A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Alexandria native Jacob Greer returns from seven-month deployment aboard floating city at sea

By Megan Brown
Navy Office of Community Outreach

A 2017 Campbell County High School graduate returned home June 16, marking the end of a seven-month deployment aboard USS Harry S. Truman.

Airman Jacob Greer, an Alexandria native, is an air traffic controller aboard the carrier. Since departing its homeport of Norfolk in November 2019, the aircraft carrier sailed in the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

“I love how challenging my job can be not on our body but on our mind,” said Greer. “Our job doesn’t put stress on our body but can get to be very stressful depending on where we’re flying and what he mission is.”

Airman Jacob Greer runs a pre-flight simulation in the air traffic control center. (Photo by Seaman Megan Wollam)

Following a scheduled return from deployment in March, after operating in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operations, Truman remained underway in the Western Atlantic as a certified and ready carrier force ready for tasking. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, the Truman continued to conduct operations underway, minimizing the potential spread of the virus aboard the ships, in order to maintain maritime stability and security and ensure access, deter aggression and defend U.S., allied and partner interests.

Truman sailed more than 56,000 nautical miles, deploying dynamically to support dual-carrier operations, air defense exercises, anti-submarine warfare exercises, and interoperability with joint services and with allies and partners. The ship also completed multiple strait and choke point transits, to include the Strait of Gibraltar, the Suez Canal and the Bab-el Mandeb Strait, while operating under three Combatant Commanders – U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), U.S. European Command (EUCOM), and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

There are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers. Greer is most proud of being able to serve the country during the COIVD-19 pandemic and when things got tense with Iran. Greer is also of proud of competing school in four months which takes civilians two years.

Truman demonstrated the Navy’s continuing regional commitment to EUCOM and CENTCOM areas of responsibility by hosting 80 embarked guests, including political and military leaders from eight ally and partner nations. These embarks directly supported U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet theater security objectives and greatly enhanced U.S. relationships and partnerships with multiple NATO ally and partner nations and Gulf Cooperation Council members.

“I’m so very proud of all our sailors,” said Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh, commanding officer of Truman, “Their resilience, perseverance, and utter dedication to mission has been nothing short of exemplary. It has been my greatest honor to serve as Truman’s commanding officer this deployment!”

According to Navy officials, maintaining maritime superiority is a vital part of a Navy that is present today and prepared for tomorrow. The impact affects Americans and their interests around the world, as more than 70 percent of the Earth is covered by water and 90 percent of all trade travels by sea.

The foundation of the Navy the nation needs includes a focus on warfighting, warfighters and the future of the fighting force.

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Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard Truman. More than 6,000 men and women serve aboard the ship during deployment keeping all parts of the ship running smoothly. Each crew member performs a number of tasks outside of their traditional job or rating.

“We control the aircraft while they are in the air, we tell them where to go and make sure they complete the mission with no danger of colliding in the air or with other targets at night and during the day,” said Greer.

Throughout the deployment, Truman performed numerous training exercises to develop tactical competencies. From carrier strike force operations as the flagship of the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group, to exercises with partner navies and forces, the ship developed key skillsets to maintain readiness and interoperability.

While conducting stability operations in the CENTCOM area of responsibility, the strike group was called upon during an international crisis to assert American commitment to the region and act as a primary de-escalatory catalyst.

Serving in the Navy is a continuing tradition of military service for Greer. who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Greer is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My great grandfather served in WWII with the Army, he stormed the beach of Normandy on D-Day,” said Greer.

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Greer as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.

“I joined the military for a new beginning,” added Greer. “I wanted to gain experience in a certain skill so when I do get out I won’t be struggling to live or have to spend money on college.”

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