Cartersville Native Serves with Versatile U.S. Navy Helicopter Squadron in San Diego
Wednesday, October 10, 2018- 4:29 p.m.
A 2011 Cass High School graduate and Cartersville, Georgia, native is serving in the U.S. Navy with Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 73 at Naval Station North Island in Coronado, California.
Airman Kurtis Harrison is a Navy aviation structural mechanic serving with HSM 73, a versatile squadron that’s capable of completing a number of important missions for the Navy with the MH-60R “Seahawk” helicopter.
A Navy aviation structural mechanic is responsible for the structural frame of the aircraft, transmission and hydraulic system.
“I'm a very hands-on person. Anything that keeps me busy is what I enjoy," Harrison said. “From putting on panels to spending half the day replacing a landing system to doing hydraulics.”
Harrison credits success in the Navy to lessons learned in Cartersville.
“I learned leadership and responsibility managing a Walmart store, I learned to work hard,” Harrison said. “No one is different when it comes to work. Everyone is accountable for their actions and must be held accountable.”
HSM 73's primary mission is to conduct sea control operations in open-ocean and coastal environments as part of a Carrier Air Wing. This includes hunting for submarines, searching for surface targets over the horizon and conducting search and rescue operations, if required.
The MH-60R is the Navy's new primary maritime dominance helicopter, replacing the SH-60B and SH-60F aircraft. Greatly enhanced over its predecessors, the MH-60R helicopter features a glass cockpit and significant mission system improvements, which give it unmatched capability as an airborne multi-mission naval platform, according to Navy officials.
“To be honest, everyone has each others' backs here," Harrison said. "We have no problem lifting a helping hand to ensure everyone is going to be reliable.”
Though there are many ways for sailors to earn the distinction in their command, community, and career, Harrison is most proud of obtaining his plane captain qualification.
“It's usually a requirement that takes six months but I achieved it in two months,” Harrison said. “It's the only qualification our skipper can sign off on for enlisted personnel so it’s an important milestone.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Harrison and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, one that will provide a critical component of the Navy the nation needs.
“The Navy has been a good stepping stone for figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life,” Harrison said.