Piqua native supports Critical Navy mission in Middle East



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

NAVAL SUPPORT ACTIVITY BAHRAIN — Petty Officer 1st Class Brad Wendeln, a Piqua native, continued the tradition of service in his family.

Now, eight years later and half a world away at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Wendeln serves at U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT)/U.S. 5th fleet.

“It is a big change,” said Wendeln “I enjoy experiencing a new culture and a different way of doing things.”

Wendeln, a graduate of Lehman Catholic High School, is an aerographer’s mate at U.S. 5th Fleet, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain.

“I am responsible for providing weather forecast for all Navy assets ships and aircraft so they can navigate safely and complete their mission,” said Wendeln.

Wendeln is a part of Task Force 52, which plans and executes mine warfare operations in support of U.S. 5th Fleet operational objectives.

Wendeln credits success at U.S. 5th Fleet, and in the Navy, to many of the lessons learned in Piqua.

“I learned early on that respect and hard work will get you where you want to go in life,” Wendeln said.

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.

“Mine warfare in this area of the world is quite visible and our forecasts allow decision makers to put our assets in the best place to ensure safety of navigation for all ships coming through this area,” Wendeln said.

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.

“It has given me the opportunity to work outside of my comfort zone and get to know people from different career fields in the Navy,” he said.

Serving in the Navy means Wendeln 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, Wendeln is most proud of seeing the sailors succeed.

“It is a great feeling knowing that you’ve impacted someone and helped them accomplish goals they never thought they could,” Wendeln said.

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

“Serving in the Navy makes me proud,” Wendeln said. “I’m proud to wear this uniform on every day. I am proud to serve this great nation. I’m proud to serve alongside some of the best people this country has to offer, and I am proud to continue on the great tradition my family has in the armed forces.”