously since the Korean War (20 April).

 

26–27 Apr 2003: The ship visited NS Pearl Harbor en route to Californian waters.

 

1 May 2003: President Bush arrived on board Abraham Lincoln in Aircraft No. 700, an S-3B Viking (BuNo 159387), piloted by Comdr. John “Loose” (also known as “Skip”) Lussier, the squadron executive officer, and Lt. Ryan Phillips as his flight officer, both from VS-35, and accompanied by a Secret Service agent. At one point during the approximately 30 mile flight from NAS North Island, Lussier turned control of the Viking over to the President, who sat in the co-pilot’s seat wearing a flight suit equipped with a parachute and water survival kit. When journalists asked Lawrence A. [Ari] Fleischer, the White House’s press secretary, just before the historic flight concerning who would fly the aircraft, he replied humorously: “I think the best clue, you know, if the president is actually flying the plane will be to see if the plane is flying on a straight line, you’ll know that the Navy pilot is in charge. If it does anything else, it’s an open question.” Afterward referring to the chief executive’s flying skills, Lussier noted that “He did fly in a straight line, and he flew at a level one, too,” and added that the President and the agent did not become ill during the flight. As he climbed out of the Viking, enthusiastic sailors swarmed the President, shook hands with the chief executive, patted him on the back and offered “high fives.” Officials designated the aircraft, which maintainers had painted with the words “George W. Bush, Commander in Chief,” just below the flight canopy, as ‘Navy 1’ in honor of the President, and donated the Viking to the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, Florida. A huge banner strung across the bridge read: “Mission Accomplished.” Preparing for the President’s visit required technical adjustments that included installing over 5,000 feet of telephone lines to the flight deck, island and hanger bay, to facilitate White House communications for national security considerations, for the Secret Service and their protection of the chief executive, and for the media. Ten Super Hornets from VFA-115 and two from VFA-122 performed a fly by for the President and for their triumph during the war. The President ate a steak-and-lobster dinner with sailors and then addressed the American people that evening from the flight deck of the ship, standing before the two remaining Super Hornets from VFA-115 that had flown against the enemy, and declared an end to major combat operations.

 

“…In this battle,” he also explained proudly, “we have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment – yet, it is you, the members of the United States military, who achieved it. Your courage, your willingness to face danger for your country and for each other, made this day possible. Because of you, our nation is more secure. Because of you, the tyrant is fallen, and Iraq is free. Operation Iraqi Freedom was carried out with a combination of precision, speed and boldness the enemy did not expect and the world had not seen before. From distant bases or ships a sea, we sent planes and missiles that could destroy an enemy division or strike a single building or bunker. Marines and soldiers charged to Baghdad across 350 miles of hostile ground in one of the swiftest mass advances of heavy arms in history. The world has seen the might of the American armed forces…”

 

Critics, however, would later deride the President’s declaration of the end of [major] battles as premature in light of the subsequent insurrection. Each year on the anniversary of the event, detractors would attack the President’s choice of words, and on the eve of the fifth anniversary journalists asked Dana M. Perino, Assistant to the President and Press Secretary at the White House, to address the issue (30 April 2008). “President Bush is well aware,” Perino replied, “that the banner should have been much more specific and said “mission accomplished for these sailors who are on this ship [Abraham Lincoln] on their mission.” And we have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner. And I recognize that the media is going to play this up again tomorrow, as they do every single year.” Some pundits, however, noted his arrival and speech on board the ship as one of the defining moments of the war, and compared the occasion to President Ronald W. Reagan’s challenge at the Berlin Wall: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” (12 June 1987). Despite media allegations or their own personal views on the conflict, most of those on board the ship recalled the incident with pride at their achievement of liberating the Iraqi people from the brutal tyranny of Saddam Hussein’s regime within a matter of weeks. Additional selected members of the cabinet who arrived on board (separately) for the occasion included Dr. Condoleezza Rice, President for National Security Affairs (commonly known as the National Security Advisor), and Andrew H. Card, Jr., White House Chief of Staff.

 

President George W. Bush poses with flight deck crew of the USS Abraham Lincoln May 1, 2003. White House photo by Paul Morse [20030501-15]

20 May 2003: Two fireboats shooting plumes of water faithfully shepherded the ship to Pier 1 at NS Everett as Abraham Lincoln returned from war after a deployment that lasted around nine and a half months (290 days), her longest deployment to date, and an even more difficult and stressful separation for families to endure than her previous cruises. Abraham Lincoln sailed 102,816 nautical miles during the deployment, and recorded 12,700 arrested landings and 16,500 sorties, while aircraft flying from her deck dropped 1.865 million pounds of ordnance during Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom and Southern Watch. And during the initial strikes over Iraq, Super Hornets often dropped up to four 2,000 pound satellite-guided bombs from each aircraft from above 30,000 feet (for relative safety from enemy AAA and SAMs). Comdr. Penfield noted that pilots programmed global positioning system coordinates into the bombs “and let those Volkswagens go.” Super Hornets also demonstrated their versatility by providing over 3.2 million pounds of fuel to other aircraft during the deployment, including 2.3 million pounds in Iraqi Freedom.

