USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- World famous members of the Indy 500 Centennial Tour visited Sailors aboard the deployed aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) Jan. 15-16.
Mario Andretti, Al Unser, Jr., Johnny Rutherford Arute, Sarah Fisher, Larry Foyt, Davey Hamilton, Cameron Haven, and Martin Plowman were among the visitors to the ship.
Lincoln Strike Group Sailors received autographs, t-shirts and photos; participated in a video game racing challenge; and ate meals with the drivers during their time aboard. In addition, the Indy drivers watched flight operations from the flight deck and were given a tour of Lincoln's jet shop for a demonstration of the power of an F/A-18 engine.
"My initial reaction when learning about the Indy tour was tremendous excitement," said Electronics Technician 1st Class Jeffery Scott. "I grew up watching Johnny Rutherford, Al Unser, Jr. and Mario Andretti, and I think it is great that they came out to show their support."
Andretti said he was very flattered to be invited and rearranged his schedule so that he would be able to be part of the tour.
"I think the military is the most noble profession on the planet and all of you should be very proud," he said.
Operations Specialist 1st Class Charles Atchison said seeing the racing heroes in person reminded him of being a kid.
"You see them on TV and on the track, and then they're here," said Atchison. "Just to be able to shake hands with these guys, that I think are legends, is a morale booster."
Plowman, one of the active drivers who took part in the visit to Lincoln, had his hair cut by a ship's barber, Ship's Serviceman 2nd Class Keyshawn Coats. The trimming was designed to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.
So far approximately $5,000 has been raised with an overall goal of $10,000 by the end of the tour, said Plowman.
The visit was the second stop on a 10-day tour, which is scheduled to visit several U.S. military bases in southwest Asia and Europe. The first stop on the tour was at Ramstein Airbase, Germany.
The tour was choreographed by the Moral Entertainment Foundation, Armed Forces Entertainment and Department of Defense Agencies, and included support from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IZOD IndyCar Series.
The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.