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June 17-- Petty Officer 2nd Class Antonio Ramirez, a native of Lyons, is participating in the Baltic Operations naval exercise with 18 other nations.

Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Theodore Quintana
“I've never participated in anything like this yet in my career,” said Ramirez. “It’s a great opportunity to pick up more leadership skills and just see the world. This is the first time I’ve been to Germany.”

The exercise continues throught June 21, includes sea, air and land assets and 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.

Ramirez is an aviation electronics technician attached to Helicopter Sea Squadron 28 (HSC-28) based in Norfolk, Virginia. The squadron operates the MH-60S Seahawk and deploys with units of the Second, Fifth and Sixth fleets.

“I do aviation troubleshooting and help keep the helicopters flying during the exercise,” Ramirez said.

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 Ramirez 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.

“The Navy has truly broadened my horizons," Ramirez said. "I’ve gotten to meet new people, some of the nicest people in the world. Some of my best friends I've met in the Navy. I look at my service as protecting our lifestyle and life back home. I’m protecting my family.”