Katy Native Participates in Multinational Exercise in Baltic Sea Region

By 1st Class Rusty K. Pang, Navy Office of Community Outreach –

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jack Aistrup. Photo by 3rd Class Steven Edgar.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jack Aistrup, a native of Katy, Texas, is participating in the Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercise with 18 other nations. “I’m really excited to be working with all the different teams like Marines and sailors in Estonia, Germany and Lithuania,” said Aistrup. “It’s an opportunity to travel and document the operation in an interesting way.”

Aistrup is a mass communication specialist attached to Navy Public Affairs Support Element East in Norfolk, Virginia. Navy Public Affairs Support Element East is comprised of public affairs professionals that support existing ships and commands worldwide through deployments and to cover special events like BALTOPS.

BALTOPS 2019 included 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.

Aistrup credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Katy. “In high school, I wrote for the school paper, which inspired some passion for journalism. In the Navy, I get to do what I love and tell the Navy’s story.”

Commander, C2F, Vice Adm. Andrew “Woody” Lewis, led 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.”

Serving in the Navy means Aistrup 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.

Though there are many ways for sailors to earn distinction in their command, community and career, Aistrup is most proud of receiving the Bobby McRill Excellence Award during MC ‘A’ School, the initial training school for his job as a mass communication specialist.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s most relied upon assets, Aistrup and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes contributing to the Navy the nation needs. “The experience of serving in the Navy is a positive way that I can represent our nation,” said Aistrup. “This is important because being a sailor carries history that should be preserved in working with the world. I get to tell that story.”