USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72)
From Academic Kids
The second USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), nicknamed "Abe", is the fifth Nimitz-class supercarrier in the United States Navy. The ship is named after former president Abraham Lincoln. Its home port is Everett, Washington.
Abe's contract was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding on 27 December 1982; her keel was laid down 3 November, 1984 at Newport News, Virginia. The ship was launched on 13 February, 1988 and commissioned on 11 November 1989.
While heading toward the Indian Ocean, the ship was diverted to support evacuation operations after Mount Pinatubo erupted on Luzon island in the Philippines. In support of Operation Fiery Vigil, Lincoln led a 23-ship armada that moved over 45,000 people from the Subic Bay Naval Station to the port of Cebu in the Visayas. It was the largest peacetime evacuation of active military personnel and their families in history.
In October 1993, the carrier was ordered to the coast of Somalia to assist U.N. humanitarian operations. For four weeks, Abraham Lincoln flew air patrols over Mogadishu in support of Operation Restore Hope.
Abraham Lincoln was to be the first carrier to integrate female aviators into the crew after the Combat Exclusion Laws were lifted on 28 April, 1993. The ship left San Diego on 24 October, 1994, to begin refresher training. The next day, Kara Spears Hultgreen, first female F-14 Tomcat pilot, died when her plane crashed into the sea on final approach due to a combination of engine malfunction and pilot error.
Abraham Lincoln began a fourth deployment in June 1998. Once again, the ship headed for the Persian Gulf in support of Southern Watch. The ship spent three months in the gulf during one of the hottest summers in recent years. Temperatures on the flight deck were reported at 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
In 1999 the ship participated in several internal Navy exercises, then again deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Southern Watch. On this deployment, the carrier, air wing and battle group ships earned the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation. Additionally the ship earned the prestigious Arleigh Burke Award as the most improved command in the Pacific Fleet.
Abraham Lincoln was in port on 11 September, 2001. It put to sea on 20 July, 2002 to support Operation Enduring Freedom. It took up station once more in support of Operation Southern Watch before taking a port visit to Perth, Australia. It was during this time that the Lincoln was ordered to the Persian Gulf to take part in Operation Iraqi Freedom. This forced the Navy to extend Lincoln's stay from 20 January, 2003 to 6 May, 2003.
Abraham Lincoln and the carrier battle group and airwing helped deliver the opening salvos and air strikes in Operation Iraqi Freedom. During its deployment, some 16,500 sorties were flown and 1.6 million pounds of ordnance used. The carrier returned home in May 2003, in the process receiving a visit from President George W. Bush before officially ending Lincoln's deployment by docking at San Diego.
Abraham Lincoln departed for her next voyage on 15 October, 2004. The carrier was on a port call in Hong Kong when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck southern Asia on 26 December, 2004. To help with the international relief effort and assist with search and rescue efforts already underway, the Lincoln deployed to the hard hit western coast of Sumatra to provide humanitarian assistance for Operation Unified Assistance.
In mid-January 2005 the carrier left Indonesia after the Indonesian government refused to allow fighter pilots assigned to Lincoln to conduct air patrols and training flights. By law U.S. carrier-based pilots must practice at least once every two to three weeks to remain "fit", otherwise they are grounded. Despite the move into international waters, Lincoln continued to provide support to the region until 4 February. During the carrier's 33 days on station, it and its strike group delivered 5.7 million pounds of relief supplies. The 17 helicopters attached to group flew 1,747 relief missions along the western coast of Sumatra. The carrier's departure coincided with the arrival of the hospital ship Mercy.
The "Mission Accomplished" controversy
On 1 May, 2003 President George W. Bush, wearing a flight suit and crash helmet, landed in an S-3B Viking on the deck of Abraham Lincoln, which was returning from a nearly ten-month deployment in support of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The deployment was the longest of an aircraft carrier since the Vietnam War.
Bush, who piloted the plane for part of the flight, landed while the carrier was underway about 30 miles (50 km) off the coast of San Diego, California. It was the first time a sitting president arrived on the deck of an aircraft carrier by plane. Once on board, Bush made a primetime address from the flightdeck, surrounded by hundreds of sailors and backed by a banner reading "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED".
- "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.
- After service in the Afghan—and Iraqi theaters of war—after 100,000 miles, on the longest carrier deployment in recent history, you are homeward bound." (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/05/iraq/20030501-15.html)
Critics characterized the event as a photo op designed to benefit his political campaign; the banner was made by a private vendor at the request of the White House, and put up on Abraham Lincoln's tower by the crew, though it was several months before the White House admitted it had the banner made and offered it to Abraham Lincoln. As combat in Iraq continued and insurgent attacks rose, the banner came to be an embarrassment for Bush. In April 2004, Bush adviser Karl Rove told The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, "I wish the banner was not up there." (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/04/30/politics/main614998.shtml)
In addition to the banner, use of a jet rather than a helicopter was the subject of some controversy. Although the original rationale for using the jet was that Abraham Lincoln would be too far offshore for the usual helicopter arrival, the ship was well within range by the day of the event. Critics charged that the more dramatic jet landing was staged for political purposes. (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/05/08/politics/main552894.shtml) Bush had originally wanted to land on the Lincoln in an F-18 Hornet, but the Secret Service objected, because agents could not accompany him in the two-seater fighter jet. (http://www.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/05/01/bush.carrier.landing/)
- In the 2003 movie The Core, Abraham Lincoln makes an appearance in a search-and-rescue mission; while not mentioned by name, "CVN-72" caps are readily apparent in scenes on the bridge.
- In Tom Clancy's novel Debt of Honor, Abraham Lincoln is one of two carriers sent to protect Sri Lanka from the Indian Navy.
- In Tom Clancy's novel Executive Orders, Abraham Lincoln is one of two carriers moved to China to establish a U.S. presence after an airliner is shot down.
- The movie Stealth will include scenes shot from the Lincoln when it is released in the Summer of 2005. Source (http://www.cvn72.navy.mil/pao/news/stealth.html)
- See USS Abraham Lincoln for other Navy ships of the same name.
- Abraham Lincoln homepage (http://www.cvn72.navy.mil)
- USS Abraham Lincoln webpage (http://www.navysite.de/cvn/cvn72.html)