Anaheim native supports critical Navy mission in the Middle East

Petty Officer 1st Class Kimjonard Hugo-Potter. Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jackson G. Brown.

Petty Officer 1st Class Kimjonard Hugo-Potter’s, an Anaheim, California, native, father served in the Philippine Army and encouraged him to give the military a shot.

Now, 13 years later and half a world away at Naval Support Activity Bahrain, Hugo-Potter serves at U.S. Naval Forces Central Command (NAVCENT) / U.S. 5th fleet.

“The most exciting part is just getting to serve in the Middle East,” said Hugo-Potter.

Hugo-Potter, a graduate of Gilbert High School, is a hospital corpsman at U.S. 5th Fleet, headquartered in Manama, Bahrain.

“As a hospital corpsman, we are responsible for the overall health of our deployers,” said Hugo-Potter. “We provide medical and dental support with limited emergency treatment capabilities.”

Hugo-Potter credits success at U.S. 5th Fleet, and in the Navy, to many of the lessons learned in Anaheim.

“Back home, we have a very diverse population and I grew up being around people from different walks of life,” said Hugo-Potter. “This helps we while serving in the Navy because we have bases all over the world.”

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.

“My job is very important because we are providing medical and dental care for sailors who deploy in the 5th fleet,” said Hugo-Potter. “We ensure they are always ready to perform their duty when called on.”

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 fast operational tempo and busy schedule makes the time go by fast,” said Hugo-Potter.

Serving in the Navy means Hugo-Potter 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, Hugo-Potter is most proud of the job he does as a hospital corpsman.

“One of the biggest accomplishments for me is to earn the respect of my sailors and Marines,” said Hugo-Potter. “Not a lot of people can say they have saved lives in the battlefield and I definitely have.”

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

“As an immigrant, serving in the Navy is an opportunity to repay and show gratitude to the country who gave me all the possibilities to succeed in life,” said Hugo-Potter.

This article was written by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David R. Finley Jr., Navy Office of Community Outreach.