The second USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72), nicknamed "Abe", is the fifth Nimitz-class supercarrier in the United States Navy. The ship is named in honor of former president Abraham Lincoln, and homeported in Everett, Washington.
The contract to build her was awarded to Newport News Shipbuilding on 27 December 1982 and her keel was laid down 3 November 1984 at Newport News, Virginia. She was launched on 13 February 1988, delivered to the Navy on 30 October 1989, and commissioned on 11 November 1989.
Following a post-commissioning shakedown Abraham Lincoln was transferred to the Pacific, in September 1990.
Abraham Lincoln's maiden Western Pacific deployment came unexpectedly on 28 May 1991 in response to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. While heading toward the Indian Ocean, the ship was diverted to support evacuation operartions after Mount Pinatubo erupted on Luzon island in the Philippines. In support of Operation Fiery Vigil , Lincoln led a 23-ship armada that moved over 45,000 people from the Subic Bay Naval Station to the port of Cebu in the Visayas. It was the largest peacetime evacuation of active military personnel and their families in history.
Upon completement of Fiery Vigil, Lincoln steamed toward the Persian Gulf, where she ran reconnaissance and combat air patrols in Iraq and Kuwait to assist allied and U.S. troops involved with Desert Storm. Abraham Lincoln remained on station for three months.
In early 1992, the ship was at Naval Air Station Alameda on selected restricted availability , returned on 15 June 1993 for a brief visit to Hong Kong before returning to the Persian Gulf, this time to support Operation Southern Watch, the U.N. Sanctioned "no fly zone" over southern Iraq.
In October of 1993 the carrier was ordered to the coast of Somalia to assist U.N. humanitarian operations. For four weeks, Abraham Lincoln flew air patrols over Mogadishu in support of Operation Restore Hope. Lincoln returned home in December of 1993, where she spent the next several months in selected restricted availability while crews prepared her for her next deployment. Abraham Lincoln was to be the first carrier to integrate female aviators into the crew after the Combat Exclusion Laws were lifted on 28 April 1993. For this, some crew quarters had to be modified to accomodate women. The ship left San Diego on 24 October 1994 to begin refresher training for its Air Wing off the coast. The next day, Kara Spears Hultgreen, first female F-14 Tomcat pilot, died in an accident when her plane crashed into the sea on final approach due to a combination of engine malfunction and pilot error.
Abraham Lincoln's third deployment began in April of 1995 when Lincoln was redeployed to the Persian Gulf, where the ship assisted in Southern Watch and in Operation Vigilant Sentinel . Upon completion of this deployment the ship was brought to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Washington, where she was dry-docked for a one year overhaul. After this overhaul the ship was moved to her new home in Everett, on 8 January 1997.
Abraham Lincoln began her fouth deployment in June 1998. Once again, the ship headed for the Persian Gulf in support of Southern Watch. The ship spent three months in the gulf during one of the hottest summers on recent record. Temperatures on the flight deck were reported to have hit 150 degrees F. On the return leg the ship made several port calls, arriving back in the states in time for the Christmas holiday.
In 1999 the ship underwent a six-month Planned Incremental Availability in Bremerton, which lasted into April. In September of the same year Abraham Lincoln participated in Fleet Week '99 in San Francisco, California, followed by a nine-month Inter-Deployment Training Cycle before participating in RIMPAC, a multi-national training exercise conducted off the Hawaiian Islands. Abraham Lincoln completed both the IDTC and RIMPAC, then proceeded on a deployment to the Persian Gulf in support of Southern Watch. On this deployment, the carrier, air wing and battle group ships earned the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation. Additionally the ship earned the prestigious Arleigh Burke Award as the most improved command in the Pacific Fleet.
