Meraux native protects Middle East skies over Bahrain

By Lt. Philip Fortnam, Navy Office of Community Outreach

A 1983 Chalmette High School graduate and Meraux, Louisiana native is a part of a Navy team tasked to protect the skies over the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations.

Master Chief Petty Officer Rodney Ourso is a command master chief, which involves providing advice and guidance to the commanding officer on polices, personnel and morale in order to maintain good order and discipline, according to Ourso.

“I love what I do. I love to make a positive and direct impact on my Sailors’ lives so they can have successful and meaningful career,” said Ourso.

Within this undisclosed location in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, Sailors from all over the United States come together to form one unit, providing unparalleled support to multiservice personnel within the area of operations. These Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Marines work together to deter and counter disruptive countries, defeat violent extremism and strengthen security and stability throughout the region.

He is one of thousands of Sailors forward deployed to the Middle East in the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.

The Navy’s 5th Fleet’s area of operation encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse comprises 20 countries, including three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.

Ourso is receiving firsthand experience working in a foreign country alongside coalition-focused forces who are executing the full spectrum of maritime operations with foreign counterparts, to keep the world safe from hostile forces.

“It’s challenging here. It’s not a typical command. It’s unique because it is multi service and forward deployed and we interact with multi nation forces,” said Ourso.

Ourso realizes the significance of serving his country abroad and is proud of the work he is doing in the Middle East, helping protect America halfway around the world.

“I am proudly following a family tradition. My father served in the Navy,” said Ourso. “I also joined because of the adventure the Navy offers.”