Cmdr. David J. Cordova
U.S. Navy

NORFOLK,VA—A 2001 University of Colorado graduate and 2009 University of South Carolina graduate and Belen native returned home June 16, marking the end of 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.

Cmdr. David J. Cordova is a naval flight officer aboard the carrier. As a naval flight officer, Cordova is responsible for flying Maritime Patrol Aircraft and providing time sensitive intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and targeting for Naval, Joint and Combined Commanders. Cordova provides leadership, vision, direction and encouragement for a diverse group of individuals and teams who serve our nation in the Navy at sea, ashore and abroad.

“My favorite part about my job is the people, the good upstanding humans from all over the world who choose to sacrifice being away from loved ones to protect our way of life,” said Cordova. “They all have a willingness to be part of a bigger cause and to work together as a team to keep our country and those all over the world united and free.”

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 being part of the crew of the USS Harry S. Truman on deployment, while conducting safe and successful operations overseas to ensure peace and freedom during these challenging times,” said Cordova. “I am proud to have joined the Navy as a junior enlisted sailor and work my way through the ranks to commander.”

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.

“I am currently serving as the ship’s safety officer, implementing Navy Occupational and Safety Hazard programs and keeping the crew operating efficiently and safely daily,” said Cordova.

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 Cordova, who has military ties with family members who have previously served. Cordova is honored to carry on the family tradition.

“My grandfather, father, uncles and cousins all served in local government, Army, Air Force and Navy,” said Cordova.

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Cordova, 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 the Navy to fly as a naval aviator, to see the world and do my part to serve our country,” said Cordova. “I also saw it as an opportunity to better myself, gain valuable work experiences and further my education. Over the past 30 years, I have traveled the globe, serving overseas in almost every military campaign and operation since the first Gulf War. I joined as an enlisted sailor and am currently a commander onboard an aircraft carrier.

“I want to thank my wife, Gladys Cordova; children, Jonathan, Gabby and Isabela; my mother and father, Rosemarie and Max Cordova; sister, Lisa Kaneshiro; and brother, Vincent Cordova, for their unconditional support, sacrifice and love over the years,” added Cordova. “I would not be where I am today, doing what I love, without them all supporting me.”

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Rick Burke Navy Office of Community Outreach