Abraham Lincoln was in port on 11 September 2001 when terrorists succsessfully attacked and destroyed the World Trade Center and a portion of the Pentagon. She put to sea on 20 July 2002 to support Operation Enduring Freedom. She took up station once more in support of Operation Southern Watch before taking a much deserved port visit to Perth, Australia. It was during this time that the Lincoln was ordered to the Persian Gulf to take part in Operation Iraqi Freedom. This forced the Navy to extend Lincoln's stay from 20 January 2003 to 6 May 2003. Abraham Lincoln and her entire carrier battle group and airwing helped deliver the opening salvos and air strikes in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Between the commencement of hostilities and the ships return some 16,500 sorties were flown and 1.6 million pounds of ordnance were used. This was in addition to the ordinance that she had already expelled as part of her participation in Operation Enduring Freedom and for Operation Southern Watch. The carrier returned home in May of 2003, in the process receiving a visit from President George W. Bush before officially ending her deployment by docking at San Diego.
Abraham Lincoln departed for her next voyage on 15 October 2004, and was on a port call in Hong Kong in late 2004 when a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck southern Asia on 26 December 2004. As the world learned of the crisis and began to see the images of the devastation wrought by the disaster aid began to pour into the region. To help with the international relief effort and assist with search and rescue efforts already underway the United States sent several navy ships to the region and ordered Lincoln to deploy to the hard hit western coast of Sumatra to provide humanitarian assistance for Operation Unified Assistance. In mid-January 2005 the carrier steamed out of Indonesian waters after the Indonesian government refused to allow fighter pilots assigned to Lincoln to conduct air patrols and training flights. By naval law United States carrier based pilots must practice at least once every two to three weeks to remain "fit", otherwise they are grounded until they can be put through a program that proves their worthiness to operate off of an aicraft carrier. Despite the move into international waters, Lincoln continued to provide support to the region until 4 February. During her 33 days on station, she and her strike group delivered 5,711,866 pounds of relief supplies. The 17 helicopters attached to group flew 1,747 relief missions up and down the western coast of Sumatra. Her departure coincided with the arrival of the hospital ship Mercy, and complied with the Indonesian request that the United States allow the country to take over relief and humanitarian operations.
The "Mission Accomplished" controversy
On 1 May 2003 President George W. Bush safely landed in an S-3B Viking on the deck of Abraham Lincoln, which was returning from a nearly ten month deployment for operations in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The deployment was the longest of an aircraft carrier since the Vietnam War. The President landed while the carrier was underway about 30 miles (50 km) off the coast of San Diego, California. It was the first time a sitting president arrived on the deck of an aircraft carrier by plane. Bush made a primetime address from the flightdeck, surrounded by hundreds of sailors, in which he declared major combat operations in Iraq over.
Critics characterized the event as footage for a campaign advertisement ; in the background was a large banner reading "Mission Accomplished", made by a private vendor at the request of the White House, and put up on Abraham Lincoln's island by the crew. It was unclear whether the banner referred to the ship's mission or to the Iraq war as a whole, and different explanations were put out; it was several months before the White House admitted that they had had the banner made and offered it to Abraham Lincoln. As combat in Iraq continued, the banner came to be an embarrassment to the President, and in April 2004, Bush adviser Karl Rove told The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, "I wish the banner was not up there." 
In addition to the banner, the manner in which the President landed on the carrier was the subject of some controversy, since although the original rationale for using the jet was that Abraham Lincoln was too far offshore for the usual helicopter arrival, the ship was well within range by the time of the landing. Presumably planners for the event realized that the President's traveling staff, camera crews, and their equipment would not themselves fit into S-3Bs, and so the carrier had to be brought within helicopter range so that they could be on hand and set up to film the landing.
- In the 2003 movie The Core, Abraham Lincoln makes an appearance in a search-and-rescue mission; while not mentioned by name, "CVN-72" caps are readily apparent in scenes on the bridge.
- In Tom Clancy's novel Debt of Honor, Abraham Lincoln is one of two carriers sent to protect Sri Lanka from the Indian Navy.
- In Tom Clancy's novel Executive Orders, Abraham Lincoln is one of two carriers moved to China to establish a U.S. presence after an airliner is shot down.
- The movie "Stealth" will include scenes shot from the Lincoln when it is released in the Summer of 2005. Source