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Stanton native protects Middle East skies over Bahrain    

Cmdr. Catherine McDonald, of Stanton.

By Lt. Philip Fortnam, Navy Office of Community Outreach  

U.S. 5th FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS—A 1977 Central Montcalm graduate and Stanton, Michigan native is a part of a Navy team tasked to protect the skies over the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. Cmdr. Catherine McDonald is a family nurse practitioner, at an expeditionary medical clinic.

“I am providing medical services to multi service members here. We provide urgent, primary and preventative health care and coordinate emergency services with host ambulance services,” said McDonald.

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. She 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.

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

“There are great people here. Being a more senior member, I appreciate how the team coordinates their efforts,” said McDonald. “This is one of the friendliest groups I’ve ever deployed with.”

McDonald realizes the significance of serving her country abroad and is proud of the work she is doing in the Middle East helping protect America halfway around the world. “Being a family nurse practitioner opened up a whole new scope of practice and a whole new scope of collegiality,” said McDonald. “There is a high level of respect between the doctors and nurses and all the medical staff here.”

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