Prince Mohamed visits USS Abraham Lincoln
By Azaraimy HH

On Tuesday, His Royal Highness Prince Mohamed Bolkiah along with several government and military officials landed onboard a US nuclear aircraft carrier, USS Abraham Lincoln, in an undisclosed location off the coast of Borneo.

HRH consented to accept an invitation from the commanding officer of the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Force Group, Rear Admiral John Goodwin.

The ship is currently deployed to the Western Pacific to conduct maritime security operation.

HRH, who was accompanied by US Embassy Charge d'Affaires Jeff Hawkins, travelled to the carrier on a US Navy aircraft and made a landing on the carrier, where Rear Admiral John Goodwin and a guard of honour greeted HRH on arrival.

The Carrier Strike Group organised an impressive display of air power for HRH, including launches and overflights by F-18 Hornets and other military aircraft, a helicopter fast-rope demonstration and carrier operations.

Three other US surface vessels - a cruiser and two destroyers - passed in review in honour of HRH's presence.

The group visited several pilots and aircrew from Helicopter Anti Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 47, who showed HRH a SH-60(B) 'Seahawk', which was used in Operation Unified Assistance in Indonesia during the aftermath of the December 26, 2004 tsunami.

HRH met with Admiral Goodwin, USS Abraham Lincoln Commanding Officer Capt. C. Andrew McCawley and other senior US Navy officials while on board.

"What you have seen today is the best example of the US Navy," said Rear Admiral Goodwin. "We're very proud of our friendship with Brunei and we hope to come back and visit some day soon."

HRH made a catapult-launched departure from the USS Lincoln.

This ship was named in honour of America's 16th president and is the second ship in the US Navy to bear his name.

Most recently, the USS Lincoln responded to the December 26, 2004 tsunami disaster in the coast of Aceh, Indonesia, one of the areas hardest hit by the catastrophe.

Other deployments include Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Operation Fiery Vigil, assistance in UN humanitarian operation and several others in Arabian Gulf.

The ship boasts all amenities found in any America city with a comparable population. These include a post office (with own zip code), TV and radio stations, newspaper, fire department, library, hospital, general store, barbershops and more.

The ship has enough electrical generating power to supply electricity to 100,000 homes, food and supplies to operate for 90 days and the capability of distilling more than 400,000 gallons of fresh water from the sea each day. - Borneo Bulletin (12th May 2006)