By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Erica Gardner, Navy Office of Community Outreach
Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson G. Brown
NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BAHRAIN – Petty Officer 1st Class Puma Franklin, a Hamilton, Ohio, native, wanted to join the Navy to challenge herself.
Now, eight years later and half a world away at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Franklin serves at U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) / U.S. 5th fleet.
“Every day there's something different, and I love that challenge,” said Franklin. “I love that variety, because it keeps me on my toes and I don't become complacent.”
Franklin, a 2008 graduate of Hamilton High School, is a yeoman at U.S. 5th Fleet, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain.
“I process administrative work for all aspects of U.S. 5th fleet, and I process travel for sailors' families,” said Franklin. “Without yeomans like me, nothing would get done in the Navy. We're there to take care of sailors' issues, and people depend on us when they're unsure of procedures.”
Franklin credits success at U.S. 5th Fleet, and in the Navy, to many of the lessons learned in Hamilton.“The community I came from really prepared me mentally for the Navy,” said Franklin. “I really learned how to work and interact with all kinds of people, and that’s been big for me 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.
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 culture and the people here are like nothing I've ever been around before,” said Franklin. “The people are very welcoming of us and I really enjoy being stationed here.”
Serving in the Navy means Franklin 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 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, Franklin is most proud of becoming a sexual assault prevention advocate.
“To be able to make an impact on people's lives in the Navy has been incredibly rewarding,” said Franklin.
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Franklin and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs.
“I'm just here to do my part for people back home, and around the world, and the Navy gives me different opportunities to grow,” said Franklin.