- As tensions escalate with Iran, the American aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman has been stationed nearby in the Arabian Sea.
- Commanding the ship is Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh, an Iranian-American who fled Iran during the 1979 Revolution.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
As tensions between the US and Iran heat up, the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman stands ready in the Middle East. And at the helm of that ship is a commander with a personal connection to the country.
Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh is an Iranian-American who spent his early childhood in Iran, before being forced to flee with his family during the 1979 revolution.
Speaking to The Virginian-Pilot in August after taking command of the ship, Hakimzadeh said what he experienced as a child inspired his line of work.
“As an 11-year-old it was a little traumatic to have life as you know it completely change like that,” Hakimzadeh said. “I think it is probably a lot to do with why I decided I wanted to serve and wanted to be in this line of work.”
Hakimzadeh was born in Texas in the late 1960s to an Iranian father and an American mother, The New York Times reported.
He moved to his father’s home country as a baby, and spent much of his early childhood there. Hakimzadeh attended an international school, where children spoke both Farsi and English. He was raised in the Southern Baptist religion.
But his “idyllic” childhood was shattered in 1979, when a revolution resulted in the overthrow of the US-backed shah and the institution of a conservative Muslim theocracy.
Hakimzadeh was 11 years old when he and his family were forced to flee the country, luckily catching a flight just as the airport was closing – which he said was very much like the film “Argo.” His sister was nine and his mother was seven months pregnant.
He joined the Navy straight out of high school, and early on it became his goal to command an aircraft carrier after seeing one for the first time during initial training in Norfolk.
“I love to tell people that it’s a testament to our merit-based Navy that a kid at 19, 20 years old can look at these things and go, ‘You know what? I want to command those one day.’ And it’s certainly a testament to the United States of America that a guy named Kavon Hakimzadeh can do that,” he told The Virginian-Pilot.
Much of Hakimzadeh’s career has been spent as a flight officer, and he has flown in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has received the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, and the Defence Meritorious Service Medal, among other awards, according to the Navy.
- Read more:
- Trump’s threat to destroy Iran’s cultural sites would put him in a very ugly club
- The US military is reportedly on ‘high alert’ for an ‘imminent attack threat’ as footage shows Iranians moving military equipment
- Iran says it has 13 ‘revenge scenarios’ that would be a ‘historic nightmare’ for the US following Soleimani’s assassination
- A foreign-policy expert says Iran has 2 options to hit back at Trump: Strike now, or quietly plan something much worse
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.