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This Navy captain fled Iran as a child. Now he’s preparing to return at the helm of an aircraft carrier

NORFOLK, Va. — The new skipper of one of America’s aircraft carriers fled Iran as a child.

Now, he’s preparing for a deployment that could take him back to the region at a time of heightened tensions between the two nations that helped mold him into who he is today.

Capt. Kavon Hakimzadeh took command of the USS Harry S. Truman in July, achieving a goal he set for himself 30 years ago after he first laid eyes on an aircraft carrier in Norfolk. Back then, he was a young sailor who’d joined the Navy straight out of high school to serve a country he had only lived in for about a decade.

His journey from Tehran to enlisted sailor to an officer in command of the ultimate symbol of American seapower is a story that he believes serves as a testament to the opportunities the United States provides.


Hakimzadeh (pronounced Ha-KEEM-za-day) was born in Texas to an American mother and an Iranian father, but moved to Iran when he was still a baby. He fondly remembers his childhood there during the 1970s.

He attended an international school where they spoke Farsi and English, kept the faith of his Southern Baptist mom and had uncles and cousins who lived nearby. At the time, Iran was pro-American and embraced many aspects of Western culture.

It was, as Hakimzadeh says, an “idyllic” childhood.

But that quickly changed during the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

He and his family were forced to flee to America when he was 11, his sister was 9 and his mother was seven-months pregnant. They were rushed onto an airplane as the airport was about to close, destined for a small town near Hattiesburg, Miss. where the son of one of his father’s business partners had agreed to take them in.

He said the weeks leading up to …read more

Read more here:: Task & Purpose

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