USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and USS Halsey (DDG 97) departed San Diego Sept. 11 to head west and begin their scheduled deployment to the 7th and 5th Fleet Areas of Responsibility (AORs).
While in the 7th Fleet AOR, a part of the globe covering more than 48 million square miles of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (CSG) will directly support the Navy's mission to promote peace, cooperation and regional stability, directly contributing to the growing prosperity and commerce in one of the busiest and most vital regions of the world.
During their transit, they are engaging in a myriad of exercises to help them continue to be an effective arm of U.S. diplomacy abroad.
Lincoln's first order of business was carrier qualifications. Carrier qualifications are a series of flight evolutions to ensure the ship, air wing and pilots are prepared for deployment. Pilots are typically required to complete four day landings and one landing at night to re-qualify.
"Pilots must continuously train and re-qualify each time they've been away from the ship for a prolonged period of time," said Cmdr. Jim Bell, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 operations officer. "This ensures the ship and air wing team are ready to perform during the day and night safely, effectively and efficiently."
Cape St. George and Halsey performed complex air defense exercises, linking the networks of different Aegis platforms to establish airspace superiority and protection for the strike group.
"Air defense is paramount to the safety of the carrier and strike group. We are able to communicate using our various systems and work as a team to protect the ships from airborne threats anywhere in the world," said Lt. Cmdr. Sean Babbitt, Cape St. George's combat systems officer.
One of the great challenges in today's fully networked world is cyber defense. The strike group is continuously exercising drills in order to be able to protect, monitor, analyze, detect and respond to unauthorized activity within their computer networks.
"We are always continuing to evolve our networks. Protecting the network infrastructure against threats is a very important task especially considering intrusions into U.S. military networks has increased dramatically over the last decade," said Cmdr. Damian Blossey, Lincoln CSG's electronic warfare officer. "The drills we run help better prepare us in the event of an actual network intrusion to minimize the effects of the attack."
"The men and women wearing the uniform as maritime warriors are the essential components of a carrier strike group. Training is the key – the better trained we are, the easier it is to do those things that promote peace and stability in the maritime regions of the world," said Rear Adm. Mark Guadagnini, commander of Lincoln CSG.
CSG 9 consists of flagship Abraham Lincoln, embarked CVW 2, USS Cape St. George and the embarked Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9. Ships assigned to DESRON 9 include the Everett-based destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92) and Shoup (DDG 86), as well as Halsey and USS Sterett (DDG 104), which will get underway from Naval Base San Diego in the near future.