Sailors from the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln are finally catching a break.
With two days to spare before Thanksgiving, and weeks after most of its surface escorts returned home, Lincoln pulled into Bahrain’s capital, Manama, for a port visit Tuesday, Navy 5th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Joshua Frey told Navy Times in an email.
“We value our partnership with key allies in the region, and are grateful our team is able to visit their ports and learn about their cultures,” Frey said. “We consider this an invaluable aspect of deployments of our forces. Sailors aboard USS Abraham Lincoln are enjoying a quality of life port visit in Manama, Bahrain.
"Our nearly 70-year bilateral relationship is underpinned by shared priorities such as freedom of navigation and sustained by security cooperation initiatives that build and strengthen the capacity of Bahrain to ensure its security and prosperity. The U.S. Navy has many years of experience in sustaining ships at sea for extended periods.”
The stop comes four days after the Navy announced that the flattop’s embarked Carrier Air Wing 7 had begun operating in support of Operation Inherent Resolve from the Persian Gulf, where it arrived Nov. 19.
Lincoln left Naval Station Norfolk April 1 for an around-the-world deployment that will end in a homeport shift to San Diego. Within weeks of leaving, however, it was rushed to the Middle East amid heightened tensions with Iran’s regime.
It has remained in the region since May and saw its deployment extended while its replacement, the aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman, was sidelined for electrical glitches.
U.S. Fleet Forces Command announced earlier this month that Truman had been fixed. It left Norfolk Nov. 18 and remains at sea conducting operations, but an update on its upcoming deployment was not available Tuesday, said Lt. Marycate Walsh, a spokeswoman for the Navy’s 2nd Fleet.
The Norfolk-based guided-missile cruiser Leyte Gulf, which also deployed with Lincoln, remains at sea.
Lincoln’s stop in Bahrain was first reported by Stars and Stripes.
Navy Times editor’s note: If you’re a loved on of a service member on board Lincoln or Leyte Gulf and you’d like to talk about what this deployment has been like for you, send the reporter an email at email@example.com . She’s working on a story about that. Please note that we also changed “Arabian Gulf” to “Persian Gulf.” We don’t use Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Basra or other names.
Courtney Mabeus is a senior writer at Navy Times. Mabeus previously covered the military for The Virginian-Pilot, in Norfolk, Va., where she first set foot on an aircraft carrier.