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American Forces Press Service

Lincoln Carrier Group Moves for Operational Reasons

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2005 - The USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group has moved farther off Indonesian shores so it can safely conduct flight training operations, as Navy carriers typically do wherever they operate in the world, defense officials told Pentagon reporters today.

Army Brig. Gen. David Rodriguez, the Joint Staff's deputy director for operations, said he has no information to support news reports that the Indonesian government had asked the Lincoln carrier group to move farther offshore.

Rodriguez said the Lincoln strike group's move farther offshore - from about three miles off the Indonesian coast into international waters - was critical to conduct flight operations needed to keep its air wing mission-ready while continuing to support the tsunami relief mission.

And whenever and wherever in the world the Navy conducts these training missions, Rodriguez said, it's "very, very sensitive" to host nations, so training operations are moved offshore. Not only is this less disruptive and safer, it's also operationally advantageous, a public affairs officer explained.

"When we do that, we move some distance away to get into the wind, to get into the proper position so we can do those air operations," Rodriguez said.

Pentagon spokesman Larry DiRita told reporters Navy Adm. Thomas Fargo, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, said today he "is very comfortable" with the Lincoln strike group's new location and considers it "a non-issue" in terms of its effect on the relief effort.

"The bottom line is that we are there to support the host nations and do the relief efforts as best we can to relieve the suffering of all the people in that region," Rodriguez said. "We are going to continue to do that until our capabilities are no longer needed, and will continue to coordinate with host nations, with the U.N. and the relief organizations to support that effort."

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