First-class Petty Officer Tysen Osborn arrived at his mother's home in Brazil, May 9, after 10 months at sea aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.
The career sailor, who's been in the Navy for 10 1/2 years, is originally from Oregon. His current home base is the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island in Washington State. His mother, Lucy Miller, moved to Brazil about a year ago to be near her daughter and grandchildren.
Osborn boarded the Lincoln with his air wing, July 24 in San Diego, Calif., for an expected six-month deployment. It ended up being one of the longest deployments of a nuclear-powered carrier ship since Vietnam. The ship joined the Fifth Fleet in the Arabian Sea to support Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
"Then we went to our operations in the North Persian Gulf which was in support of the no-fly zone for Operation Southern Watch and the war on terrorism," Osborn said.
They were on their way home in January when the carrier received orders to return to the Gulf to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Lincoln, one of five carriers, launched air and missile strikes against Iraq during the war.
"We dropped a lot of bombs prior to actual invasion of Iraq preparing it for the ground troops," Osborn said.
The airman worked on the hanger deck. The 28-year-old was the night check supervisor of his center. His responsi bilities included fixing the navigation and communication systems on the ship.
According to Osborn, the flight deck of the USS Lincoln is 4 1/2 acres in size. There were about 5,500 personnel and approximately 75 aircraft on board. The deck extends nearly four stories above the water with the signal bridge standing about 12 stories above the water.
The Lincoln left the Persian Gulf April 9 heading home. Just outside the San Diego Harbor on May 1, President Bush made a dramatic tailhook landing aboard the ship in an S3 Viking jet. In a nationally televised speech, the president said the heaviest combat with Iraq was over.
"The president took control of the plane for a short time," Osborn said. "But he did not perform the actual landing because it required a lot of expertise.
"The crew was really excited about him being there," Osborn continued. "I personally felt really honored having him there, speaking to us and spending the night with us on ship. I tried to shake his hand after the speech but couldn't get close enough.
"He's a real people person. You could tell he really enjoyed getting down and talking to the enlisted personnel. The military is very supportive of President Bush."
Osborn plans to spend a couple weeks visiting with his Indiana family. That includes his mother, Lucy Miller; step-dad, Jim Miller; sister, Lucinda Jolliff; nephew, Adam Jolliff and niece, Sarah Jolliff. Then the single airman will visit his father, brother and other relatives in Oregon for a week before reporting back to active duty at Whidbey Island on May 29.
"I'd just like to say that I, and the entire crew of the Abraham Lincoln, appreciated everybody who showed support to us and to all of the military while we were over there. That support is extremely important to us because it makes us feel that what we're doing is worth while."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.