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Abraham Lincoln Strike Group WESTPAC 02 Deployment
CVN-72 Abraham Lincoln
"Abe" / "Shall Not Perish"

Sailors and officers aboard USS Abraham Lincoln headed to the Arabian Sea in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in late July 2002. The carrier and crew embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 in San Diego and headed across the Pacific with other ships from the battle group.

What sets this deployment apart from others is the operational debut of next generation Navy technologies. Implementation of these technologies is based on the Chief of Naval Operations' vision, "Sea Power 21," which builds on U.S. strengths such as information superiority, sea control, firepower and persistence.

This groundbreaking deployment will represent the largest number of innovations in a single battle group in recent history and includes such firsts as:

  • Deployment of the Super Hornet on board Lincoln -- The multi-mission F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet strike fighter is an evolutionary upgrade of the combat-proven night strike F/A-18C/D Hornet.
  • Optimal Manning on board USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) -- Integrating new technology and a wide range of new policies and procedures, USS Mobile Bay has reduced its crew size by 11 percent.
  • Man Overboard Indicator (MOBI) on board Lincoln and Mobile Bay -- The latest technology in search and rescue (SAR) employs a series of state-of-the-art transmitters to pinpoint a person's location after falling overboard.
  • Sea Swap initiative on board USS Fletcher (DD 992) -- An initiative that tests the effectiveness of deploying a single ship for 18 months while swapping out crews at six-month intervals. The three ships and crews participating in Sea Swap are Fletcher, USS Oldendorf (DD 972) and USS Kinkaid (DD 965).
  • Area Air Defense Control (AADC) on board USS Shiloh (CG 67) -- This system will provide an advanced command and control system with real-time battle management tools needed for theater air defense missions.
  • Naval Fires Network (NFN) throughout Lincoln Battle Group -- A network-centric warfare system that provides real-time intelligence correlation, sensor control, target generation, mission planning and battle damage assessment capabilities. NFN will allow ships and aircraft in a Carrier Battle Group (CVBG), Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) or (in the future) Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) to share real-time intelligence and targeting data not only with each other, but also with Army and Air Force units in a Joint or Coalition Task force.

The Lincoln relieved the George Washington Battle Group in the Persian Gulf on or about September 11, 2002 and conducted operations in support of Southern Watch for nearly three months when it departed the Gulf and transited out of the region after being relieved by the Constellation.

The ship earned the Battle "E" award for 2002, even with turnovers in leadership. Commanding Officer Capt. Kendall Card took command upon entering 5th Fleet in November 2002, three months into deployment. The day after taking command, CVW-14 aircraft launched from his new ship to fly strike missions in the (then) southern no-fly zone over Iraq.

By early-to-mid December 2002 the Lincoln had been relieved by the USS Constellation and began transiting back to the United States. On December 18 she was in the Indian Ocean headed for Australia. She arrived in Freemantle on December 22 for a port call where she remained until December 26.

In late December reports from the Navy surfaced indicating that a carrier, either the Lincoln or the Kitty Hawk would be redeployed to the Persian Gulf in light of escalating tensions between Iraq and the US. At that time it was unclear if the Lincoln would remain deployed or if they had been just alerted of the possibility. On December 30 the Lincoln Battle Group was located south of Australia. On December 31, new reports indicated that the Lincoln had indeed been ordered to remain at sea and to redeploy for the Gulf. On January 2, 2003, according to Navy documents, the Lincoln was reported to be Northwest of Australia. On January 3, 2003 the West Australian Newspaper reported that the Lincoln would be returning to Freemantle for an extended stay for repairs and maintenance before it would redeploy for the Persian Gulf.

In the first 17 days of OIF alone, CVW-14 aircraft dropped more than 1.3 million pounds of ordnance in support of the war.

The Abraham Lincoln Strike Group and Carrier Air Wing 14 began heading home for their respective home ports on or about April 9 following an extended deployment that was the longest for a carrier in three decades. During the deployment Abraham Lincoln's reactor department has worked overtime to continue to produce all the water used for galleys, showers, laundry, drinking and catapults. To keep up with the increased tempo of wartime operations, they've turned seawater into 80 million gallons of usable water. Drinking water, in conjunction with 47.5 million sodas and 42,300 gallons of milk, helped wash down 50,600 lbs. of chicken, 27,272 lbs. of steak, 16,000 lbs. of shrimp, and 29,000 lbs. of hamburgers over the course of the deployment.

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) returned home May 6, 2003 after nearly 10 months on deployment.

Reports from the Associated Press in mid-May indicate that the Lincoln was to undergo nearly 10.5 months of maintenance and yard time to recover from the 02-2 deployment. That would make the Lincoln available as an emergency surge carrier no sooner than June 2004.

On June 10, 2003 the Department of Defense released that a contract had been signed between the Navy and Todd Pacific Shipsyards Corp. for a Phased Incremental Availability for the Lincoln with work to be completed by May 2004. The aim of the contract is to provide year-round maintenance so as to maximize vessel readiness.

Chronology

    06 May 2003 - Arrive Everett
    02 May 2003 - Arrive San Diego
    01 May 2003 - Receives POTUS
    28 Apr 2003 - Departs Pearl Harbor
    26 Apr 2003 - Port Call @ Pearl Harbor
    21 Apr 2003 - Pacific Ocean
    16 Apr 2003 - South China Sea
    13 Apr 2003 - Indian Ocean
    09 Apr 2003 - Departs Persian Gulf
    05 Apr 2003 - Ordered to Return to Everett
    19 Mar 2003 - OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM
    01 Feb 2003 - Arrive Persian Gulf
    20 Jan 2003 - Departs Australia
    mid Jan 2003 - Exercises off Lancelin, Aust
    06 Jan 2003 - Returns to Fremantle
    02 Jan 2003 - Northwest of Australia
    late Dec 2002 - Receives orders to redeploy
    30 Dec 2002 - South of Australia
    26 Dec 2002 - Depart Fremantle
    22 Dec 2002 - Port Call @ Fremantle, Aust
    18 Dec 2002 - Indian Ocean
    11 Sep 2002 - Relieves GW / Southern Watch
    25 Aug 2002 - Port Call @ Hong Kong
    08 Aug 2002 - Port Call @ Pearl Harbor
    24 Jul 2002 - departed for 6-month WestPac/Gulf



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