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USS Abraham Lincoln completes overhaul after record deployment, starts trials

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72)
USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) departs San Diego April 5, 2021. Photo: US Navy

US aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln has completed its Planned Incremental Availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility’s San Diego Detachment, a $160 million undertaking that took seven months to complete.

Following the overhaul, CVN 72 departed San Diego for sea trials on April 5 in preparation for a future deployment.

In addition to regular maintenance, the ship received upgrades to crew living, refrigeration and laundry spaces, and modernization to combat systems. It also underwent retrofits to accommodate F-35 aircraft.

The availability came after the carrier completed what the US Navy confirmed was the longest aircraft carrier deployment in the post-Cold War era. Lincoln spent 295 days underway, operating in Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific.

It is worth noting that the ship will also become the first US Navy aircraft carrier to be commanded by a female commanding officer after Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt assumes her role this summer.

“No availability is easy, and this one was no exception to that, but as a team we navigated and overcame each challenge,” said Paula Chapman, project superintendent. “As the project superintendent I am proud of every member of ‘Team Lincoln,’ for the ability to fight through challenges together in support of the mission.”

“The work of the crew was exceptional,” said Brittany Spiker, Abraham Lincoln’s project engineering and planning manager. “The amount of first-time quality on this project is unparalleled. The abilities of all members of the project team – to include production, engineering, management and ship’s force – to identify and tackle problems efficiently, led to on-time project completion.”

In order to overcome challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the project team organized military aircraft flights to maintain bubble-to-bubble transport for project members, thus reducing the risk of COVID-19 infection and outbreaks. Other efforts to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission included setting up handwashing and sanitizer stations; installing temporary barriers between desks; and using teleconferences when possible.

“We’re proud of this project and our ability to provide this ship back to the navy to meet all of its future commitments,” said Spiker.

“The [uniformed] Navy has a long-standing relationship with Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & Intermediate Maintenance Facility that has gone on for decades,” said Capt. Walt Slaughter, commanding officer, Abraham Lincoln. “The experts, technicians and engineers assigned to those units bring a unique and extremely diverse set of skills to the project that allows us to update and maintain all the complex machinery and equipment that make up this warship. I’d really like to say thanks to the entire crew and the entire project team. I’m grateful for the ability of the crew to adapt, sacrifice and be flexible amidst all the changes that were occurring worldwide while still focusing on our mission, getting the job done and doing it safely with as little risk as possible.”