 

25 Jun 2003–7 May 2004: The ship completed a drydock planned incremental availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Meanwhile, Super Hornet pilots from VFA-115 traveled to New York City to visit the men of New York Fire Department Engine 54, Ladder 4, and Battalion 9 (10-14 July). The naval aviators dedicated their fight against terrorists to the memory of the firefighters who sacrificed themselves on 9/11, and Lt. Comdr. David Little and Lt. Comdr. James Haigler performed a fly-by of the antisubmarine warfare support aircraft carrier Intrepid (CV-11) museum, as surviving firefighters and their families gathered on the flight deck. In addition, Adm. Walter F. Doran, Commander Pacific Fleet, addressed operational issues during a meeting at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce (13 October), where he referred to deployments by highlighting Abraham Lincoln’s just completed cruise as “too long, and they’re going to be very, very hard to sustain. We need to try to get back to six-month-or-less deployments.” Also during this period the Navy announced that due to “Force Shaping Efforts” resulting from advances in technology, the service would disestablish the Signalman rating (SM), whose sailors had been responsible for visual communications between ships (effective beginning on 30 September and extending by increments into the following year). About 10% of the SMs could convert into the Quartermaster rating (QM), and the remaining sailors rotated into other ratings.  This caused additional burdens temporarily for the sailors of the Navigation Department, however, as they had to cross-train SMs and further in-depth training of QMs in visual communications to assume responsibilities which the SMs had hitherto performed. During the interim, sailors from VFA-115 returned to New York to greet firefighters (December). They presented the men a model of Aircraft No. 200, a Super Hornet that flew against the Iraqis, complete with the fire department markings that the aircraft wore during the battles. The firemen reciprocated by giving the pilots a United States flag that had flown over the World Trade Center site in a ceremony at ‘ground zero.’ As work on Abraham Lincoln extended beyond the initially scheduled deadlines, however, Vice Adm. Phillip M. Balisle, Commander Naval Sea Systems Command, announced that a “lack of attention to detail” delayed her return from drydock, and cited “management failure” as the reason (4 January 2004). The principal causes of the delays included inclement weather, which curtailed painting during rainy days or in periods of high humidity or dew points, and that both rudder posts required repairs, which incurred additional problems. Few U.S. facilities had equipment large or sophisticated enough or calibrated to handle the massive rudder posts, and they had to ship them across country for workers to machine the vital gear, since the carrier’s propeller shafts already occupied the machines at Bremerton. Inspectors then discovered that they had received defective bearings and had to begin the process a second time. These problems delayed her refloating from drydock (pushed back from 16 January to 13 February). The Navy had tasked the 30,000 some workers at the yard with several other key projects, including the conversion of fleet ballistic missile submarine Ohio (SSBN-727) into a guided missile submarine (SSGN-726), and the heavy workload imposed additional burdens on workers that forced them to delay an availability on Nimitz, and to convert fleet ballistic missile submarine Michigan (SSBN-727) into a guided missile submarine (SSGN-727). Vice Adm. Balisle’s comments offended many of these workers and he admitted that he addressed the issues in “a direct, blunt manner.” The admiral also noted his pride at the long shifts that workers completed, and unapologetically explained the crucial timing of returning Abraham Lincoln to sea to fight terrorists: “That said, in times of war, intentions and feelings are a meaningless measure. Delivering the product is the only measure that counts.”

 

June 2004: The ship trained in southern Californian waters. While she completed this sail, more than 80 people from Columbia Pictures, including actors Sam Shepard, Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel and Jamie Foxx, also filmed scenes from the motion picture Stealth on board. The film (tagline: ‘Fear The Sky’) concerned a fictitious Navy project to invent a fighter jet piloted by an artificial intelligence computer that developed a mind of its own, and the Navy charged aviators to stop the rogue weapon before it could strike against mankind. The crew went out of their way to cooperate, but some of the guests experienced difficulty adjusting to shipboard life. “I’ve been lost every day,” Biel said with her inimitable self-deprecating humor. “I still can’t get to my room. I have to ask people all of the time just to help me find the bathroom, but it’s been incredible how helpful everyone has been.” Rob Cohen, the director, also recounted an amusing anecdote. After a long day of filming the exhausted man tried to catch some rest but unfamiliar with the fast-paced tempo of operations at sea, he awoke disoriented from a sound sleep: “They primed the catapults about two in the morning, and I thought, ‘Oh my God, we’ve been torpedoed!’ I jumped so high out of my bunk that I hit my head on the shelf.” Aircraft from 12 squadrons also conducted carrier qualifications on board during this period. Meanwhile, the Navy began to test changes to operational methods with Summer Pulse 04, an exercise designed to investigate the Fleet Response Plan (FRP) of the service’s Sea Power 21 strategy. Under the “six-plus-two” concept of FRP, the Navy projected power by providing six carrier strike groups in less than 30 days for contingency operations across the globe, with two more such groups to follow within three months to reinforce or rotate with them, or to respond to other crises. Ships would rotate through 27 to 32 month (average) cycles. Aircraft carriers Enterprise (CVN 65), George Washington, Harry S. Truman, John C. Stennis (CVN-74), John F. Kennedy (CV-67), Kitty Hawk and Ronald Reagan deployed near-simultaneously in five theaters (June to August). Their operations included scheduled deployments, surge operations, joint and international exercises, other advanced training and port visits. After they returned the Navy ordered Abraham Lincoln to deploy on a non-scheduled cruise to fill the ensuing gaps in forward presence as part of the FRP (September).

 

16–18 Jul 2004: The ship visited Esquimalt. Over 1,700 guests embarked for the return family cruise, and enjoyed a continental style breakfast and lunch during the eight hours of the transit back to NS Everett.

 

20 Jul 2004: Rear Adm. William D. Crowder relieved Rear Adm. Jacob L. Shuford as Commander Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, during a ceremony on board the ship’s flight deck. The Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island, then installed Rear Adm. Shuford as the institution’s 51st president (12 August).

 

23 Aug–Sep 2004: The ship trained in southern Californian waters. As an F/A-18C Hornet from VFA-151 operating from Abraham Lincoln landed at NAS North Island it skidded off the runway (26 August). The pilot could not stop and ejected into the bay, where San Diego Harbor Police rescued him. The aviator recovered in stable condition at Naval Medical Center, San Diego. The Hornet remained partially submerged just beyond the runway until sailors recovered the aircraft. In the interim, due to the position that the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group occupied for the inter-deployment training cycle, the Navy designated the group as the “Emergency Surge Asset” for the Seventh Fleet. As the ships of the group entered San Diego for a brief respite, they received word that they would deploy to the Seventh Fleet in mid-October as part of the FRP (3 September). These orders impacted the ship much earlier then her crew had originally expected, and forced sailors to accomplish training and maintenance that they normally required months to complete in barely six weeks.

