Petty Officer 3rd Class Raymond Stenger, a native of Clermont, ic currently taking part in the Baltic Operations exercise with 18 other nations. The operation is referred to as BALTOPS 2019 and ends June 21.
The multi-national exercise provides training and fosters cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring safety on the sea and among the world’s interconnected oceans. It is designed, according to U.S. Navy officials, to improve training value for those participating, enhance flexibility and interoperability as well as demonstrating resolve among allied and partner forcers defending the Baltic Sea region.
“We provide support toward all ship’s network capabilities during the exercise,” Raymond says. “Working with other foreign countries is worth its weight in gold.”
The CPO is aboard the Mount Whitney, named for the famous Sierra-Nevada mountain range in California. The crew includes 150 enlisted personnel, 12 officers, and 150 civilian mariners from Military Sealift Command.
Raymond enjoys his life on the seas and credits the values he learned from his family while living in Clermont with his success.
“I went to a local community college in Clermont where I learned how to accomplish goals. I put a lot of effort into going to school four days a week; I didn’t have any time off,” Stenger said. “Putting in 16-plus hours a day going to school full time and working part time helped me prepare for the personal sacrifice needed for military life.”
Serving in the Navy means Raymond is part of a world 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.
“I’ve been able to get through a lot in situations where I didn’t think I could do it,” Raymond says. “I joined the Navy for a personal reason. I wanted to join to do something that others would find honor in. It’s an old-fashioned way of thinking, but that’s my philosophy.”