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US Navy aircraft carrier deploys for the first time under the command of a female captain

USS Abraham Lincoln in San Diego Bay.

US Navy

  • A US Navy aircraft carrier deployed with a female skipper for the first time on Monday.
  • USS Abraham Lincoln set sail from San Diego under the command of Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt.
  • The carrier also set sail with the first Marine Corps F-35C stealth fighter squadron.

Nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln made history Monday when it set sail from San Diego, becoming the first US Navy carrier to deploy under the leadership of a female commanding officer.

Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt assumed command of the carrier in August, becoming the first female carrier skipper.

Prior to taking command of the Lincoln last year, Bauernschmidt served as the commanding officer of the amphibious transport dock USS San Diego. She was previously the Lincoln’s executive officer and the first woman to serve as the second-in-command on a carrier.

Before that, Bauernschmidt, a seasoned helicopter pilot who has flown over 3,000 hours in Navy aircraft, commanded Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 70, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom while deployed aboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush.

Capt. Amy BauernschmidtCapt. Amy Bauernschmidt, commanding officer of USS Abraham Lincoln, at a press conference before the ship’s deployment.

US Navy

When she took command of the Lincoln last summer, Bauernschmidt said in a statement that “there is no more humbling sense of responsibility than to know you are entrusted with the care of the people who have chosen to protect our nation.”

The Lincoln left San Diego Monday for a regular deployment as part of the Carrier Strike Group 3, which also included one guided-missile cruiser and four guided-missile destroyers.

Beyond its commanding officer, the Lincoln also made history by deploying with the first Marine Corps F-35C Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter squadron, the “Black Knights” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314.

The Lincoln is, however, not the first carrier to deploy with the F-35C. USS Carl Vinson deployed with the “Argonauts” of Strike Fighter Squadron 147 last August, becoming the first Navy carrier to sail with an integrated air wing consisting of both fourth- and fifth-generation fighters.

An F-35C Lightning II, assigned to Marine Wing Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 314, lands on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72)An F-35C lands aboard USS Abraham Lincoln.

US Marine Corps photo by 1stLt. Charles Allen

Insider previously talked to one of the Marine F-35C pilots of VMFA 314. The pilot, Maj. Mark Dion, said that “the jet brings a lot of capability to the Marine Corps and to the Navy” and “just makes the carrier much more lethal.”

In its statement on the Lincoln’s deployment, the Navy said that “the Navy’s next iteration of the Carrier Air Wing will be more lethal and survivable in today’s contested battle space, and well into the future.”

The Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group began preparing for this deployment last April and recently completed a month-long exercise to certify the strike group ahead of its deployment.

The Navy did not provide any details on the CSG’s deployment, only saying that it is in “support of global maritime security operations.”

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