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Category Archives: Exercise

Shoulder-to-Shoulder: Building on Partnerships at Cobra Gold

By Capt. Larry McCullen
Commanding officer, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)

As the commanding officer of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), my days are usually filled with myriad operations from launching or recovering amphibious craft to launching and landing helicopters on the flight deck.

GULF OF THAILAND (Feb. 18, 2018) The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the Royal Thai Navy landing platform dock ship HTMS Angthong (LPD 791) and the Republic of Korea amphibious landing ship ROKS Cheon Ja Bong (LST-687) steam in formation during a Exercise Cobra Gold 2018 photo exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William Sykes/Released)
GULF OF THAILAND (Feb. 18, 2018) The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the Royal Thai Navy landing platform dock ship HTMS Angthong (LPD 791) and the Republic of Korea amphibious landing ship ROKS Cheon Ja Bong (LST-687) steam in formation during a Exercise Cobra Gold 2018 photo exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William Sykes/Released)

 

Our crew spends countless hours maintaining onboard equipment and working toward the qualifications necessary to ensure mission completion. ‘Game day,’ or amphibious ops in a joint and combined environment, provides a great sense of professional satisfaction throughout the ship as we come together as a team to make a complex evolution a ship-wide success.

We recently spent two weeks off the coast of Thailand, working alongside Thai and Republic of Korea navies in the trilateral amphibious exercise Cobra Gold 2018. Cobra Gold has been conducted every year for the last 37 years and has flourished into one of the largest multinational security cooperation exercises in the Indo-Pacific region. The objectives are to improve the capabilities of partner nations; together we plan and conduct combined and joint operations, build relationships among participating nations across the region, and improve interoperability through a range of missions which included a large-scale natural disaster response.

GULF OF THAILAND (Feb. 18, 2018) A Republic of Korea Navy landing craft, mechanized enters the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) as part of a cross-decking evolution during Exercise Cobra Gold 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeanette Mullinax/Released)
GULF OF THAILAND (Feb. 18, 2018) A Republic of Korea Navy landing craft, mechanized enters the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) as part of a cross-decking evolution during Exercise Cobra Gold 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeanette Mullinax/Released)

 

Bonhomme Richard and the 3d Marine Division along with the Thai and ROK forces made up an amphibious force of 2,300 Sailors, Marines and airmen from three nations.

I enjoyed the privilege of serving alongside Thai Navy Capt. Nuttapol Diewvanich, commander of the Royal Thai Navy amphibious transport dock HTMS Angthong (LPD-791), and Republic of Korea Capt Lee Hong Jeong, commander of Amphibious Squadron 53, who led ROK naval forces aboard ROKS Cheon Ja Bong (LST-687).

Before getting underway, we met face-to-face and discussed tactics, techniques and procedures, and walked through the assault on our objective beach. I truly enjoyed sharing experiences with these two leaders. They have an incredible wealth of experience and knowledge of amphibious operations.

We executed a full day focused on shipboard interoperability and recovered a ROK landing craft mechanized (LCM) from Cheon Ja Bong, similar to the Navy’s landing craft utility (LCU). We also recovered and launched a Royal Thai Navy S-70B Sea Hawk helicopter on Bonhomme Richard’s flight deck. The experience was invaluable for my Deck and Air Departments.

Since I assumed command last April, I have asked my crew to stay focused, Be ready, and always make an impact every day; during Cobra Gold we achieved that and more. It was an exercise that displayed all elements of teamwork as we worked alongside our mission partners.

LAEM CHABANG, Thailand (Feb. 12, 2018) Capt. Larry McCullen, middle, commanding officer of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), discusses the ships well deck capabilities to officers of the Royal Thai military during a ship tour in support of Cobra Gold 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William Sykes/Released)
LAEM CHABANG, Thailand (Feb. 12, 2018) Capt. Larry McCullen, middle, commanding officer of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), discusses the ships well deck capabilities to officers of the Royal Thai military during a ship tour in support of Cobra Gold 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William Sykes/Released)

 

Exercises with our allies, such as Cobra Gold, greatly improve our interoperability and ability to respond to natural disasters with amphibious ships of the U.S. Navy, such as Bonhomme Richard. It gives me a certain sense of pride and satisfaction that this ship has the ability to quickly respond in any crisis to alleviate the suffering of many nations following a natural  disaster.

