Friday, October 10, 2008

Lincoln Strike Group Returns to San Diego, Air Wing Departs

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) James Seward, Fleet Public Affairs Center, Pacific

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group pulled into San Diego Oct. 8, after a seven-month deployment supporting maritime security operations in 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.

Sailors and aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 disembarked the strike group's flag ship USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). The ship will get underway Oct. 9 to return to her homeport of Everett, Wash.

"There is no greater feeling in the world than coming back home safe and sound after a long and challenging deployment," said Senior Chief Aviation Structural Mechanic (AW/SW) Woody Behrends, of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 2. "In that regard, we have the best job in the world."

During its deployment, Abraham Lincoln worked alongside coalition partners in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility. The strike group, along with CVW 2 successfully flew more than 7,100 sorties and completed more than 22,000 flying hours, supporting coalition ground forces.

"Getting everybody back safely after such a strenuous mission half way around the world is a great accomplishment," said Cmdr. Terrance Hoeft, commanding officer of HS-2. "All of our hard work had led up to this moment, and it really puts everything into perspective."

In addition to their port visit to San Diego, Abraham Lincoln will host a change-of-command ceremony Oct. 9, when Rear Adm. Scott H. Swift will relieve Rear Adm. Scott R. Van Buskirk as commander, Carrier Strike Group 9, before departing San Diego for Everett.