Navy captain becomes 1st woman in history to lead nuclear carrier

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. 

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Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt, newly appointed commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, delivers remarks during a change of command ceremony held on the flight deck on Aug. 19, 2021. 

Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt, newly appointed commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, delivers remarks during a change of command ceremony held on the flight deck on Aug. 19, 2021.  (Mass Communication Spc. 3rd Class Jeremiah Bartelt/U.S. Navy via AP)

“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.” 

The U.S. Navy shows the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) as it deploys from San Diego on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. 

The U.S. Navy shows the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) as it deploys from San Diego on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.  (Mass Communication Spc. 1st Class Robert S. Price/U.S. Navy via AP)

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. 

Sailors and marines line the deck of aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) as it deploys from San Diego on Monday, Jan. 3, 2021. 

Sailors and marines line the deck of aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) as it deploys from San Diego on Monday, Jan. 3, 2021.  (K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)

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

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. 

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Families wave to the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) as it deploys from San Diego, California, on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022.

Families wave to the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) as it deploys from San Diego, California, on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022. (K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP)

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. 

The first women to serve in the Navy were nurses in the early 20th century and the first large-scale enlistment of women came during World War II, according to an official military history website. The Navy designated the first woman as an aviator in 1974 and women were first assigned to a combat ship, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, in 1994. 

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