 

18 Oct–6 Nov 2004: The ship and her group, which comprised Shiloh, guided missile destroyers Benfold (DDG-65) and Shoup (DDG-86), Louisville and fast combat support ship Rainier (AOE-7), surge deployed as part of the FRP. Rear Adm. Crowder broke his flag from the carrier, in conjunction with Capt. Jon W. Kaufman, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 9, and Capt. Craig Geron, who led CVW-2. Abraham Lincoln initially operated in southern Californian waters to enable aircraft to accomplish as much accelerated training as possible before they flew combat missions. Several times during the deployment the carrier’s Re-Fueling Station No. 21 caused additional problems, and on two separate occasions a weak link parted during replenishments with Benfold. The ensuing loss of tension caused birdcage on No. 2 saddle whip and spanwire. In addition, the ship endured a more severe problem while alongside Shiloh during a separate evolution, when a loss of tension damaged two four foot sections of hose, Nos 1 and 2 whip wires. The station sustained minimal damage in the first two incidents and required little more than two hours of repairs to return to ready condition; however, more extensive damage ensued in the accident with the cruiser, which rendered the No. 1 whip wire inoperable until sailors fabricated a replacement within 44 hours. The group transited to Hawaiian waters for an advanced training period where they emphasized flying for the air wing to gain what sailors humorously referred to as “Blue Water Certification.” During these busy days the ship monitored and maintained 250 tactical voice and data circuits to also support Carrier Strike Group 9, CVW-2 and Destroyer Squadron 9. Abraham Lincoln briefly visited NS Pearl Harbor en route to the western Pacific (5-6 November).

 

26 Dec 2004–3 Feb 2005: A magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, which triggered multiple tsunamis across the Indian Ocean. The waves reached 30 feet high in shallow waters and sometimes six-miles wide, and killed nearly 200,000 people in what became one of the deadliest maritime disasters hitherto recorded. Relief workers and servicemembers designated the multinational response to this disaster as Operation Unified Assistance (OUA) under Combined Support Force (CSF)-536. U.S. naval forces became vital to relief efforts and often reached the disaster areas before many aid agencies, as aircraft delivered supplies and emergency people to otherwise inaccessible inland areas. Abraham Lincoln had visited Hong Kong when the disaster struck. “This was a horrible event. A lot of human suffering is involved” Rear Adm. Crowder empathized. “We’ve got the capability to go in to an area and provide some help.” Many sailors began preparations to reach out to victims upon their own initiative, and the Navigation Department began to set up charts for the Indonesian and Thai coasts. When orders directed the ship to assist relief efforts she sailed from Hong Kong (28 December) and rushed to the region. Upon arrival she maneuvered off the Indonesian coast from positions near Banda Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra, which provided strategic locations near to the areas which the tsunamis devastated to facilitate reaching people as quickly as possible. Four SH-60B Seahawks from HSL-47 and some SH-60Fs and HH-60Hs from HS-2 embarked on board began to ferry supplies from collection points in Sumatra to disaster victims in the vicinity during the early morning hours (1 January 2005). The helicopter intensive nature of the support missions drove the Seahawks to log over 1,000 hours, more than three times the expected wear-and-tear of standard deployments. The Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) embarked, soon arrived from Guam to also help. Sailors and marines endured earthquake aftershocks and logistics problems, but flew 1,747 missions supporting OUA, transported 3,043 passengers and delivered 5,92 million pounds of supplies to people caught in the wake of the tsunamis. More than 1,200 crewmembers from the ship and wing volunteered to go ashore to reach out to victims, and the rewind shop repaired three motors from the sewage pumping and treatment station at Banda Aceh University Hospital that the rising waters had submerged, a crucial task to prevent the spread of disease. Sailors also displayed their ingenuity by manufacturing special adaptors for some U.S. equipment that utilized the English system of measurements for use in the Metric system. Servicemembers also produced over 20,000 images to document to the world the plight of the people from the stricken area, and weather forecasters too approximately 1,000 observations and produced nearly 90 Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts that directly supported aircraft. Maintaining such a pace challenged crews, however, and Hunter 613, an SH-60F (BuNo 165085) from HS-2, experienced a hard landing at Sultan Iskandarmuda Airfield near Banda Aceh, during the morning watch (0733 on 10 January). A light rain fell and a mist rose at various times during the watch, which rendered visibility to an average of five statue miles, and at one point the temperature reached up to a maximum of 91° F. After a flight of approximately 25 minutes, Hunter 613 executed a steep approach to an unprepared landing site located at the airfield (the Indonesian facilities prior to the disaster lacked certain refinements familiar to Western crews, which the damage from the tsunamis further reduced). As they reached about 150 feet above the site and flying at perhaps 50 knots indicated air speed, the helo yawed to port. The aircraft climbed out to the left and approached again, however, Hunter 613 rotated uncontrollably to the left, descended rapidly, spun to the left and impacted the ground in a slightly right wing down, nose level attitude, and rolled over onto its right side. Three of the 10 people on board (four crewmembers and six passengers: all three of the injured people were passengers) suffered minor injuries and commanders placed the ship’s Medical Department on high alert. Many of the department’s sailors had gone ashore to help victims, however, and the potential of the incident before the ship learned of details threatened to tax capabilities as crewmembers made preparations to receive mass casualties. Once they learned of the limited scope of the mishap, the doctors and nurses of the team resolutely cared for all of the people as they returned, and only sent several for treatment on board Bonhomme Richard, which had expanded medical facilities. All of the patients received attention and returned to the carrier within 24 hours, except for the several people who required Category 4 treatment and returned stateside to Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis, Wash., and to U.S. Naval Hospital, Bremerton. The Seahawk sustained such damage during the mishap that the Navy struck it from inventory. Meanwhile, a total of 103 Australian servicemembers also reached out to victims from Abraham Lincoln, where the Supply Department provided them with berthing and meals during the Australians’ relief efforts. Amphibious assault ship Essex (LHD-2) relieved Bonhomme Richard (18 January) and commenced relief operations the next morning. Because some marines had deployed to Iraq, the ships eventually gathered reinforcements that included four MH-53E Sea Dragons from Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM)-15 Detachment 2, based in Bahrain, six CH-46E Sea Knights from Okinawa, Japan, and two more MH-60Ss from Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC)-5 embarked on board MSC-operated combat store ship Niagara Falls (T-AFS-3). A wide range of other naval aviation forces also supported the operation, including Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC)-30, HC-11, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR)-352, and a Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules. In addition, Lockheed P-3C Orions from VP-4 and VP-8 relayed images of ravaged areas to support centers, which enabled analysts to direct relief efforts where victims most needed help. Sailors and marines assisted people as far apart as Thailand and Sri Lanka, and grateful Indonesians called Abraham Lincoln the “Gray Angel.” Indonesian Gen. Ryamizard, that army’s chief of staff, arrived on board to personally thank sailors as relief efforts drew to a close (26 January). Global interest in the catastrophe brought 220 distinguished visitors, journalists and foreign dignitaries on board during OUA. The ship came about from Indonesian waters (3 February) and CSF-536 ceased relief operations 11 days later. “It’s the most worthwhile thing I’ve ever done in my naval career,” Lt. Matt Frauenzimmer, an operations administration officer on board Abraham Lincoln who helped to coordinate efforts, noted. “It’s very rewarding to help your fellow man, and bring life and hope to people without hope. For a ship whose primary job is warfighting, it was neat being able to take all the capabilities we have, and to use it for humanitarian assistance. We were well equipped for that.”

