EVERETT, Wash. -- It was a bittersweet goodbye Wednesday morning at Naval Station Everett as the USS Abraham Lincoln departed for a final time after 15 years based in Everett.
The ship arrived in Everett in January 1997. It's been deployed to places around the globe to fight the war on terror in the Middle East and send aid to people affected by global disasters. In 2003, President George W. Bush landed on the Lincoln to congratulate the ship for its "mission accomplished" during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Lincoln and entire carrier strike group is scheduled for a routine deployment to the Middle East, then it heads to her new home in Newport News, Virginia, where she'll undergo four years of maintenance.
Many of the 3,000 crew members and their families will move with the ship.
"It's going to be harder being farther away from home. That is one of the reasons I took orders to the Lincoln, to be a little closer to home," said Joshua Curlee, Navy airman.
"Almost like a mascot, everybody knows about the Lincoln," said Lisa Grant, Navy wife. "Everybody is supportive of the Navy and all the people in it."
The Lincoln be replaced in January by the USS Nimitz, which has been undergoing maintenance at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton.