USS Abraham Lincoln captain becomes the first woman to take a US aircraft carrier to sea

Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt (addressing sailors on Monday), commanding officer of the USS Abraham Lincoln, set sail for the western Pacific from San Diego on Monday after nine months of training and work-ups. Photo by US Navy.

On Monday, 3 January, the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (CSG) departed on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of global maritime security operations, according to the US Navy.

The Abraham Lincoln CSG is led by the command staff of CSG 3 and consists of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 9, the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), and the guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 21 (DESRON 21) – USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), USS Gridley (DDG 101), USS Sampson (DDG 102) and USS Spruance (DDG 111).

Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) transits San Diego Bay for a regularly-scheduled deployment. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Kelby Sanders)

As informed, the units of the Abraham Lincoln CSG began their pre-deployment training cycle back in April 2021 and recently completed a month-long integrated exercise where Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet certified the strike group for deployment.

These sailors are … professionals who have trained exceptionally hard to ensure they are ready for any operational obligations required of us on deployment”, said Captain Amy Bauernschmidt, Abraham Lincoln’s commanding officer. “They are absolutely prepared for today’s deployment, and I have no doubt they will represent our nation proudly as we defend our national interests”.

To remind, in August 2021, Amy Bauernschmidt took over the command of Abraham Lincoln from Capt. Walt “Sarge” Slaughter, becoming the first woman to lead an aircraft carrier in the US Navy history.

A Milwaukee native, Bauernschmidt graduated with a bachelor’s in ocean engineering from the Naval Academy in 1994, the first graduating class in which women were allowed to serve aboard combatant ships and aircraft, according to the Navy. She earned a master’s at the Naval War College and was designated a naval aviator in 1996. She has 3,000 flight hours and numerous commendations, according to her Navy biography.

She was also the first female executive officer aboard a carrier when she stepped into that role aboard Abraham Lincoln in August 2016.

The strike group includes Carrier Air Wing 9, which 3rd Fleet described as “most advanced air wing in the Navy.”

The air wing includes Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314, the first Marine Corps squadron of F-35C Lightning II fighter jets, along with squadrons of F-18 Super Hornets, EA-18 Growlers and other aircraft.

This is the second carrier deployment for the F-35C. The USS Carl Vinson went to sea with Navy squadrons in August.

The Abraham Lincoln last deployed in 2019 from its previous homeport of Norfolk, Va., operating first in European waters before heading to the Middle East, where it operated in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman.

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