USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- Thousands of Sailors went for a dip in the Arabian Sea during a swim call aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) April 24.
More than 2,500 Sailors jumped nearly 27 feet from one of the ship's aircraft elevators into the Arabian Sea and swam about 110 meters to the aft stern dock. Air rescue swimmers from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 12, Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77 and shipboard search and rescue (SAR) swimmers stood watch throughout the event to ensure the swimmers' safety.
"It wasn't that long of a swim to get to the stern, but I would definitely do it again," said Airman Christyl Roper. "I felt really safe. There were a lot of rescue swimmers, and they all kept a close eye on us. They seemed really calm, which made us feel calm. We all just had a fun time."
Air Rescue Swimmer 2nd Class Jeremy Smith said he and the other rescue swimmers kept an eye on the Sailors from the moment they hit the water, to when they surfaced and returned to the ship. The rescue swimmers also kept watch for fatigued Sailors, changes in sea currents and dangerous sea life.
"It was a thrill," said Airman Danny Longoria. "It went by so fast. You have no idea what is going on and how fast you are dropping. It feels great to get that adrenaline and relieve stress. We're on the flight deck all day, and an event like this really can jump-start your week."
Lincoln's commanding officer, executive officer and command master chief were the first ones to leap in the water to kick off the event. For Capt. John D. Alexander, the ship's commanding officer, it was the first swim call in a Navy career spanning more than 29 years.
"After two extensions, this swim call was much-needed," said Lt. j.g. Dyane Scott, the event's coordinator. "We needed something to uplift the morale of the crew, and this was the perfect way to do just that."
Lincoln is the flagship for Carrier Strike Group 9, which also includes the guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and Destroyer Squadron 9, comprised of guided-missile destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).
CSG 9 and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, embarked aboard Lincoln, are deployed to the 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support exercises in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
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