USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- At the kickoff of its latest Western Pacific deployment, the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Carrier Strike Group gathered in Hawaiian waters in mid-March to hone its ability to detect, track and counter a threat from beneath the sea.
This strike group, centered around the aircraft carrier, Abraham Lincoln, from Everett, Wash., is the third to conduct an undersea warfare exercise near Hawaii this year, illustrating Pacific Fleet Commander Adm. Gary Roughead's focus on making anti-submarine warfare his top war-fighting priority.
"This is a core competency for naval forces in a joint war-fighting environment, and an area where we are constantly looking for ways to improve," said Roughead, whose area of responsibility stretches from the west coast of North America to the east coast of Africa.
The other ships in the strike group are the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) from San Diego, and the guided-missile destroyers USS Russell (DDG 59) from Pearl Harbor and USS Shoup (DDG 86), from Everett, Wash.
"Individually, everyone is up to speed on training," Senior Chief Aviation Warfare Systems Operator (NAC) Jesse Cash said of the units involved in the exercise. "It's time to work as a team now."
As with all naval exercises, there was detailed consideration toward environmental protection and the safeguarding of marine mammals, both fundamental factors in planning an exercise.
Every precaution was taken to minimize the potential for negative impacts on the environment.
"Sea life such as whales, dolphins and sea turtles are one of our biggest concerns," Cash said. "We take precautions on an hourly basis. We look historically to see what kind of sea life has been in the area. Before we conduct operations, we do a really good survey of the environment, both visually and with our equipment."
Lookouts are posted in helicopters and on the weather decks of every ship, and numerous sonar technicians all closely listen for marine mammals.
For related news, visit the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.