The aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, its strike group and air wing made their way home this week after a seven-month deployment that spanned the Pacific.
Lincoln is expected to arrive in its San Diego home port today, while the squadrons of Carrier Air Wing 9 flew back to their California and Washington state home bases this week.
The carrier strike group also included the guided-missile cruiser Mobile Bay and the guided-missile destroyers Gridley, Sampson and Spruance, which were all scheduled to return home this week.
A fourth strike group destroyer, Fitzgerald, is expected home in the coming weeks, according to U.S. 3rd Fleet officials.
The strike group was the first to deploy with a Marine Corps F-35C Lightning II squadron, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314, and the second to deploy with Fleet Logistics Multi-Mission Squadron 30 and its CMV-22 Ospreys.
“By and large, it was a completely seamless, flawless integration,” Lincoln’s commanding officer, Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt, told reporters Wednesday.
Air squadrons coming home include Strike Fighter Squadrons 41, 151 and 14, as well as Electronic Attack Squadron 133, Airborne Early Warning Squadron 117, Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 14 and Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 71.
All told, the wing flew 10,250 sorties during the deployment, according to U.S. 3rd Fleet.
During its 220 days underway, the Lincoln strike group steamed across more than 65,000 nautical miles, conducted presence patrols and conducted two exercises with Japanese forces, while also participating in the multinational Rim of the Pacific exercise in Hawaii that wrapped up last month.
“What they did mattered,” Bauernschmidt said Wednesday as her ship neared San Diego. “And their hard work made the difference.”
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.