Lincoln Leaves San Diego, Begins TSTA

Friday, July 27, 2007
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class James R. Evans, USS Abraham Lincoln Public Affairs

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) wrapped up two weeks of training and certification with a scheduled port visit to Naval Air Station North Island July 22-24. Lincoln’s crew enjoyed two full days of liberty in the San Diego area while the ship took on personnel and equipment from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 in preparation for the next phase of operations.

Prior to the visit, Lincoln spent its first two weeks underway since completing sea trials and a nine-month Dry-dock Planned Incremental Availability at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, Wash. During the time underway, Lincoln completed carrier qualifications for the ship’s flight deck, including certification of its Precision Approach Landing System and Carrier Air Traffic Control, and performed carrier qualifications for four west coast Fleet Replacement Squadrons (FRS), according to Lincoln’s operations officer, Cmdr. Paul Mackley.

“We spent the first two weeks out to sea getting our basic qualifications so that we could move on to the next phase of training,” Mackley said. “We met all of our objectives and got good reviews from COMNAVAIR (Commander, Naval Air Forces) and AIRPAC (Air Forces Pacific). In all, we did 275 arrested landings for our own (flight deck) certification and another 652 for FRS carrier qualification.” Lincoln also hosted a ship’s Materials Maintenance Management assessment assist team from Air Forces Pacific, performed two fueling at sea evolutions with USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187), and conducted a number of shipwide training evolutions including man overboard drills and live-fire exercises.

Lincoln departed NAS North Island July 24 to begin a Tailored Ship’s Training Availability (TSTA). TSTA is designed to prepare the ship and crew for full integration into Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9. “The primary objective of TSTA is to ensure that we can perform all of our self-sustained combat missions within the ship,” Mackley said. “It’s also our first chance to integrate with our air wing. Once we complete TSTA, we basically graduate and join the strike group.” For Lincoln's crew, TSTA will mean a busy few weeks as the ship’s operational tempo ramps up to ensure that they are ready for the challenges of the next deployment.

“There will be flight operations pretty much every day, a lot of general quarters drills to ensure that the crew is ready and able to fight the ship in any situation, and a few underway replenishments,” Mackley said. “The other major component is our air defense [qualifications], including Close-In Weapons System shoots and a NATO Sea Sparrow shoot.”

The three-phase TSTA will lead up to a Final Evaluation Problem, in which the entire ship’s performance over a two-day event will be graded by Afloat Training Group and Air Forces Pacific before the ship can be certified by CSG 9.

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