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This Navy captain is now the first woman commanding a nuclear aircraft carrier

Diana Stancy Correll

Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt, newly appointed commanding officer of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, delivers remarks during a change of command ceremony on the flight deck. (MC3 Jeremiah Bartelt/Navy) (USS Abraham Lincoln
Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt is now the commanding officer of the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln — becoming the first woman to lead a nuclear carrier in U.S. Navy history.
Enlarge Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt observes sea and anchor detail on the bridge of the USS San Die...

Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt observes sea and anchor detail on the bridge of the USS San Diego in 2020. (MC1 Benjamin Kittleson/Navy) (Petty Officer 1st Class Benjamin Kittleson/USS SAN DIEGO (LPD 22))

Enlarge Capt. Amy N. Bauernschmidt, then-commanding officer of the amphibious transport dock Sa...

Capt. Amy N. Bauernschmidt, then-commanding officer of the amphibious transport dock San Diego, meets with Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith during his visit to the ship in 2019. (MC1 Woody Paschall/Navy) (Petty Officer 1st Class Woody Paschall/Commander, Naval Surface Force, )

Bauernschmidt, who previously served as the carrier’s executive officer from 2016-2019, relieved Capt. Walt “Sarge” Slaughter of his duties Aug. 19 during a change of command ceremony in San Diego.

“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 carrier, homeported at Naval Air Station North Island, California, wrapped up its maintenance period in April, following a 294-day, round-the-world deployment.

The Lincoln left Norfolk Naval Base, Va., its previous homeport, in April 2019 and — after its deployment was extended twice — arrived at its new homeport in Coronado in January 2020. The Navy announced in December 2020 that Bauernschmidt had been tapped to command the Lincoln.

After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1994, Bauernschmidt became a helicopter pilot and was assigned to Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron Light 45, the “Wolfpack,” in San Diego.

While assigned to HSL-45, she deployed with destroyer John Young in support of maritime interdiction operations in the northern Arabian Gulf.

Subsequent assignments include serving as an instructor pilot and quality assurance officer with the “Seahawks” of HSL-41 in San Diego, and as the senior military advisor to the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. State Department.

This isn’t Bauernschmidt’s first CO tour. She previously served as the commanding officer of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 70 and the amphibious transport dock San Diego.

Altogether, she has racked up more than 3,000 flight hours during her career.


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