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NEWS | June 17, 2021

Profile in Professionalism: Aerographer’s Mate 1st Class Bobbi Dailey

By Chief Mass Communication Specialist Heidi Cheek

Bobbi Dailey served on active duty for five years as an electrician’s mate before transferring to the Navy Reserve and cross-rating to aerographer’s mate. While the two rates have vastly different job descriptions, Dailey couldn’t have asked for a more rewarding change.

This year, AG1 Dailey spent her Annual Training in Portugal providing environmental support to the fleet during the 50th Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) exercise in June. She directly supported the mission by building forecasts and accounting for environmental factors — weather, waves, and water currents — which could impact exercise plans.

Initiated in 1972, BALTOPS is an annual exercise demonstrating NATO's commitment to promote peace and security in the region by exercising an international team of forces that can rapidly respond in a time of crisis. BALTOPS 50 involved participation from 16 NATO and two partner nations, providing approximately 40 maritime units, 60 aircraft and 4,000 personnel.

Dailey’s key role in forecasting during BALTOPS proved vital to the safe and successful completion of exercise objectives, because wind could impact flights, high waves could impact ship movement, and adverse weather could cancel or delay operations. Ultimately, her job as an aerographer is to ensure commanders have the information needed to make the best decisions for the safety of personnel and equipment to ensure mission success.

Although BALTOPS primarily takes place in the Baltic Sea region, this year’s exercise was commanded and controlled from the Naval Striking and Support Forces (STRIKFORNATO) headquarters in Oeiras, Portugal near Lisbon.

Dailey, a recent addition to the Reserve team, decided to join a year after giving birth to her daughter. The shift to the Reserve component freed up more time for her to focus on being a mother.

“The Reserve allows me to continue my naval career while giving me the opportunity to spend more time with my loved ones,” said Dailey. “In the Reserve I’ve found the perfect balance between military and family life.”

In the civilian sector, Dailey is a journeyman electrician at the Pfizer plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where the COVID-19 vaccine is manufactured. She specializes in thermal imaging of the plant and its equipment.

She says she enjoys the extra freedom the Reserve provides, allowing her to continue in her civilian career as well as her 24-hour job of motherhood while still being able to leverage a new skill set in service to the force’s readiness objectives.

“I can focus on two very different careers that I love, spend lots of time with my family, and it keeps my life active and exciting,” said Dailey. “I mean, here I am, working in Portugal!”

The next step in her Navy career is to attend forecasting “C” school, so she can enhance her skills in her new rating. She is working toward making chief and plans on retiring from the Reserve at the conclusion of what is shaping up to be an extremely fulfilling career.