 

5–9 Feb 2005: The ship visited Singapore.

 

21–24 Feb 2005: Abraham Lincoln entered the Third Fleet as she sailed easterly courses for home. Two days later she visited NS Pearl Harbor (23-24 February).

 

7 Mar–27 May 2005: Abraham Lincoln completed a pierside maintenance availability at NS Everett.

 

1–23 Jun 2005: The ship trained in northern Pacific waters, conducting her quarterly integrated Strike Group Sustainment Training, which Abraham Lincoln referred to as “sustainment operations.” During these busy days the Navy also announced that it would reassign Abraham Lincoln’s Security Division from the Weapons Department to the Operations Department prior to October 2005. The ship proactively accomplished this move by August, which thrust the division into a new environment. Abraham Lincoln rendesignated her Ship Self Defense Force the Naval Security Force, and utilized ship’s company to augment the force. She thus established the Integrated Security Force; each department on board supported a team of 102 sailors who melded into the Security Division to protect the ship while she visited ports. This involved extensive training regimens for crewmembers that included tactical team movements and basic law enforcement procedures.

 

28 Jun–26 Aug 2005: The ship completed a maintenance availability at NS Everett. In addition, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Ill., and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission in Washington, D.C., donated dozens of visual memorabilia items to the ship’s Lincoln Room and several other locations around the carrier, including Wardroom No. 3 (15 July). One of the last-known photographs of the President, which Alexander Gardner snapped in 1865, took pride of place within the collection: an image that captured the worn and troubled brow of the man who had led the nation through the Civil War, scant days before his assassination.

 

1 Sep 2005: The ship established her Media Department, under the leadership of the Public Affair’s Officer and Photo Officer. The department combined the photo lab, print shop and public affairs department. Sailors from the Draftsman (DM), Journalist (JO), Lithographer (LI) and Photographer’s Mate (PH) ratings comprised the Media Department, and during the subsequent year the Navy merged their duties into the Mass Communications Specialist (MC) rating (July 2006).

 

8–26 Sep 2005: Abraham Lincoln completed sustainment training in southern Californian waters.

 

19 Oct–16 Nov 2005: The ship accomplished surge sustainment training for the FRP and fleet replacement squadron carrier qualifications in southern Californian waters. A key element of this training included JTFEx 05 with CVW-2 and Commander Destroyer Squadron 9 embarked, and with Mobile Bay and guided missile destroyers Russell (DDG-59) and Shoup, together with Ronald Reagan and ships of her group (4-8 November). Upon concluding training, Abraham Lincoln visited San Francisco over Veteran’s Day weekend, where the Deck Department rigged the aft brow to a barge on the stern dock to receive ferry passengers (11-14 November).

 

14–25 Jan 2006: Abraham Lincoln completed additional sustainment training in southern Californian waters.

 

27 Feb 2006: The ship deployed from NS Everett to the western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf, during a cool day beneath gray and leaden skies. Rear Adm. John W. Goodwin, Commander Carrier Strike Group 9, broke his flag in the carrier. The carrier first sailed to southern Californian waters to rendezvous with the remainder of the group and to embark CVW-2. The S-6 Aviation Support Division of the Supply Department loaded two SH-60B Seahawk aviation repairable pack-up kits, including four aviation consumable Vidmar cabinets, from NAS North Island. The ship required this equipment to support the second iteration on board Abraham Lincoln of the SH-60B-To-Carrier Pilot, a unique program that assigned the carrier to directly support HSL-47, a full squadron of helicopters embarked (dispersed) throughout the carrier strike group.

 

22–23 Mar 2006: As she sailed toward the Seventh Fleet, the carrier participated in a passing exercise with Japanese guided missile destroyers Harusame (DD-102), Hatakaze (DD-171) and Kirishima (DDG-174). Several American and Japanese officers temporarily exchanged billets and served on board their allies’ ships.

 

25–27 Mar 2006: Abraham Lincoln, Mobile Bay and guided missile destroyers Momsen (DDG-92), Russell and Shoup, joined (at various times) attack submarines Cheyenne, Greeneville (SSN-772), Pasadena, Seawolf (SSN-21) and Tucson (SSN-770), and Orions from Command Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2, VP-4, VP-9 and VP-47, for USWEx 08-3, an antisubmarine exercise in Hawaiian waters.

