By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David R. Finley Jr., Navy Office of Community Outreach
Photo By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson G. Brown
NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BAHRAIN – Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Crain, a Calvert County, Maryland, native, joined the Navy to see the world.
Now, 16 years later and half a world away at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain, Crain serves as the leading-edge of the Navy the nation needs.
“Working in the heat can be challenging,” said Crain. “It takes some getting used to, but at the end of the day we still have to do our job.”
Crain, a 2001 graduate of Patuxent High School, is a master-at-arms at NSA Bahrain, forward-deployed to the Arabian Gulf region in the Navy’s U.S. 5th Fleet.
“As a master-at-arms, I am responsible for providing security for the base and keeping everyone safe,” said Crain.
Crain credits success in Bahrain, and in the Navy, to many of the lessons learned in Calvert County.
“I learned the importance of fulfilling goals that I set for myself,” said Crain. “It helps me remain focused on reaching out to junior sailors and help them advance in their career.”
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 provide security for all the tenant commands and ensure they are safe while preforming their jobs,” said Crain.
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.
“We work with a lot of different nationalities here,” said Crain. “Working alongside our allied forces has taught me a lot and helps me do my job better.”
Serving in the Navy means Crain 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, Crain is most proud of saving a life while deployed Iraq.
“Being able to help a fellow shipmate in a time of need is a special feeling,” said Crain. “To have the training and ability to step up in that way is vital while deployed.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Crain and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing the Navy the nation needs.
“Being in the Navy means I play a role in keeping the world safe,” said Crain.