The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, May 07, 2019 2:24 pm

Leo Native Protects U.S. Navy Forces in the Middle East

Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David R. Finley Jr., Navy Office of Community Outreach

NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BAHRAIN – Petty Officer 3rd Class John Isaacson, a Leo, Indiana, native, joined the Navy to continue his family tradition of military service.

Now, two years later and half a world away at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain, Isaacson serves as the leading-edge of the Navy the Nation Needs. 

“The most exciting part of my job is the flying missions,” said Isaacson. “I really enjoy traveling to the various middle eastern countries.” 

Isaacson, a 2016 graduate of Leo High School, is a naval aircrewman at NSA Bahrain, forward-deployed to the Arabian Gulf region in the Navy’s U.S. 5th Fleet. 

“As a naval aircrewman, we are responsible for loading and unloading passengers and cargo,” said Isaacson. “We are in charge of configuring the weight and balance of the aircraft as well as fueling the plane.” 

Isaacson credits success in Bahrain, and in the Navy, to many of the lessons learned in Leo. 

“I learned to be a hard worker and always maintain discipline,” said Isaacson. “Both have served me well in the Navy.” 

U.S. 5th Fleet directs naval operations to ensure maritime security and stability in the Central Region, which connects the Mediterranean Sea and Pacific Ocean through the western Indian Ocean. They work with partner nations to ensure freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in international waterways. 

NSA Bahrain enables the forward operations and responsiveness of U.S. 5th Fleet and allied forces in support of Navy Region Europe, Africa and Southwest Asia's mission to provide services to the fleet, warfighter and family. 

“We play an essential part of the mission in 5th fleet,” said Isaacson. “We transport logistics and personnel where they need to go throughout region.” 

The Navy’s U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of ocean, and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. This expanse, comprised of 20 countries, includes three critical choke points; the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen. 

“The difference in culture is unique,” said Isaacson. “It has been an eye-opener to see how the other side of the world lives.” 

Serving in the Navy means Isaacson is part of a world that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy. 

A key element of the Navy the nation needs is tied to the fact that America is a maritime nation, and that the nation’s prosperity is tied to the ability to operate freely on the world’s oceans. More than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water; 80 percent of the world’s population lives close to a coast; and 90 percent of all global trade by volume travels by sea. 

“Our priorities center on people, capabilities and processes, and will be achieved by our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships,” said Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer. “Readiness, lethality and modernization are the requirements driving these priorities.” 

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community, and career, Isaacson is most proud of the job he does every day. 

“My job requires a lot training, so just getting to this point in my career makes me proud,” said Isaacson. 

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Isaacson and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing the Navy the nation needs. 

“Serving in the Navy means a lot to me,” said Isaacson. “Defending the freedom of the greatest country in the world is the highest honor.”

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