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    Secretary of Defense Rings Abraham Lincoln’s Line

    Sailors stand at attention around a conference table. The microphone is connected, the signal is established, and they’re ready. With little fanfare the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) Mark T. Esper takes the place of the blank screen as he greets Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) with a smile.
    Top-notch Sailors were hand selected to have the opportunity to speak with the SECDEF during the holiday video teleconference on Dec. 23.
    “I really wanted to reach out to the Abraham Lincoln specifically,” said Esper. “You all have been out to sea for a while now and have done such a great job in deterring conflict while also building relations around the world.”
    SECDEF expressed his gratitude for a job well done in the face of adversity following multiple extensions which will result in Abraham Lincoln setting the record for being the longest deployed carrier since the Vietnam War.
    “We all appreciate you being out there,” Esper said during the conference. “We know what you’re doing out there is hard and it’s unfortunate that you won’t be home for Christmas, but we all have you in our thoughts.”
    Sailors were also given carte blanche to ask the SECDEF any questions which led to talks about future plans, potential conflicts, the status of the Space Force as well as each Sailors Christmas wish.
    “I think he answered all of our questions as directly and honestly as possible,” said Aerographer’s Mate 2nd Class Madelyn Laughlin. “I admire him for that.”
    The purpose of the call was to tell Abraham Lincoln Sailors they are appreciated and that their hard work is recognized all the way up to the top leaders of the Navy.
    “It makes me feel good to know that he (SECDEF) was thinking about us during the holidays and wanted to know how we are feeling,” said Quartermaster 3rd Class Zyon Watkins. “I’m glad I have the opportunity to say I spoke to the secretary of defense. It was a cool experience.”
    As the call came to an end, Capt. Walter Slaughter, commanding officer of Abraham Lincoln, expressed his own gratitude for the Sailors he leads.
    “This is a great group of men and women who have been meeting the mission with a smile on their face. I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Slaughter said to SECDEF.



    Date Taken: 12.23.2019
    Date Posted: 12.31.2019 14:24
    Story ID: 357893
    Location: US

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