Black Creek native participates in multinational exercise in Baltic Sea region

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Theodore Quintana

KIEL, Germany – Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephanie Jaskolski, a native of Black Creek, Wisconsin, is participating in the Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercise with 18 other nations.
“I am looking forward to interacting with other countries and their militaries during BALTOPS,” said Jaskolski.
BALTOPS 2019, scheduled for June 8-21, includes sea, air and land assets. The multi-national exercise provides a unique training opportunity that fosters cooperative relationships critical to ensuring safety at sea and security on the world’s interconnected oceans.
Jaskolski is an information systems technician aboard the USS Mount Whitney.
Mount Whitney serves as the Command Ship for Commander, SIXTH Fleet/ Commander, Joint Command Lisbon/Commander, Striking Force NATO and has a complement of 150 enlisted personnel, 12 officers and 150 Civilian Mariners from Military Sealift Command.
BALTOPS 2019 was planned and is being led by U.S. 2nd Fleet (C2F), as directed by U.S. Naval Forces Europe. C2F was re-established last summer as a response to the changing security environment, and BALTOPS 2019 marks the first time the renewed fleet will be operating in Europe.
Commander, C2F, Vice Admiral Andrew “Woody” Lewis, will lead the exercise on behalf of U.S. Naval Forces Europe.
“As you all are aware, U.S. 2nd Fleet will be leading the exercise, but make no mistake, it will be founded on NATO and partner principles,” said Lewis. “Through BALTOPS 2019 and exercises like it, we strengthen our relationships and improve overall coordination and interoperability between allies and partners during both peace and times of conflict.”
The exercise will begin in Kiel, Germany, with the pre-sail conference. At-sea training will occur throughout the Baltic Sea, including events scheduled near Putlos, Germany; Saaremaa Island, Estonia; Riga, Latvia; Klaipeda, Lithuania; and Ravlunda, Sweden. At the end of the exercise, most participating ships will sail to Kiel, Germany, to participate in the Kielerwochen Festival (Kiel Week).
Allied nations with ships and forces participating in BALTOPS 2019 include Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. NATO partner nations Finland and Sweden will also participate in the exercise.
Serving in the Navy means Jaskolski 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.
“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, Jaskolski is most proud of receiving a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for providing off-duty emergency medical care.
“I am a registered nurse and I do that by trade,” said Jaskolski. “It was an opportunity to bring my nursing skills to what I do in the Navy.”
As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Jaskolski 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 means giving back to my country, learning leadership, experiencing diversity and expanding my horizons,” said Jaskolski.
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class
Theodore Quintana