By Lisa Capobianco
For Southington native Courtney Maher, serving the U.S. is in his blood. His great grandfather served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. His grandfather served in the Navy for one term during the Korean War. Maher’s brother also served in the Navy during the Operation Desert Storm.
A graduate of Southington High School in 2001, Maher is a sonar technician 2nd Class (STG2) for the U.S. Navy. Come April, he will have been serving his country for six years.
“It was in the family,” said Maher, who is currently assigned to the USS Mahan (DDG 72), an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. “I always wanted to serve my country.”
As a sonar technician, Maher performs a variety of duties worldwide at overseas and statewide shore commands and aboard surface ships, aircraft and submarines. His duties include operating sonar systems, underwater fire control systems and supporting equipment on surface ships. Currently, he is homeported in Norfolk, Va.
Maher said he enjoys having the opportunity to put his skills to the test on a real submarine.
“It seemed the most interesting to me,” said Maher who attended two different schools for his position, including one in San Diego, Calif. “It’s a science and an art.”
From Portugal to Greece to Libya, Maher has seen a variety of different countries during his deployments. He has also seen an island in Sicily, Naples and Israel. In 2011, Maher spent five months in Libya performing anti-pirate operations.
“When you go to these places, it really gives you an understanding of what goes on in this world,” said Maher, adding that he fell in love with Greece. “It hits home and makes you realize all the training is worth something—to help other people.”
Maher has already made two deployments and will take part in his third deployment this August in the Persian Gulf. Although he has not seen his family in Southington since last September, Maher plans to see them again some time his summer before his third deployment. In the meantime, he has kept in touch with them via e-mail and Facebook.
“The Navy has taken away a lot of my freedom, but gave it all back with pride and seeing the looks on people’s faces when they see me in my uniform,” said Maher, adding that every time he has returned home, family and loved ones have noticed him grow into a more mature and worldly individual.
Maher understands how the time spent away from home to serve one’s country affects families. When his mother was born, Maher’s grandfather was out to sea during the Korean War.
“It’s a hard decision to make serving your country, but you’re protecting your family in another way,” Maher said.
Later this month, Maher plans to re-enlist in the Navy for four more years. This time he is looking into becoming a full-time recruiter.
“Hard work is its own reward,” said Maher, adding that he is proud of being able to serve as a mentor for young sailors just starting out, providing them with the tools and guidance to achieve great things. “All that hard work I put in is great knowledge-it shows over the long run how much you do.”
USS Mahan Public Affairs Officer Alexander Washofsky has served as Maher’s division officer since June 2012. From the time he has known the Sonar Technician, Washofsky has admired his leadership skills in the navy, calling him a “patriot.”
“He truly is a great sailor—a hard worker, a skilled sonar technicians, and a natural-born leader,” Washofsky said. “He is able to keep his work center highly motivated, and the work they produce is phenomenal.”