NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BAHRAIN – Seaman Apprentice Zoriah Johnson, a Rockingham, North Carolina, native, wanted to continue her family tradition of military service.
Now, one year later and half a world away at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Johnson serves as the leading-edge of the Navy the Nation Needs.
“We have a challenging work load, but it is exciting to work with a diverse group of people,” said Johnson.
Johnson, a 2016 graduate of Richmond Senior High School, is a yeoman at NSA Bahrain, forward-deployed to the Arabian Gulf region in the Navy’s U.S. 5th Fleet.
“As yeoman, we are responsible for all administrative matters,” said Johnson. “From filing correspondence, processing transfers, creating performance evaluations for all sailors and generating awards.”
Johnson credits success in Bahrain, and in the Navy, to many of the lessons learned in Rockingham.
“I learned to not let a difficult situation get me down,” said Johnson. “Instead, I use it as an opportunity to make myself a stronger person.”
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.
“My job is important to the mission because I keep the sailors’ paperwork up to date and their careers running smoothly,” said Johnson.
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.
“I enjoy the culture in Bahrain,” said Johnson. “It is a very unique environment to live and work.”
Serving in the Navy means Johnson 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, Johnson is most proud of the personal growth she as experienced.
“I was an introvert person when I joined the Navy,” said Johnson. “I am proud to say that my time in the Navy has made me a more outspoken individual.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Johnson 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 comes with a lot of responsibility,” said Johnson. “We play a big role in the safety and security of others.”