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.

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