UP native returns from 7-month deployment aboard 'Floating City at Sea'
A 2006 Gwinn High School graduate and Upper Peninsula native 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.
Petty Officer 1st Class Shane Miller is an aviation boatswain’s mate (handling) aboard the carrier.
“My favorite part of the job is to teach and train the young sailors of the Navy to become future leaders and to leave this place in better hands then when I enlisted,” Miller said.
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).
“My proudest accomplishment is protecting my country from people who wish us harm and hopefully I am doing my part to make this a better, safer world for my children as they grow up,” Miller said.
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.
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 crewmember performs a number of tasks outside of their traditional job or rating.
“As a hangar deck supervisor, I manage a very diverse group of individuals to make sure multi-million dollar aircraft are moved safely and efficiently between the flight deck and hangar bay so that critical maintenance can be completed,” Miller said.
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 Miller, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Miller is honored to carry on the family tradition.
“My grandfather served in WWII in the U.S. Navy as a boatswain’s mate and my father served 23 years in the U.S. Air Force as an engine mechanic and in the environmental and safety department,” Miller said.
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Miller, 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.