Cobra Gold builds on that readiness and fosters lasting bonds with nations that we will work side-by-side with here in the Pacific area of operations.

 

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/03/07/shoulder-to-shoulder-building-on-partnerships-at-cobra-gold/ U.S. Navy

Shoulder-to-Shoulder: Building on Partnerships at Cobra Gold

By Capt. Larry McCullen
Commanding officer, USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6)

As the commanding officer of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), my days are usually filled with myriad operations from launching or recovering amphibious craft to launching and landing helicopters on the flight deck.

GULF OF THAILAND (Feb. 18, 2018) The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the Royal Thai Navy landing platform dock ship HTMS Angthong (LPD 791) and the Republic of Korea amphibious landing ship ROKS Cheon Ja Bong (LST-687) steam in formation during a Exercise Cobra Gold 2018 photo exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William Sykes/Released)
GULF OF THAILAND (Feb. 18, 2018) The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the Royal Thai Navy landing platform dock ship HTMS Angthong (LPD 791) and the Republic of Korea amphibious landing ship ROKS Cheon Ja Bong (LST-687) steam in formation during a Exercise Cobra Gold 2018 photo exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William Sykes/Released)

 

Our crew spends countless hours maintaining onboard equipment and working toward the qualifications necessary to ensure mission completion. ‘Game day,’ or amphibious ops in a joint and combined environment, provides a great sense of professional satisfaction throughout the ship as we come together as a team to make a complex evolution a ship-wide success.

We recently spent two weeks off the coast of Thailand, working alongside Thai and Republic of Korea navies in the trilateral amphibious exercise Cobra Gold 2018. Cobra Gold has been conducted every year for the last 37 years and has flourished into one of the largest multinational security cooperation exercises in the Indo-Pacific region. The objectives are to improve the capabilities of partner nations; together we plan and conduct combined and joint operations, build relationships among participating nations across the region, and improve interoperability through a range of missions which included a large-scale natural disaster response.

GULF OF THAILAND (Feb. 18, 2018) A Republic of Korea Navy landing craft, mechanized enters the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) as part of a cross-decking evolution during Exercise Cobra Gold 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeanette Mullinax/Released)
GULF OF THAILAND (Feb. 18, 2018) A Republic of Korea Navy landing craft, mechanized enters the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) as part of a cross-decking evolution during Exercise Cobra Gold 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeanette Mullinax/Released)

 

Bonhomme Richard and the 3d Marine Division along with the Thai and ROK forces made up an amphibious force of 2,300 Sailors, Marines and airmen from three nations.

I enjoyed the privilege of serving alongside Thai Navy Capt. Nuttapol Diewvanich, commander of the Royal Thai Navy amphibious transport dock HTMS Angthong (LPD-791), and Republic of Korea Capt Lee Hong Jeong, commander of Amphibious Squadron 53, who led ROK naval forces aboard ROKS Cheon Ja Bong (LST-687).

Before getting underway, we met face-to-face and discussed tactics, techniques and procedures, and walked through the assault on our objective beach. I truly enjoyed sharing experiences with these two leaders. They have an incredible wealth of experience and knowledge of amphibious operations.

We executed a full day focused on shipboard interoperability and recovered a ROK landing craft mechanized (LCM) from Cheon Ja Bong, similar to the Navy’s landing craft utility (LCU). We also recovered and launched a Royal Thai Navy S-70B Sea Hawk helicopter on Bonhomme Richard’s flight deck. The experience was invaluable for my Deck and Air Departments.

Since I assumed command last April, I have asked my crew to stay focused, Be ready, and always make an impact every day; during Cobra Gold we achieved that and more. It was an exercise that displayed all elements of teamwork as we worked alongside our mission partners.

LAEM CHABANG, Thailand (Feb. 12, 2018) Capt. Larry McCullen, middle, commanding officer of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), discusses the ships well deck capabilities to officers of the Royal Thai military during a ship tour in support of Cobra Gold 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William Sykes/Released)
LAEM CHABANG, Thailand (Feb. 12, 2018) Capt. Larry McCullen, middle, commanding officer of the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), discusses the ships well deck capabilities to officers of the Royal Thai military during a ship tour in support of Cobra Gold 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class William Sykes/Released)

 

Exercises with our allies, such as Cobra Gold, greatly improve our interoperability and ability to respond to natural disasters with amphibious ships of the U.S. Navy, such as Bonhomme Richard. It gives me a certain sense of pride and satisfaction that this ship has the ability to quickly respond in any crisis to alleviate the suffering of many nations following a natural  disaster.