 

27 Mar–1 Apr 2006: The ship participated in Foal Eagle 2006, an exercise to demonstrate United States resolve to support the South Koreans. More than 70 ships and submarines, including guided missile cruiser Chancellorsville (CG-62), guided missile destroyers Curtis Wilbur (DDG-54), Fitzgerald (DDG-62), John S. McCain and Stethem (DDG-63), guided missile frigates Gary (FFG-51) and Vandergrift (FFG-48), Essex, amphibious transport dock ship Juneau (LPD-10), dock landing ship Harper’s Ferry (LSD-49), attack submarine Houston (SSN-713), mine countermeasures ships Guardian (MCM-5) and Patriot (MCM-7), and salvage ship Safeguard (ARS-50), together with 70 to 80 aircraft, took part in the training, which included deploying some forces ashore at stations within the Republic of Korea. Abraham Lincoln hosted an entourage of high-ranking South Korean officials (29 March). Meanwhile, Safeguard and South Korean auxiliary Pyong Taek (ATS-27) also salvaged a USAF F-16C Fighting Falcon that had crashed off the South Korean coast on 14 March. Abraham Lincoln also took part in reception, staging, onward movement and integration exercises. In addition, Supply Department sailors deployed ashore to Pusan AFB, South Korea, to facilitate the extended logistics flow through Japanese and South Korean routes.

 

6–10 Apr 2006: The ship visited Hong Kong.

 

16 Apr 2006: The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group performed a pass-in-review ceremony, a time-honored tradition, while sailing in the South China Sea. Rear Adm. Goodwin led the exercise from his vantage point on board the carrier, as Mobile Bay, Russell and Shoup passed Abraham Lincoln one-by-one along her port side, and dipped their national ensigns to render honors. The admiral passed over the carrier’s 1MC that sailors not on watch could make their way to the flight deck and photograph the event, which many did, and some of their counterparts on board the cruiser and destroyers took part in the tradition and observed the ships from their weather decks. The ceremony also coincided with Easter Sunday, and afforded sailors a break from their hectic schedules.

 

20–24 Apr 2006: The carrier moored at Laem Chebang, Thailand, for her first such visit to that port. The ship avoided running liberty boats for sailors going ashore, a sometimes dangerous proposition in rough weather, by berthing pierside at the exotic port. In addition, as Abraham Lincoln sailed from the area, she accomplished a passing exercise with Thai vessels, and officers from both nations participated in brief officer exchanges.

 

27 Apr–1 May 2006: The ship visited Singapore. She then made a short transit of the eastern portion of the Strait of Malacca.

 

3 May 2006: As the ship completed what her historian noted as “intense flight operations” in the Java Sea, U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia B. Lynn Pascoe, and Indonesian Lt. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, that country’s secretary-general of defense, visited the ship and thanked crewmembers for their help during OUA relief efforts.

 

9 May 2006: Prince Mohamed Bolkiah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brunei Darussalam, led an entourage that visited the ship.

 

Mid-May 2006: As Abraham Lincoln sailed northward toward Japanese waters, Tropical Storm Chanchu (“Pearl”) swept across the Philippines and killed 32 people. The storm continued on a westerly track into the South China Sea, where forecasters upgraded Chanchu to a typhoon, which turned northward and wreaked havoc with hundreds of Vietnamese fishermen caught in the tempest’s path. Chanchu increased to such fury that forecasters again upgraded the storm, to a super typhoon–an extreme rarity. The super typhoon barreled northeastward and slammed into the Chinese coastline, where it killed at least another 25 people before the super typhoon finally spent its ferocity. Chanchu forced Abraham Lincoln to change course by a circuitous route to avoid the super typhoon’s powerful winds and heavy seas. The ship passed through Philippine waters via the Balabac Strait, between the Philippine island of Palawan and Sabah, Borneo, crossed the Sulu Sea and transited the Surigao Strait between the islands of Mindanao and Samar.

 

25–29 May 2006: The ship anchored off Sasebo, Japan, for a brief visit.

 

Jun 2006: The ship crossed the equator.

 

5–14 Jun 2006: Abraham Lincoln took part in two (separate) passing exercises with the Japanese. In addition, the ship performed burials at sea for 10 veterans (9 June).

 

18–23 Jun 2006: The ship participated in Valiant Shield 06 in the Marianas Islands area. Valiant Shield 06 comprised over 20,000 servicemembers and almost 300 aircraft including USAF Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirits flying from Whiteman AFB, Missouri, along with 28 vessels from groups built around aircraft carriers Abraham Lincoln, Kitty Hawk and Ronald Reagan, and Bonhomme Richard. The participants began the exercise by staging a dramatic photographic event as all three carrier strike groups sailed in a formation that brought leading ships within 500 yards of each other, and as a Spirit led a flight of Hornets and Super Hornets overhead. Aircraft flying from Abraham Lincoln performed strike group defense, offensive air-to-air, maritime interdiction and antisubmarine missions, and helicopters not only hunted submarines but also accomplished naval special warfare missions with SEAL Team 1 and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5. In addition, a Grumman C-2A Greyhound from VRC-30 flew 22 Indian, Japanese and Russian observers on board Abraham Lincoln from Anderson AFB on Guam to watch the exercise (17-18 June). The guests also attended a video teleconference between Abraham Lincoln, Kitty Hawk, Ronald Reagan and command ship Blue Ridge (LCC-19), that involved Adm. Gary Roughead, Commander, Pacific Fleet, who broke his flag from Blue Ridge. Logistically supporting three carriers and their screens through Anderson AFB challenged sailors, however, due to the limited infrastructure and long supply lines.

