By Ken Stone
The date “the Abe” arrives isn’t clear, but the Navy says the homeport change to San Diego is effective Oct. 31, 2019 — Halloween.
The 30-year-old nuclear-powered flattop, which visited San Diego multiple times when its home was Alameda, served in the Pacific Fleet from 1990 to 2011 before moving to Virginia for midlife refueling.
Lincoln’s move is part of a three-carrier homeport swap, which saw the USS Carl Vinson leaving San Diego for Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, Wash., and USS John C. Stennis leaving Bremerton for Norfolk.
U.S. Naval Institute News said the Lincoln Carrier Strike Group also moving here includes the nine squadrons of Carrier Air Wing Seven, staffs of Carrier Strike Group Twelve and Destroyer Squadron Two; Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Bainbridge (DDG-96), USS Mason and USS Nitze; and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf.
Navy Times noted this would be the Lincoln’s first deployment in seven years — after arriving in Norfolk on Aug. 7, 2012, and beginning a four-year midlife overhaul at the Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding complex.
Commanders of the floating city have to juggle thousands of sailor and family moves.
“We worked with our headquarters in writing and generating 3,000 sets of orders accounting for 1,600 single sailors, 1,400 sailors with dependents; and overall this will affect about 6,000 sailors and their family members,” Chief Personnel Specialist Michael Rangel, Lincoln’s homeport change coordinator, said in late January.
Although some families will stay in Virginia, many — with children in school — will come to San Diego.
Noting the homeport shift of Oct. 31, “any moves to San Diego need to be made within 180 days of that date,” USNI said in February. “However, for those sailors with children, many families will want to move this summer so as not to disrupt children in school.”
Some have already moved here, since the crew was given two-week leave blocks ahead of the April 1 deployment.
“For single sailors, their housing allowance won’t bump from the lower Norfolk-area rates to the higher San Diego-area rates until the aircraft carrier is physically docked in San Diego – so those interested in moving their belongings to a San Diego apartment ahead of the move would have to pay some of the higher housing costs out of pocket for the duration of the deployment,” said the USNI report.[contextly_sidebar id=”QpZ1FrPyW55pkoIyOh4Ez61U0onUTOei”]”Single sailors may choose to deal with the move after the deployment, when they could live on the ship or in privatized military housing until they could secure an apartment in town or other living arrangements.”
Navy Times said the Lincoln was once tied up near the Enterprise — the world’s first nuclear-powered carrier.
“In 2014, workers transferred one of Enterprise’s massive anchors to Lincoln, sparing it from the scrapyard and preserving a piece of the legendary flattop’s legacy for today’s fleet,” Navy Times said.
Soon the Lincoln will be tied up near another presidential namesake carrier: The USS Theodore Roosevelt.
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