Navy Captain Makes History as First Woman to Command an Aircraft Carrier

Navy Captain Makes History as First Woman to Command an Aircraft Carrier
Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt, USN, reads her orders during a change-of-command ceremony held Aug. 19 on the flight deck of USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeremiah Bartelt/Navy)

Capt. Amy Bauernschmidt, USN, became the first woman to take command of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Aug. 19 at a change-of-command ceremony for USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) in San Diego.


Bauernschmidt, who was tapped for a 2022 carrier command in December along with five fellow officers, served as the carrier's executive officer from 2016-2019, the first woman to serve in that capacity aboard a nuclear-powered flattop. She recently commanded USS San Diego (LPD-22), an amphibious transport dock.


“There is no more humbling sense of responsibility than to know you are entrusted with the care of the people who have chosen to protect our nation,” Bauernschmidt said at the Aug. 19 ceremony, according to a Navy press release. She also thanked outgoing commanding officer Capt. Walt “Sarge” Slaughter for turning over “the finest ship in the fleet.”


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Bauernschmidt graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., in 1994 and was designated as a naval aviator in 1996, according to her Navy bio. She has racked up more than 3,000 flight hours in naval aircraft.


The San Diego-based carrier is set to deploy in the coming months, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune. The ship returned in January 2020 from a 295-day deployment.


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Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and Follow him on X: @KRLilley