 

27 Jun 2006: The ship entered the Third Fleet.

 

30 Jun–29 Jul 2006: Abraham Lincoln took part in RimPac 2006, a multinational exercise that involved 19,000 servicemembers, 35 ships, six submarines, 160 tactical aircraft and amphibious forces. During part of the exercise, however, activists concerned over the impact of mid-frequency active sonar upon marine life and following the precepts established by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (21 October 1972), pressured a district judge to issue a temporary restraining order on the Navy’s use of the systems. RimPac 2006 proceeded with severe anti-submarine warfare training restrictions by participating commands, although the Navy successfully negotiated with plaintiffs to have the temporary restraining order lifted for the remaining phase (9 July), which involved a fictitious scenario where coalition ‘blue’ forces worked to enforce United Nations Security Council resolutions to prevent country ‘orange’ from overtaking country ‘green.’ As part of the role playing, marines accomplished non-combatant evacuation operations, as well as an amphibious beach assault, and aircraft flew close air support, surveillance, air strikes, anti-ship and antisubmarine warfare sorties. A delegation of 10 Chinese officers also observed part of the exercise. In addition, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX)-20, augmented by the Air Force’s 452nd Flight Test Squadron, flew the Northrop Grumman RQ-4A Global Hawk Maritime Demonstration system in RimPac. The UAV made four successful maritime surveillance missions from Edwards AFB in California out to Hawaii, which demonstrated its capability of identifying targets in a coastal or littoral environment while also successfully identifying targets in wide area maritime search and tracking. Global Hawk logged about 100 hours during the exercise, and operators transmitted data back to a team from VX-1 and VX-20, and Fleet Composite Squadron (VC)-6, at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, who analyzed the information and forwarded the data to participants. Australian, British, Canadian, Chilean, Japanese, Peruvian and South Korean forces also took part in RimPac. The Navy sank several decommissioned ships during RimPac 2006, including amphibious assault ship Belleau Wood (LHA-3; sunk on 10 July), ammunition ship Mauna Kea (AE-22), combat store ship Mars (T-AFS-1) and Yacona, an 80 foot sludge removal barge (sunk on 9 July). In addition to various U.S. ships and aircraft that pummeled the ships, Canadian P-3C Orions, area air defense destroyer HMCS Algonquin (DDG-283) and multi-role patrol frigate HMCS Vancouver (FFH-331), and South Korean aircraft, bombed and shot at the decommissioned ships. More than 1,000 guests including sailors from each of the participating countries joined a pierside reception on board Abraham Lincoln as she sailed from NS Pearl Harbor after the final weekend of RimPac (29 July).

 

8–9 Aug 2006: Abraham Lincoln and Shoup returned to a crowd estimated at 7,000 at NS Everett. The next day the Navy awarded Todd Pacific Shipyards Corp., Seattle Division, a $10.94 million award fee/performance fee modification under a previously awarded contract (N00024-04-C-4152) to complete a dry dock planned incremental availability for the carrier. The ship also returned the two SH-60B Seahawk aviation repairable pack-up kits, including four aviation consumable Vidmar cabinets, to NAS North Island.

 

29 Aug 2006–30 June 2007: The carrier completed the availability at Naval Base Kitsap in Bremerton, the principal project of which included preservation of the feed and potable water tanks, which required entering dry dock. During the ship’s availability, about one third of the 3,300 sailors on board Abraham Lincoln worked by taking daily ferries that ran between Bremerton and Everett, while many of those who normally berthed on board the carrier housed ashore at the shipyard. The carrier entered Drydock No. 6 at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, the longest dry dock on the west coast and suitable to accommodate Nimitz class aircraft carriers (6 September to 20 December). During this period Todd Pacific Shipyards received a $5.24 million contract modification to provide year-around maintenance to the ship so as “to maximize vessel readiness” (26 September). Meanwhile, BMC Brian Cissell of the ship’s company received the Bronze Star (8 December) for his service during Iraqi Freedom earlier in the year. Cissell had volunteered to serve ashore with the Army’s 101st “Screaming Eagle” Air Assault Division at Camp Victory South in Iraq (February to August 2006). The chief boatswain mate’s dedication, leadership and expertise proved instrumental in coalition efforts toward a $30 million reconstruction program in southwestern Baghdad, where insurgents constantly threatened servicemembers with improvised explosive devices, rocket and mortar barrages, snipers and firefights with ‘suicide squads’ of determined zealots, as well as horrendous weather. After the carrier refloated from the drydock, she moored to Pier B. Adm. Roughead then visited the ship to speak to crewmembers concerning their service during OUA (7 March 2007). The admiral also answered questions regarding topics that ranged from the Navy’s plans to create a‘1,000-ship navy’ to hunt terrorists and pirates (combining United States and allied vessels to fill the requisite strength), individual augmentee deployments for the global war on terrorism, and implementation of new naval uniforms. After the ship held a fast cruise from the pier (23-25 June) and left Puget Sound (26 June), she conducted sea trials.

 

4 July 2007: Approximately 5,000 visitors toured the ship’s brow, hangar bay and flight deck during Independence Day festivities at NS Everett.

 

12–15 Jul 2007: The ship completed her flight deck certification while sailing in southern Californian waters. The arrival of SH-60B Seahawks from HS-2 to provide search and rescue capabilities enabled the ship to begin flight operations. F/A-18E Super Hornets and F/A-18C Hornets from VFA-137 and VFA-151 followed them shortly thereafter. Test pilots from VX-23 performed precision approach drills to make sure that the ship’s equipment operated within close tolerances.

 

22 Jul 2007: Following a brief visit to NAS North Island (22-24 July), Abraham Lincoln trained in southern Californian waters, including a tailored ship’s training availability. MSC-operated Oiler Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO-187) twice refueled her during this period. The carrier also tested her defensive capabilities when she fired four RIM-7P NATO Sea Sparrow missiles, two of them at BQM-74E Chukar remote operated drones (13 August).

 

11 Nov 2007: An HH-60H Seahawk from HS-2 crashed while operating from the ship approximately 100 miles from the San Diego area, at about 2045. Rescuers pulled all seven crewmembers from the water.

