USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- B. Lynn Pascoe, U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, and several officials from the Indonesian government and military flew aboard USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) May 3 for a brief visit.
Fifteen months earlier, Pascoe had been aboard Lincoln with a delegation of Indonesian officials to say "thank you" to the crew for their efforts during Operation Unified Assistance (OUA).
The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (ALCSG) responded to the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami disaster, getting underway from Hong Kong and heading immediately to the coast of Aceh, Indonesia, one of the areas hardest hit by the catastrophe. The carrier and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 provided relief in the form of supply drops, water and medevac flights utilizing the helicopters of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 2 and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (Light) (HSL) 47 throughout the month of January 2005, turning over relief efforts to USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) in February 2005.
Pascoe was joined by the Honorable Agung Laksono, speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives, Lt. Gen. Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, secretary-general of Indonesia's department of defense, and several other high-ranking government and military officials.
While aboard, guests enjoyed a brief luncheon with Lincoln's Commanding Officer, Capt. C. A. McCawley, were greeted by Commander, ALCSG, Rear Adm. Bill Goodwin, and had a brief tour of the ship. The guests viewed flight operations from the flight deck and viewed an air power demonstration from the ship's signal bridge.
The culmination of their tour, however, was a "meet and greet" in the hangar bay, where officials shook hands with Sailors who were aboard and had gone ashore to lend assistance in Aceh during the tsunami relief efforts. In the shadow of one of HS-2's SH-60F Seahawk helicopters, one of the aircraft used during OUA relief efforts, Pascoe took a few moments to thank Sailors and talk about the awesome work ALCSG performed during OUA.
"It was a tremendously huge contribution that was made by the people on this ship, and everybody in Indonesia knows that," said Pascoe. "It was everybody being involved, from people flying the helicopters to people filling water bottles to people on shore carrying sacks of rice. I remember that the guys were hauling people in on stretchers that the helicopters had rescued...it was just an incredible operation from the very first," he said.
"The people of Aceh, to this day, are incredibly grateful. They all remember this ship, the efforts the people made and the generosity of the American military," he added.
"I think that everybody on this ship can be extremely proud of what they did in the recovery and the fact that we are all carrying through to make it work in the end," Pascoe concluded.
"I thought it was really nice that they came on board to thank us again for helping them out," said Chief Hull Technician (SW/AW) Carmen Viduya, Lincoln's command equal opportunity advisor and one of the Sailors who volunteered in Aceh during OUA. "I was honored to meet them."
As Pascoe's group left the ship, another group of Indonesian visitors, led by Commander in Chief of the Indonesian Military Air Chief Marshal Djoko Suyarto, began a brief tour. The group toured the ship, witnessed flight operations from the flight deck, and spoke with the pilots and crew of HS-2 before departing.
Lincoln is currently on a scheduled Western Pacific deployment.
For related news, visit the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.