USS Abraham Lincoln shatters US Navy’s record for longest post-Cold War carrier deployment with 10-month around-the-world tour

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The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln anchored off the coast of Palma de Mallorca, Spain. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amber Smalley/Released
  • As of Friday, the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln has been deployed for 291 days, making its nearly 10-month deployment the longest carrier deployment since the end of the Cold War.
  • The previous record, set by the Lincoln from July 2002 to May 2003 in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, was 290 days.
  • During its most recent deployment, the Lincoln shattered that record, sailed around the world, and sent warnings to Russia and Iran.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Navy aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln has broken the record for the longest post-Cold War carrier deployment.

CVN-72 has been deployed for more than 290 days, the record this ship set nearly two decades ago. During its 10-month deployment, this flattop has sailed around the world, conducted operations with allies and partners, and even challenged two adversarial powers.


When the Lincoln left Norfolk, Virginia, on April 1, it was expected to deploy for seven months. The flattop deployed with Carrier Air Wing 7, the cruiser USS Leyte Gulf, and the destroyers USS Mason, USS Bainbridge, and USS Nitze, a force of more than 6,000 people.

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The Bainbridge, left, with the Lincoln and the Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate ESPS Mendez Nunez. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Zachary Pearson/Released

Shortly after the deployment began, the powerful armada sailed through the Atlantic and into the Mediterranean, at one point sending a message to Russia in joint operations with the USS John C. Stennis.

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The Lincoln and Stennis carrier strike groups. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeremiah Bartelt

Source: Business Insider


On May 5, plans unexpectedly changed. The Trump administration ordered the Lincoln to the Middle East to send an “unmistakable message” to Iran.

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The Lincoln transiting the Suez Canal. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Dan Snow/Released

Source: White House


Tensions between the US and Iran have increased sharply over the past year, with the two countries occasionally exchanging fire and inching dangerously closer to war.

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The Lincoln carrier strike group and a US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress. US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur

The Lincoln did not leave the Middle East for seven months — the expected length of the entire deployment. In December, the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman, which suffered an electrical malfunction that forced an extension of the Lincoln’s deployment, arrived in the region, allowing the Lincoln to start making its way toward its new home port in San Diego.

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The Lincoln, left, the air-defence destroyer HMS Defender, and the guided-missile destroyer USS Farragut. Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Zachary Pearson/U.S. Navy via AP

The Lincoln’s extra-long deployment was extended a total of four times. “This certainly was outside what anybody would characterise as a normal” deployment, Capt. Walter Slaughter, the Lincoln’s commanding officer, told Military.com. “There were extraordinary circumstances.”

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Capt. Walter Slaughter. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Michael Singley/Released

Source: Military.com


Families of crew members, some of whom moved across the country when the ship changed ports, have criticised the extended deployment.

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A woman waves an American flag as the Lincoln arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbour-Hickam. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Aja B. Jackson

Source: Military.com


“That’s sometimes how it goes,” Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday said on Wednesday. “I don’t make any apologies for that,” he added, saying that if he had a better solution he would have offered it.

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A sailor participates in a high-value-asset escort transit of the Lincoln after a port visit in Manama, Bahrain, on December 2. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kory Alsberry

Source: Military.com


The previous record for the longest post-Cold War carrier deployment was set by the Lincoln on May 6, 2003, when it finally returned to its home port after a 290-day deployment that began on July 20, 2002. That extended deployment supported the US’s invasion of Iraq that began on March 20, 2003.

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The Lincoln returns home on May 6, 2003. U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Michael B. W. Watkins

Source: US Navy

Update: The article has been updated to more clearly show that this is the longest post-Cold War carrier deployment, not the longest ship deployment since the end of the Cold War.