A 2008 Prospect High School graduate and Mount Prospect native is serving on one of the world's largest warships, the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Reiner is an electronics mate aboard the Norfolk, Virginia-based ship, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and one of only 10 operational aircraft carriers in the Navy today.
As a 24 year-old with numerous responsibilities, Reiner said he wanted to get out into the world and do something different. He added he had been around water his entire life so the Navy seemed like a natural choice.
"School wasn't the right fit at that time," said Reiner. "Now, I am ready to go back to school and put in my officer's package."
He also said he is proud of the work he is doing as part of the ship's 5,500-member crew. "Being able to launch aircraft anywhere in the world is impressive. I really enjoy it."
Approximately 3,000 men and women make up the ship's company, doing everything from washing dishes to handling weaponry and maintaining the nuclear reactors. Another 2,500 or so form the air wing, the people who fly and maintain the aircraft.
Capt. S. Robert Roth, the carrier's commanding officer said the crew, many of them 19 and 20 years old, are "running a complex propulsion system safely, serving as air traffic controllers, operating sophisticated electronics, launching and recovering aircraft when we're under way, and keeping this floating city alive and functioning."
The carrier returned in April from a nine-month combat deployment in which it flew almost 3,000 sorties in support of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. "Their professionalism, dedication and commitment to excellence are second to none," Roth said.
Reiner said he's glad he enlisted. "I've worked hard and been recognized. You get the rewards for the work you put into it. I would recommend the Navy if people need a change or a chance to restart. It is an amazing experience."