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Autry readies jets in catapults aboard USS Harry S. Truman

NORFOLK, Va.- Huntsville native Michael B. Autry recently returned home after a seven-month deployment aboard USS Harry S. Truman.

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

Petty Officer 3rd Class Autry serves as an aviation boatswain’s mate (handling) aboard the carrier. In his job, Autry is responsible for directing various aircraft around the flight deck.

As the COVID-19 pandemic spread, the USS Truman continued to conduct operations. Truman sailed more than 56,000 nautical miles, including transit of Strait of Gibraltar, Suez Canal and Bab-el Mandeb Strait.

“I enjoy the experience. It’s such as adrenaline rush,” Autry said. “I never know what to expect when I step foot on the flight deck. Every day is different, every move is different, and the job itself is different.”

Autry sees his greatest achievement as advancing to the next rank and becoming fully qualified in his job.

“I’m so very proud of all our sailors,” Truman Commanding Officer Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh said. “Their resilience, perseverance and utter dedication to mission has been nothing short of exemplary.”

“The jets move on my command,” Autry said. “They would not launch off the flight deck if I was not there to put them on the catapults.”

“My father was a captain in the Air Force,” Autry said. “He conducted operations in Operation Iraqi Freedom and showed me the importance of the military and how great of a life you can have with it. I joined the Navy to follow in my father’s footsteps and to give my family a life that a 21-year-old would only dream to have.”

“What people experience on a ship is completely different from what we experience on land,” Autry said. “This ship is a different lifestyle.”

“We shower with shoes on, sleep in a 100-man berthing, work through any weather, never know when we will see home again and you’re not there to comfort your family when things go wrong. Always remember, yes, we signed up for this, but some people have it a lot worse than you do,” he said.

The Media Outreach Department with the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tenn. produces these profiles. Rick Burke researched this article. For more information, visit outreach.navy.mil, Facebook/Navy Outreach, Twitter @NavyOutreach or Instagram @US_Navy_Outreach.

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