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USS Lincoln Arrives In San Diego After Record-Breaking Deployment

Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Seaman Tyler Morris, from Paradise, Cali...

Photo by Danielle A. Baker / U.S. Navy

Above: Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) Seaman Tyler Morris, from Paradise, Calif., reunites with his family during the homecoming of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln returns to Naval Air Station North Island after a 10-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 6th, 5th, and 7th Fleet areas of operation.

The USS Abraham Lincoln arrived in San Diego Monday, after a record-setting deployment.

Pia Spence was waiting at the dock at Naval Base Coronado with her three small children since early Monday morning. In fact, she had been waiting for her husband for the last 10 months. He’s been deployed before, but this record-breaking deployment was hard.

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“Very hard," she said. "Hard raising the kids by myself and not having anyone out here, no support. But we made it through and I found some local friends to help me out.”

The Lincoln was scheduled to arrive in October, at its new homeport in San Diego. The arrival was pushed back four times, as the navy waited for a carrier to replace the Lincoln in the Middle East.

“This is the most challenging deployment of the five I’ve been on," said Darris Spence. "My kids asking where I’m at, every day. It was tough.”

Reported by Steve Walsh , Video by Mike Damron

At 294 days, it was the longest deployment since the Vietnam war. The Navy had been pressing to keep deployments under 7 months — mainly to lessen the stress on families — but the head of the carrier strike group, Rear Adm. Michael Boyle, said he realized the long deployments are difficult for families. But he could not guarantee there wouldn’t be other long deployments in the future.

“It’s the nature of the world, and we have to be ready. And we have to be ready to do whatever the nation needs us to do. This particular time they needed us to stay on station as long as we did, which is just shy of 10 months,” he said.

This was also the longest deployment ever, by a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. With the arrival of the Lincoln, three carriers are now home-ported in San Diego, including the USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS Carl Vinson.

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Steve Walsh
Military Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover military and veterans issues for KPBS and American Homefront, a partnership of public radio stations and NPR. I cover issues ranging from delpoying troops along the California border to efforts to lower suicide rates among veterans.

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