Troy native returns from deployment

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jesse Hawthorne

Navy Office of Community Outreach

NORFOLK, Va. — A 2018 Troy High School graduate and Troy native returned home Aug. 9th, marking the end of a seven-month deployment aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Since departing its homeport of Norfolk, Va., in January 2020 for the ship’s Composite Training Unit Exercise (COMPTUEX), the aircraft carrier remained underway and deployed to the Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Isaac Lovitt is an electronics technician aboard the carrier. As an electronics technician, Lovitt is responsible for repair and upkeep of numerous electronic systems on a ship.

“My favorite part of the job is fixing my gear,” said Lovitt. “Getting your hands into your system and being able to say ‘Yeah, I’m the one who fixed that,’ is easily one of the best and most satisfying feelings you can have.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, USS Eisenhower continued to conduct operations underway, minimizing the potential spread of the virus aboard in order to maintain maritime stability and security and ensure access, deter aggression and defend U.S., allied and partner interests.

USS Eisenhower, along with the USS San Jacinto (CG 56), one of the other ships within Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 10, remained continuously at sea with no port visits, setting a new record for the U.S. Navy, breaking the previous record of 160 days set in 2002 by USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).

“I’m so proud of the young men and women I see on the deck plates each and every day,” said Capt. Kyle Higgins, Ike’s commanding officer. “Their dedication to the mission is what makes our Navy the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen.”

Sailors assigned to Eisenhower and San Jacinto transited to the equator and participated in a unique crossing the line ceremony, becoming the Navy’s first ‘Iron Shellbacks,’ with more than 100 days at sea May 14. Ike petitioned Naval History and Heritage Command to commemorate this feat in conjunction with crossing the equator as a new title: ‘Iron Shellback.’

“I am most proud of becoming a shellback, defending free trade in the midst of a global pandemic and simply surviving a deployment as unorthodox as this one,” said Lovitt. “However, nothing beats conquering a challenging, hard fought and exhausting days at sea.”

USS Eisenhower participated in multiple exercises with allies and partners and dual-carrier operations. The ships within CSG-10 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 two Combatant Commanders — U.S. European Command (EUCOM), and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

“I am responsible for one of the ship’s identification systems,” said Lovitt. “My system plays a very important role in identifying both other ships and aircraft over hundreds of miles away.”

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

“I have many relatives who have served before me,” said Lovitt. “My father and uncle were both in the Air Force and two of my family members served during WWII in the Navy; I am very proud to carry on their legacy.”

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Lovitt, 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 for critical life experience and for a less humble reason, the money,” added Lovitt.