Navy captain becomes first woman to command nuclear carrier in U.S. history

Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt, commanding officer of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), speaks with local media during a press conference before the ship gets underway for a regularly-scheduled deployment. (Photo: Petty Officer 1st

The USS Abraham Lincoln deployed this week from San Diego under the command of Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt, the first woman to lead a nuclear carrier in U.S. Navy history.

Bauernschmidt, who previously served as the Abraham Lincoln's executive officer from 2016 to 2019, took over command from Capt. Walt Slaughter during a ceremony last August, CBS 8 in San Diego reported.

The carrier deployed Monday from Naval Air Station North Island as part of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group.

"There is no more humbling sense of responsibility than to know you are entrusted with the care of the people who have chosen to protect our nation," Bauernschmidt said, according to a Navy news release. "Thank you, Capt. Slaughter, for turning over the finest ship in the fleet."

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Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Pierre Humphries, from Chicago, pipes aboard Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt, incoming commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, during a change of command ceremony held on the flight deck. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeremiah Bartelt/Released)

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Bauernschmidt previously served as the commanding officer of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 70 and the amphibious transport dock San Diego.

She has completed more than 3,000 flight hours during her career, the news station reported.

The Abraham Lincoln completed its maintenance period in April, following a 294-day, around-the-world deployment.

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The Carrier Strike Group is led by the command staff of Carrier Strike Group 3 and consists of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, Carrier Air Wing 9, the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay and the guided-missile destroyers of Destroyer Squadron 21 — USS Fitzgerald, USS Gridley, USS Sampson and USS Spruance.

The strike group is deploying with what the Navy is touting as its "most advanced air wing" and is heading to the Indo-Pacific region.