 

3 Dec 2007: Vice Adm. Thomas J. Kilcline, Jr., Commander, Naval Air Forces, visited the ship.

 

3–30 Jan 2008: Abraham Lincoln conducted antisubmarine exercises and JTFEx 03-08 in southern Californian waters. The training again achieved notoriety in the media, however, due to the activists’ ongoing struggle about the effects of mid-frequency sonar upon the creatures of the sea. Activists succeeded in having certain constraints imposed upon naval sonar usage through January 2009, and matters boiled over for Abraham Lincoln a second time when the United States District Court for the Central District of California ordered further limitations upon such sonar use (3 January 2008). The Navy announced that the restrictions “created a significant and unreasonable risk” that impacted sonar training necessary to certify carrier strike groups for deployments, and in particular, that the bathymetric features and extensive ranges of the waters off southern California provided unique opportunities to prepare sailors for battle. President Bush concluded that with the provisions of the Coastal Zone Management Act (27 October 1972), and at the recommendation of Carlos M. Gutierrez, the Secretary of Commerce, that continuing these exercises concerned “the paramount interests of the United States.” The Navy thus announced that the service would take two important steps under existing laws and regulations to allow it to “conduct effective, integrated training with sonar.” That day, Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter also signed a decision of memorandum agreeing to the alternative arrangements, which included 29 voluntary adaptive management measures, more thorough reporting procedures and increased public participation (16 January). Secretary Winter subsequently visited command and control suites on board Abraham Lincoln and Momsen, and hunted submarines in a Seahawk from HS-2, to observe the exercise and to see first hand how sonar echoes impacted marine life (26 January). Journalists also embarked to view the training, and to inspect naval protective measures to preserve marine life while sailors still staged realistic exercises to prepare for the rigors of war. “I think this is a great opportunity to be able to actually demonstrate to the press something outside of the courtroom” the Secretary said. “…If we are going to use sonar,” Comdr. Terrence Hoeft, the executive officer of HS-2 explained, “it is required that we start looking for any marine life 10 minutes prior to dipping. If we see marine life, we report it to the controlling unit and tell them the location, direction and type of marine life.” And a NATO Boeing E-3A Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) deployed from Geilenkirchen AB in Germany for JTFEx 03-08, and defended the carrier and her group from a simulated air attack (30 January). The alliance selected the multi-national crew of the Sentry to represent the European members as a key element of the NATO Response Force.

 

13 Mar 2008: Abraham Lincoln deployed to the west and south Pacific. Russell sailed from NS Pearl Harbor (1329 on 24 March) to rendezvous with the aircraft carrier, and uniquely contributed to telling their stories through “The Destroyermen,” a Web log that Lt. Comdr. Chris E. van Avery, the ship’s executive officer, oversaw on the World Wide Web, one of the first such regular attempts by any naval man-of-war. Avery described their mission statement as: “To deliver an authentic, unvarnished, informative and entertaining account of life aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer, report on USS RUSSELL's contribution to the Global War on Terror and execution of America's Maritime Strategy, and provide insight into the character of the American Sailor.” Crewmembers ranging from Avery to junior enlisted sailors posted daily observations and reflections that educated and enhanced the public’s perceptions of the ships and their operations. Sailors also posted photographs of their time at sea that they humorously dubbed “Eye Candy for Sailors.” In addition, Russell’s crew discovered an unexpected result from their blog when their writing enabled them to keep in touch with loved ones at home. “These daily blogs are so helpful,” one sailor’s wife wrote, “especially since it is sometimes days without hearing from my husband...It brings comfort.”

 

15 Apr 2008: Abraham Lincoln conducted a passing exercise with the Singaporeans, including their newly commissioned (5 February) guided missile frigate Steadfast (F-70)  in the Strait of Malacca. An SH-60B from the ship, Comdr. Shawn Malone, HSL-47’s commanding officer, and Lt. Christopher Moore, made several landings on board Steadfast’s flight deck. Singaporean Capt. Kelvin Lim, a communications officer from the frigate Formidable (F-68), observed the exercise from on board Shoup and from another HSL-47 Seahawk.

 

23 Apr 2008: U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Cameron R. Hume and Capt. Kevin Wilson, Naval Attaché, led an Indonesian entourage that included Ambassador Professor Hasyim Djalal, Special Advisor to the Minister of Marine Affairs on board for a brief visit. Rear Adm. Scott R. van Buskirk, Commander, Carrier Strike Group 9, Capt. Patrick D. Hall, the ship’s skipper, and Capt. John Aquilino, who led CVW-2, hosted the visitors.

 

1 May 2008: As tensions rose with the Iranians, Abraham Lincoln relieved Harry S. Truman in the Gulf. Adm. Michael G. Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted that as the Americans simultaneously fought against terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq and the Republic transitioned to new leadership during the Presidential elections, the situation would become “extraordinarily challenging,” and addressed specific concerns with ongoing Iranian efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction: “Iran is not going away. We need to be strong and really in the deterrent mode, to not be very predictable.” The admiral also noted terrorist smuggling across the Central Command area of operations, and referred to al-Qāidah and Taliban thugs infiltrating across the porous Pakistani and Afghan borders with terrorists, weapons and drugs (which they used to finance their crimes). The Iranians immersed themselves in smuggling and their Pasdaran (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) and key operatives known as the Quds Force, provided al-Qāidah and the Taliban with a wide range of weapons including improvised explosive devices (and the more horrific explosively formed projectiles), rocket propelled grenades, mortars, 107 millimeter rockets and (probably) shoulder-launched or man-portable air defense weapons.

 

Home Port Assignments

Dates

NS Norfolk, Va.

11 Nov 1989

NAS Alameda, Calif.

1990?[iv]

NS Everett, Wash.

1994?

PSNS Bremerton, Wash.

1996?

NS Everett, Wash.

8 Jan 1997

 

Commanding Officers

Date Assumed Command

Capt. Joseph J. Dantone, Jr.

Nov 1987

Capt. Stanley W. Bryant

Sep 1988

Capt. William B. Hayden

13 Dec 1988

Capt. James O. Ellis, Jr.

