In this file photo, aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) transits through the Pacific Ocean Dec. 16. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Zachary S. Welch)

PACIFIC OCEAN - Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, embarked on USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), entered the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, Dec. 23, as part of a deployment to the western Pacific and Indian Oceans.

From 7th Fleet, the strike group is scheduled to transit to the U.S. 5th Fleet/U.S. Central Command area of operations to provide support to coalition forces operating there.

Rear Adm. Mike Shoemaker, commander of Carrier Strike Group 9, said that even though Lincoln and the other strike group assets will focus on the 5th and 7th Fleet, CSG 9 remains ready to respond to any mission in any theater of operation.

“As we operate through the Pacific en route to 5th Fleet,” said Shoemaker, “we continue to seek opportunities to train and build partnerships with our allies around the world.” “U.S. naval forces help encourage dialogue, promote growth and ensure the free flow of trade, which is vital to the economies of all nations” he added.

The 7th Fleet covers a large area encompassing more than 48 million square miles, an area in which more than half of the world’s population resides. In addition, more than 80 percent of that population lives within 500 miles of the ocean, which makes for an inherently maritime region.

Capt. John D. Alexander, commanding officer of USS Abraham Lincoln, said the strike group is ready to stand watch wherever the Navy sends them.

“We are prepared; we are sustainable; we are adaptable; and we provide enormous capability,” Alexander said. “U.S. naval forces are instrumental in building friendships and interoperability among the nations of this region.”

CSG 9 is comprised of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), Carrier Air Wing 2 (CVW 2) , USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and Destroyer Squadron 9 (DESRON 9) , with USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).

Following deployment, Lincoln will change homeports from Everett, Wash., to Norfolk, Va., for a periodic refueling complex overhaul.

For more information on CSG 9 and the USS Abraham Lincoln, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/ or www.facebook.com/usslincoln.