Capt. Karl Thomas, USS Abraham Lincoln's Commanding Officer
Capt. Karl O. Thomas was born and raised in Northern Virginia. He received his commission through the NROTC program at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1986 after graduating with a degree in Management Systems. He earned a Master's degree in Information Technology from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where he graduated with distinction and received the Rear Admiral Grace Hopper and Thomas McClellan Awards for academic excellence.
Following initial training in the E-2C Hawkeye with Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron VAW-110, Captain Thomas served with the world famous Hormel Hawgs of VAW-114 at Naval Air Station Miramar, California. During his initial sea tour he made two Western Pacific deployments aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and two counternarcotic detachments to Panama. Captain Thomas served as Navigator onboard USS New Orleans (LPH 11) and USS Essex (LHD 2). He served his aviation Department Head tour with VAW-117, where he participated in Operation Desert Fox aboard Carl Vinson.
Capt. Thomas commanded VAW-117, during which time the squadron deployed aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and earned the Battle E in 2003 and 2005. The squadron was the first recipient of the Admiral Vern Clark Safety Award in 2003. After graduating from Nuclear Power School with honors, Captain Thomas served as Executive Officer of USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). He was reassigned as Executive Officer of USS George Washington (CVN 73) in July 2008, delivering the first permanently forward deployed nuclear aircraft carrier to Japan. In 2009, he commanded the Sixth Fleet Command Ship, USS Mount Whitney (LCC 17), and completed numerous joint exercises in the Mediterranean, North Atlantic and Baltic Sea.
Shore duty assignments include VAW-110 as a Fleet Replacement Instructor; Flag Aide for Commander, Fighter Airborne Early Warning Wing Pacific; and Flag Aide to Admiral Skip Bowman, Director of Naval Reactors. He served in OUSD AT&L (Unmanned Warfare) and coordinated the OUSD AT&L Unmanned Air Systems Task Force.
Capt. Thomas’ personal awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal (3 awards), the Air Medal, the Navy Commendation Medal (5 awards), the Navy Achievement Medal (3 awards) and several unit commendations. He has accumulated nearly 3,000 hours in the E-2C Hawkeye.