16 Jun 1991

Capt. Richard J. Nibe

9 Sep 1993

Capt. Robert F. Willard

22 Aug 1995

Capt. James J. Quinn

18 Feb 1998

Capt. Douglas K. Dupouy

15 May 2000

Capt. Kendall L. Card

5 Nov 2002

Capt. Charles A. McCawley

17 Mar 2005

Capt. Patrick D. Hall

18 Jun 2007


Changes in armament and major systems (Weapons and radar/sonar equipment):

 

14 Nov 1995–6 Dec 1996, extended drydocking selected restricted availability: Established the ship’s first major home web page on the Internet, utilizing HTML/JAVA formats–the ship’s radiomen noted that this permitted them to enter “the information superhighway with full force” (sailors recorded over 75,000 hits on the site during the first six months of operation); Upgraded the WLR-1 Electronic Surveillance system from V3 to V5; Installed SPS-48E Air Search Radar; Installed SYS-2 Integrated Automatic Direction System; Removed the AN/USM-467 Radar Communication Test Station and the 128SEAV14175-21 Maintenance Adapter Test Console, both in support of A-6E Intruders, to make room for the AN/APM-376(V) Radar Test Bench set; Removed three AN/USM-274(V) Versatile Avionics Shop Test stations, one AN/USM-470(V)2 Tailored Mini Vast station and one AN/ASA-82 Dynamic Alignment Test Set station; Installed three AN/USM-636A(V)1 and two AN/USM-636(V)3 Consolidated Automated Support System stations; Removed all AN/UGC-143’s and installed the computer based Navy Orderwire system, which completely automated teletype functions; Installed the Naval Modular Automated Communication System II; Installed the Ship Automated Communications Control System; Converted refrigeration systems from R-12 to the environmentally friendly R-134a refrigerant.

 

14 Feb–24 Jul 2002, maintenance prior to deployment, installation: Replaced the AN/SPS-64 surface search radar with AN/SPS-73 and Furono repeater system.

 

29 Aug 2006–30 June 2007, dry dock planned incremental availability, installation: RIM-116A Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) system, a lightweight quick-reaction ‘fire-and-forget’ missile designed to counter antiship missiles attacking in waves or streams.

 

Major Deployments Away From Home Port For 1 Month or More

Date of Departure

Return Date

Air Wing

Area of Operation

25 Sep 1990

20 Nov 1990

CVW-11[v]

Voyage around South America

28 May 1991

25 Nov 1991

CVW-11

WestPac/IO/Arabian Gulf

15 Jun 1993

15 Dec 1993

CVW-11

WestPac/IO/Arabian Gulf

15 Apr 1995

9 Oct 1995

CVW-11

WestPac/IO/Arabian Gulf

11 Jun 1998

11 Dec 1998

CVW-14

WestPac/IO/Arabian Gulf

17 Aug 2000

9 Feb 2001

CVW-14

WestPac/IO/Arabian Gulf

24 July 2002

20 May 2003

CVW-14

WestPac/IO/Arabian Gulf

16 Oct 2004

4 Mar 2005

CVW-2

WestPac

27 Feb 2006

8 Aug 2006

CVW-2

WestPac/IO/Arabian Gulf

13 Mar 2008

 

 

WestPac

 

 

Unit Awards Received

Dates

Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AE)

12 Oct–3 Nov 1993

 

24 Jul–14 Oct 1998

 

22 Sep 2000–2 Jan 2001

Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal (GE)

1 Oct 2002–[vi]

Humanitarian Service Medal (HS)

28 Dec 2004–12 Feb 2005

Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JU)

10–28 Jun 1991

Meritorious Unit Commendation (MU)

11 Jun–11 Dec 1998[vii]

 

1 Jan 1999–10 Sep 2001[viii]

Navy Battle Efficiency Award (NE)

1 Jan–31 Dec 2002

Navy Unit Commendation (NU)

1 Aug 1998[ix]

 

1 Sep 2001–30 Apr 2003[x]

 

4 Mar–1 May 2003[xi]

Southwest Asia Service Medal (SA)

4–13 Jul 1991

 

Command History/Operations Reports Submitted:

 

1988–2006


Mark L. Evans, 13 August 2008



[i] Due to the desirability of providing aircraft carriers Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) and George Washington (CVN-73) with the most updated weapons systems available, and the late delivery of their intended eight Phalanx 20 mm close-in-weapons system (CIWS) Block 1 upgrades–four for each ship–Adm. Carlisle A.H. Trost, the CNO, authorized the Navy to accept Abraham Lincoln without the CIWS mounts as originally proposed (17 July 1987). The service planned to install these mounts during Abraham Lincoln’s first availability, and on board George Washington during her construction.

[ii] Hultgreen, call sign Revlon, had made her first qualifying landing in an F-14A on board aircraft carrier Constellation (CV-64), about 110 miles southwest of San Diego, on 31 July 1994. She thus became the first fully qualified female Tomcat pilot. Lt(jg) Carey A. Dunai followed her moments later to become the second woman to reach the milestone with her qualifying trap. The service counted 229 women in naval aviation at this point: 45 in tactical air, 30 serving in maritime patrol functions, 124 in helos and 30 in transports and training.

[iii] During 2003, Adm. Vernon E. Clark, the CNO, directed that the Navy replace the terms carrier battle group and amphibious ready group, respectively, with carrier strike group and expeditionary strike group, to reflect enhanced striking power of more widely distributed forces designed to be more responsive.

[iv] Not all dates of these home port changes are documented in Naval Historical Center collections.

[v] CVW-8, CVW-11 and CVWR-30.

[vi] The Department of Defense determines eligibility for the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal by service in operations fighting terrorism beginning on 11 September 2001, and a terminal date to be determined (In this case the ship’s initial deployment against terrorists following 9/11 began eligibility).

[vii] Abraham Lincoln Battle Group.

[viii] Abraham Lincoln Battle Group.

[ix] Commander, Fifth Fleet, and Task Force 50.

[x] Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group.

[xi] Fifth Fleet Strike Force.