By Jackson Brown
NORFOLK, Va. – Megan Lowder, a 2011 graduate of Cuthbertson High School, returned home June 16, marking the end of a seven-month deployment aboard USS Harry S. Truman. Since departing its homeport of Norfolk, Virginia in November 2019, the aircraft carrier sailed in the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
Lowder, an aviation electronics technician aboard the carrier, is responsible for maintaining the exciter unit that controls the radar transmitters on the EA-18G Growler.
“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.’ 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, Truman remained in the Western Atlantic. As COVID-19 spread across the globe, the Truman continued to conduct operations, minimizing the potential spread of the virus aboard the ships, to maintain maritime stability and security.
Truman sailed more than 56,000 miles, deploying to support air defense exercises and anti-submarine warfare exercises. The ship completed strait and choke point transits, including the Strait of Gibraltar, the Suez Canal and the Bab-el Mandeb Strait. Truman also hosted 80 embarked guests, including political and military leaders from eight ally and partner nations.
“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!”
More than 6,000 men and women serve aboard the ship during deployment keeping all parts of the ship running smoothly. Each crewmember performs numerous tasks outside of their traditional job.
“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 have two older brothers in the Air National Guard out of Charlotte, 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 Navy, Lowder and other sailors know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance.
“I joined the Navy to serve my country, for the job security and to make something of myself,” Lowder added.
Jackson Brown serves as mass communication specialist for the Navy.