USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea - USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Carrier Strike Group commander, visited guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104), Jan. 13, to praise the crew on its performance midway through her maiden deployment.
Rear Adm. Mark D. Guadagnini, commander, Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, told Sterett crew members he was happy to return to the ship to see them conducting their mission firsthand.
"Sterett was the first destroyer I was ever on at sea," Guadagnini reminded them. "I have a fondness for this ship and for this crew of warriors. When I came on board the first time, I talked about all the great things you might be doing when we came on deployment. You guys are making it happen. You're making a difference to the strike group on this deployment."
Sterett, commissioned Aug. 9, 2008, began her deployment Oct. 22, when she departed her homeport of San Diego to join the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group in the U.S. 7th and 5th Fleet areas of responsibility (AORs).
Since joining the strike group at sea, Sterett has continued to provide an added layer of defense with her onboard Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System capability.
While in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR, Sterett has escorted ships through the Strait of Hormuz, assisted stranded mariners at sea, and engaged with other strike group components on a variety of training missions.
Lt. j.g. Justin Lessel, Sterett's assistant supply officer, has been aboard the destroyer for more than a year. In that time, he's seen the ship grow into a valuable asset to the fleet. He said the crew has the new ship operating smoothly.
"We have a very good crew," Lessel said. "The people here know their jobs, and they do them very well. We've shown that throughout the deployment. This is a very capable warship; we're doing a lot of good things."
Fire Controlman 1st Class Stephen Zeller attributed the ship's success to the continuity provided by a crew that not only knows its role, but what to expect from one another.
"It's been good to find our rhythm," Zeller said. "When you have a crew that's together for an entire training cycle, it gives you the opportunity to train together so you know exactly how everybody is going to react. Everything has come together really seamlessly."
Zeller said that while getting a crew to grow together on a new destroyer can be a challenge, serving on a new ship also has its advantages.
"Having a newer ship takes a little bit of the maintenance demands off of our shoulders," he said. "It makes a big difference in helping us achieve our mission."
Throughout her deployment, Sterett will assist the strike group by providing deterrence, promoting peace and security, preserving freedom of the seas and offering humanitarian/disaster response capabilities.
The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts to establish conditions for regional stability.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.