ARABIAN SEA (NNS) - USS Abraham Lincoln's (CVN 72) command master chief (CMDCM) was selected as the 2011 Joy Bright Hancock Senior Enlisted Leadership Award winner, Feb. 7.

The Sea Services Leadership Association (SSLA) selected CMDCM Susan Whitman as the recipient of the award which honors the visionary leadership of service members whose ideals and dedication foster a positive working environment for reinforcing and furthering the integration of women into the Navy.

"Since Master Chief Whitman's arrival aboard Abraham Lincoln; morale, retention, professionalism, advancement results, inspection scores and virtually every possible metric have significantly improved," said Capt. John D. Alexander, USS Abraham Lincoln commanding officer. "These metrics signify the results gained through positive deck plate leadership."

Through Whitman's leadership, Lincoln has earned distinction across all spectrums of operational excellence, including being named the 2010 Commander, Naval Air Forces "Battle E" winner for sustained superior performance in an operational environment. Lincoln also won 13 of 14 departmental awards, more than any other carrier in the Navy.

Currently underway for a 5th and 7th Fleet combat deployment in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and New Dawn, Lincoln spent 216 days away from its homeport in 2010, yet still increased overall advancement rate by 23 percent; almost doubling E-4 promotions ? becoming the highest scoring carrier in the Navy on the navy-wide examination. Lincoln also increased Zone A retention by 10 percent in 2010.

"This is really a team award," said Whitman. "I owe everything to the hard work and dedication of the Sailors in the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, who made this past year a huge success."

Whitman, a native of Piety Hill, Ill., distinguished herself from more than 90 of her peers, winning the selection board vote after more than a week of close deliberation. Whitman is one of only four female Sailors who has risen to the position of command master chief aboard an aircraft carrier in the history of the United States Navy.

The Joy Bright Hancock winners will be honored at the 2011 SSLA Women's Leadership Symposium in San Diego, Calif., March 15.

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