Issaquah native participates in multinational exercise in Baltic Sea region

Petty Officer 2nd Class Allison Bossert, a native of Issaquah, Washington
By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Bill Steele, Navy Office of Community Outreach
KIEL, Germany – Petty Officer 2nd Class Allison Bossert, a native of Issaquah, Washington, is participating in the Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercise with 18 other nations.
“I work on the equipment we use for internet protocol services,” said Bossert. “Most of my job underway during BALTOPS is making sure everything stays functioning. I’m looking forward to furthering my knowledge and working with the partner nations during the exercise.”

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. According to U.S. Navy officials, it is designed to improve training value for participants, enhance flexibility and interoperability, and demonstrate resolve among allied and partner forces in defending the Baltic Sea region.

Bossert is an electronics technician aboard the USS Mount Whitney.

Mount Whitney is named for the 14,505-foot peak in the Sierra-Nevada range in California, the highest point in the lower continental United States. It is the first ship in the U.S. Navy to bear this name. 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.

Bossert credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Issaquah.

“I started working at a young age,” Bossert said. “My parents raised me to work hard and I’ve applied that work ethic to my Navy career.”

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 Adm. 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 Bossert 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 the nation needs 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, Bossert is most proud of being recognized as a good technician.

“I got a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for BALTOPS last year,” Bossert said. “I had a lot of sleepless nights keeping the equipment going for the missions.”

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

“I like being able to serve my country, and I like the opportunity the Navy has given me,” Bossert said. “This command has given me a lot of opportunities to travel, and I’ve made some of my best friends in the Navy.”