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Lincoln CVW Returns from Humanitarian Mission

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050303-01
Release Date: 3/3/2005 6:26:00 AM

By Journalist 2nd Class Woody Paschall, Naval Media Center Mobile Det. 4

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- USS Abraham Lincoln (AL) Carrier Strike Group's (CSG) Air Wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, returned to San Diego March 1, concluding a deployment to the Western Pacific that included humanitarian relief efforts for the survivors of the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia Dec. 26.

The CSG was deployed under the Fleet Response Plan in October and was available to transit from Hong Kong to Sumatra in five days to join Operation Unified Assistance (OUA).

ALCSG aircraft flew 1,747 missions in support of OUA, carried 5,711,866 pounds of supplies, including 16,308 gallons of water, and transported 3,043 passengers. More than 200 patients were medically evacuated for further treatment.

"Nobody was tired," said Lt. Eric Kelso, Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 11. "We were itching for more of it. You knew you were making a difference out there."

Adm. Walter Doran, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, while at the West 2005 conference Feb. 2 in San Diego, praised the Sailors and Marines who responded to the needs of the island countries.

"The waters off Sumatra are pretty far away, pretty isolated," said Doran. "Within two days...we had Abraham Lincoln underway from Hong Kong - a Carrier Strike Group. There is your finest example of readiness."

Suzanne Kelso, a San Diego native whose husband flies with HC-11, described her feelings as she watched the line of helicopters fly in from Coronado Bay.

"It's a proud feeling," she said. "I mean, being in San Diego, even if he's not with a ship, being out in the harbor and seeing them go by makes you proud. I think all of San Diego feels that way."

CVW-2 consists of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS) 2, Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (Light) (HSL) 47 and HC-11, and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VR) 30, Det. 4, who flew into Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island; Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 2, VFA-137, and VFA-151 returned to NAS Lemoore, Calif., and Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 116 came home to NAS Point Mugu, Calif.

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