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NEWS | Aug. 12, 2021

Profiles in Professionalism: Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Lovitt

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Horne

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. — When Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Lovitt heard about the Naval Academy while in high school, his goals came into sharp focus.

Lovitt, a Tullahoma, Tennessee native, set out to enter the prestigious service academy with the end goal of becoming a Navy SEAL. He and his high school friends quickly started training for the rigorous physical demands of Navy special warfare. However, fate had other plans for him.

Lovitt achieved his initial goal, making it into the Naval Academy, but the summer before his senior year he suffered a severe heat stroke while attending  a month-long midshipman preparatory training for Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL, called miniBUD/S.

While recovering, Lovitt began to reassess his career goals. “I stayed in Balboa Medical Center for three days with IVs in both arms,” he said, describing the moment he regained consciousness. “I wasn’t disqualified from becoming a SEAL, but I realized then that there were other things out there that maybe I should consider. I was already in an engineering degree program while I was in college, so I took a couple of electives that Fall with nuclear power and decided I wanted to go be a nuclear power officer.”

Lovitt would spend more than seven years on active duty as a nuclear surface warfare officer, exploring the world on various deployments, from Malta to Thailand, before deciding to step back from a full-time operational pace and transferring to the Navy Reserve.

“I needed to be there for my small children then,” said Lovitt. “I left active duty, joined the Reserve, and signed on with my civilian company at Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) all at the same time.”

Lovitt said he is proud of the opportunity to serve his country, but his favorite aspect of the Navy Reserve is being part of the support system that makes the Navy a mission-ready community.

“I love the concept that we can’t do anything without people,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to understand how people work and what makes them want to give their very best in all that they do. That takes time. Something in my civilian role — which translates over to my Navy job — is that if I’m not spending ninety percent of my time on people, then I’m probably not doing my job right.”

Lovitt said he witnessed exceptional people-first leadership throughout his naval career, but his current commanding officer recently made it onto his personal list of top-tier inspirational leaders.

“My leader right now, Cdr. Greco, is probably one of the top — if not the top — influencers and aspirational type leaders that I’ve met,” he said. “He spends more time on Sailor and officer issues, making sure that the perspective of the Sailor or officer is understood, and that the best possible outcome comes from the issue. He puts so much personal effort into ‘people things.’ I just think back to my time on active duty and the Reserve, and he is head and shoulders above most in that area. He’s been a very valuable influence for me.”

Lovitt credits his success and longevity in the Navy to the support provided by his loving wife, and high-school sweetheart, Amy.

“Amy knows how much energy I put into people at both the Navy and TVA,” he said. “She is extremely supportive of both of my careers, and she’s always been a cheerleader for me, from way back in high school when we started dating. She’s been with me every step of the way. She’s really held us together these past 20 years — and the five years we were dating before that.”

With 25 beautiful years together, Lovitt and his wife know the power of supporting one another, their children and the country. Lovitt said he hopes to see the second half of his Navy career to the end — and is determined to love every minute of it.