Charlotte native returns from 7 month deployment aboard floating city at sea

Charlotte native returns from 7 month deployment aboard floating city at sea

A 2011 Cuthbertson High School graduate and Charlotte native returned home June 16, marking the end of a seven-month deployment aboard the USS Harry S. Truman.

Since departing its homeport of Norfolk, Virginia in November 2019, the aircraft carrier has sailed in the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

 Petty Officer 3rd Class Megan Lowder is an aviation electronics technician aboard the carrier. Lowder is responsible for maintaining the Exciter Unit that controls the Radar Transmitters on the EA-18G “Growler.”

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 “My favorite part of my job is definitely some of the people I work with,” Lowder said. “You get to become really good friends when you’re stuck in the same shop together for six-plus months. Being the only female in my shop I go back and forth from being the ‘little sister’ to the ‘mom’ and although these guys all drive me crazy, I’d go into battle with every one of them. It’s always the people who make the job worthwhile.”

Following a scheduled return from deployment in March after operating in the U.S. 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation, the Truman remained underway in the western Atlantic as a certified and ready carrier force.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, the Truman continued to conduct operations, 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 to support dual-carrier operations, air defense exercises, anti-submarine warfare exercises and joint services with allies and partners.

“My proudest accomplishment this deployment was probably getting my Air Warfare and Surface Warfare qualification pins,” Lowder said.

“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!”

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.

“Because my gear is so specialized, it can take months or years to become an effective troubleshooter, so it is my job to troubleshoot and repair the exciters that the squadron sends us, and to train the Ships Company guys to be able to work on them as well,” Lowder said. “There are several other personnel onboard, all sent here with the purpose to augment the ship’s AIMD department to support the Air Wing, but I am the only experienced Exciter Unit technician onboard.”

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

“I come from a military family; I have two older brothers in the Air National Guard out of Charlotte, North Carolina, where my dad also retired in 2015 as a chief master sergeant,” Lowder said. “I joined the military in 2017 to carry on the family tradition but I chose active duty Navy to out-do my big brothers.”

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Lowder, as well as other sailors, know they are 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 future sailors.

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.