Having visited over one hundred and fifty countries around the world and every state, one of this area’s most widely traveled person is retired Navy veteran Christopher “Rocky” Lane Burge.

As a teenager growing up in DeRidder, Christopher spent a lot of his free time exploring and traveling around seeing the country from the saddle of a Goldwing Motorcycle.

He was the youngest Charter Member of the Goldwing Road Riders Association Chapter M.  By the time he had graduated from DeRidder High School in 1992, Christopher had visited all of the lower forty-eight states at least once and also six foreign countries.  

When Christopher graduated from DeRidder High School he received several scholarships to various college in Louisiana.

Like his older brother Shane, he chose Northwestern State University. While at Northwestern, Christopher’s curiosity caused him to enroll in a variety of classes, everything from a welding lab under Dr. Weed to philosophy and political science under Col. John Sandlin.  

It was Col. John Sandlin that inspired Christopher to volunteer for the US Navy after college.

Since Christopher had been a kid he was always a fan of spy movies so it was only natural that he would want to serve his country as a member of the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI).

As a student back in school, Christopher was in the gifted and talented program and the challenge of serving in the Office of Naval Intelligence was to his liking. Even before enlisting Christopher knew that the ONI was the leading provider of maritime intelligence to the U.S. Navy and joint warfighting forces.

After college Christopher met with US Navy Recruiter Buzz Phillips and took a series of test to see if he qualified for  Office of Naval Intelligence.

When his test results returned Christopher was notified that he had been accepted into the program.

Just as the Navy Recruiter MM2 Buzz Phillips had promised, after graduating from the Naval Service Training Command at Great Lakes, Illinois, Burge was sent to Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Command in Dam Neck, Virginia, where he attended a 5-month basic course of instruction in areas such as​electronic, anti-submarine, anti-surface, anti-air, amphibious and strike warfare; counter-intelligence; strategic intelligence, air defense analysis and combat mission planning.

Burge was ordered to report to the USS Whidbey Island which was the lead ship of the Whidbey Island class of Dock Landing Ships in the United States Navy.

The USS Whidbey Island was the first ship in a class designed specifically to interface with the Navy's newest amphibious assault landing craft, the Landing Craft Air Cushion, or LCAC.

Aboard the Whidbey Island, Burge had an office directly behind the Captain’s Bridge.

Here on a daily basis with his “Top Secret Clearance”  Burge specialized in the collection, analysis, production and dissemination of vital, timely and accurate scientific, technical, geopolitical and military intelligence information directly to the Captain and others in command position within the Fleet.

The Whidbey Island received orders to participate in the Bosnian War which took place between 1992 and 1995.

The war was part of a break up of former Yugoslavia into the separate nation of Bosnia, Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. It was also the larger case of genocide and ethnic cleansing since WWll. The war was brought to and end at the signing of the general framework for peace in Paris in 1995.

Burge was deployed onboard the Whidbey Island to the Mediterranean to participate in three major landing exercises with the Spanish, French and Italian Navies.

Again the USS Whidbey Island was the first East Coast amphibious ship to deploy to the European Theater with to the Mediterranean as part of MARG 3-90.

During the trans-Atlantic crossing, the ship received orders to sail to MAMBA Station off the coast of Monrovia, Liberia to serve as the flagship for the evacuation operations in Operation Sharp Edge, spending 105 consecutive days at sea.

By the time USS Whidbey Island reached its first port; Las Palmas, Canary Islands, the ship had been out to sea 126 straight days.

After further steaming around the Western Mediterranean in support of Operation Desert Storm, USS Whidbey Island returned to homeport in from the extended seven-month deployment.

Once again Burge aboard The USS Whidbey Island was deployed again with MARG 192. During this deployment, USS Whidbey Island was chosen to represent the amphibious ready group for operations in the Black Sea with a series of port calls there.

With members of Sixth Fleet, the USS INCHON Band and representatives from the other MARG ships, USS Whidbey Island made history by making port calls to Samsun, Turkey, Syria, Israel and other classified ports including; Constanta, Romania; and Burgas, Bulgaria.

He also transited the Suez Canal aka “The Ditch” into the Arabian Sea.  

The USS Whidbey Island became the first U.S. amphibious ship and largest U.S. warship to operate in the Black Sea; the first U.S. Navy ship to visit Samsun in 70 years and the first U.S. Navy ship to ever visit Burgas.

Whenever Burge was not at sea, he often was assigned TDY to other Naval Faculties located in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleet.

Like many veterans with Top Secret Clearance, Burge does not and can not elaborate on some of his duties and places he was assigned while serving his country.

He also served as Senior Military Advisor in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Nowadays Christopher still spends a lot of time at sea. Unlike the free cruise that he received from the US Navy, these are on Carnival Cruise Ships where he has achieved Diamond Status.

Often he drives other veterans to the V.A. Hospital and Clinics.

Christopher is a member of American Legion Post 27, the VFW 3619 and other veterans organizations.

If you see Christopher Burge or any US Military Veteran, they would surely appreciate a handshake and acknowledgment of the sacrifice and the commitment veterans have made in the lofty endeavor of securing American liberty.

They are solely responsible for having protected our fortunate state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior or political views and that is a priceless act of service.