Saluting Our Troops: Petty Officer 2nd Class Hezekiah Joyner
Fort Washington Native Protects U.S. Navy Forces in the Middle East
By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Erica Gardner, Navy Office of Community Outreach
NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BAHRAIN – Petty Officer 2nd Class Hezekiah Joyner, a Fort Washington, Maryland, native, wanted a change of scenery and to do something more with his life.
Now, seven years later and half a world away at Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain, Joyner serves as the leading-edge of the Navy the Nation Needs.
“The exciting part of being stationed here is the places I have been and traveled to while learning the different cultures and meeting new people,” said Joyner.
Joyner, a 2009 graduate of Friendly High School, is a yeoman at NSA Bahrain, forward-deployed to the Arabian Gulf region in the Navy’s U.S. 5th Fleet.
“I perform administrative tasks, dealing with personnel and customer service,” said Joyner.
Joyner credits success in Bahrain, and in the Navy, to many of the lessons learned in Fort Washington.
“I was taught to never quit or give up and stay strong even in tough situations,” said Joyner.
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.
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 Islamic culture is the most unique thing about being stationed in Bahrain,” said Joyner.
Serving in the Navy means Joyner 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, Joyner is most proud of being on two tours traveling to 13 different countries, which resulted in him receiving two end-of-tour Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals on the USS Vela Gulf and with squadron VQ4.
“My first two tours were my introduction to the real fleet. It opened my eyes to what the Navy has to offer me besides working all the time. It allowed me to meet new people, experience new cultures and showed me where my career can go and how I can advance professionally,” said Joyner.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Joyner 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, I can make my daughter and family proud by providing a service to my family and allow them to see I am doing a good thing,” said Joyner.