Ships from the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group arrived at Naval Air Station North Island on January 20, marking the end of a 10-month deployment to Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific.
The strike group deployed April 1 from Norfolk, Virginia, in support of maritime stability and security. With flagship USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), embarked airwing Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 7, and the staffs of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 12 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 2, the strike group steamed east all the way around the world.
The 295-day deployment is the longest carrier deployment in the post-Cold War era.
The strike group was expedited to the US 5th Fleet area of operations in early May, in response to credible threats to maritime security. Over the course of its seven months in theater, the strike group sustained presence operations to deter aggression. It also conducted combat missions in support of operations Freedom’s Sentinel and Inherent Resolve, ultimately flying 392 combat sorties and over 28,000 flight hours.
“An aircraft carrier, with its embarked airwing, is one of the most powerful assets our Navy has at its disposal,” said Capt. William Reed, commander, CVW 7. “The airwing can project power from the carrier, offering both offensive and defensive capabilities to a combatant commander. I think our deployment shows just how impactful a carrier can be in theater.”
While operating in the US 6th Fleet area of operations, the strike group participated in various multilateral maritime warfare exercises with militaries from Great Britain, Italy, Romania, Lithuania, and Spain that promoted proficiency across platforms and services.
The strike group also conducted combined operations with the John C. Stennis Strike Group and Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group, as well as joint exercises with a US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress.
In the US 7th Fleet, the strike group conducted flight operations inside the South China Sea in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific. Hosting a Thai military delegation, the strike group also worked toward strengthening key partnerships in the region.
Over the 10-month deployment, ABECSG travelled over 64,000 nautical miles and completed multiple strait and choke point transits, including the Strait of Gibraltar, the Suez Canal, the Bab-el Mandeb, the Strait of Hormuz, the Strait of Malacca, and the Surigao Strait.
The conclusion of deployment also marks an important milestone for Abraham Lincoln, completing a homeport shift from Naval Station Norfolk to Naval Air Station North Island.
This deployment is the ship’s first since completing its Refueling Complex Overhaul, a standard period of a carrier’s lifecycle designed to prepare it for the second half of its lifespan.
Now at home in San Diego, Abraham Lincoln and its crew will undergo the next stage of the ship’s operational and maintenance lifecycle
The Arleigh-Burke class guided-missile destroyers USS Bainbridge (DDG 96), USS Mason (DDG 87), and USS Nitze (DDG 94), and the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf (CG 55), which deployed as part of ABECSG in April, completed their deployment and returned to their homeport of Naval Station Norfolk in late 2019 and early 2020.