Cobra Gold builds on that readiness and fosters lasting bonds with nations that we will work side-by-side with here in the Pacific area of operations.

 

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2018/03/07/shoulder-to-shoulder-building-on-partnerships-at-cobra-gold/ U.S. Navy

End of World War II Began Era of Peace

By Rear Adm. John Fuller
Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific Commander, Task Force Energy and Environment, RIMPAC 2016

It has been just about a month since we concluded the 25th Rim of the Pacific Exercise as the key host site for Commander, U.S. Third Fleet and Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii. RIMPAC was an impressive exercise and gathering—where more than two dozen nations and 25,000 men and women built capable, adaptive partnerships.

RIMPAC 2016 was big in scope and scale, and the level of international cooperation was especially impressive when viewed through the historical WWII lens we have in Pearl Harbor.

PEARL HARBOR (March 30, 2014) An aerial view of Pearl Harbor showing the Battleship Missouri Memorial, left, Ford Island Field Control Tower, center, and the USS Arizona Memorial, right. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker/Released)

PEARL HARBOR (March 30, 2014) An aerial view of Pearl Harbor showing the Battleship Missouri Memorial, left, Ford Island Field Control Tower, center, and the USS Arizona Memorial, right. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker/Released)

 

Each day I can look out over Pearl Harbor and see the USS Arizona Memorial facing the Battleship Missouri Memorial. That iconic image, representing the two Navy ships most associated with the beginning and end of the Second World War in the Pacific, helped me reflect on what our Navy achieved during RIMPAC 2016­—and consider this week’s 71st anniversary for the end of that war.

Among RIMPAC 2016 many historic highlights, navies from Italy, Germany and Denmark participated for the first time. Seven decades ago, both Italy and Germany—then Axis powers—waged war against their neighbors, including Denmark. Today, Italy and Germany are among our country’s closest friends and allies, along with Great Britain and France, and many other free democracies.

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (Aug. 2, 2016) Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force guided-missile destroyer JS Chokai (DDG 176) crew poses for a group photo during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force photo by Ryo Tanaka)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (Aug. 2, 2016) Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force guided-missile destroyer JS Chokai (DDG 176) crew poses for a group photo during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force photo by Ryo Tanaka)

 

Unfathomable in the 1940’s, but a fact of life today, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) played a key role in RIMPAC 2016, leading the Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Response Task Force. Japan, once an imperial power, part of the Axis powers, and led by a totalitarian government, is today a robust democracy and a cornerstone for maintaining stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

I found it especially poignant when U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, visited the Japanese-led HADR command center on Ford Island during the exercise. Kennedy’s father, President John F. Kennedy, was a World War II Navy hero who fought against Japan in the Pacific. Today, we routinely plan, maintain, train and operate closely with our JMSDF friends.

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 9, 2016) U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83), her Majesty's Canadian ship (HMCS) Vancouver (FFH 331), Republic of Korea ships (ROKS) Kang Gam Chan (DDH 979) and Sejong the Great (DDG 991), Japanese ship (JS) Hyuga (DDH 181), and Her Majesty's Australian ship (HMAS) Warramunga (FFH-252) participate in a photographic exercise (PHOTOEX) as part of a multilateral exercise in the Hawaii operating area. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (Aug. 9, 2016) U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83), her Majesty’s Canadian ship (HMCS) Vancouver (FFH 331), Republic of Korea ships (ROKS) Kang Gam Chan (DDH 979) and Sejong the Great (DDG 991), Japanese ship (JS) Hyuga (DDH 181), and Her Majesty’s Australian ship (HMAS) Warramunga (FFH-252) participate in a photographic exercise (PHOTOEX) as part of a multilateral exercise in the Hawaii operating area. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

RIMPAC 2016 was the 25th iteration of the exercise. We look forward to RIMPAC 2018 and many more RIMPACs to come. In fact, RIMPAC 2020 will coincide with another anniversary milestone: the 75th commemoration for the end of World War II in the summer of 1945.

In addition to commemorating the end of the war in the Pacific this week, we are approaching another historic milestone: the 75th anniversary for the attack on Pearl Harbor that marked the United States’ entry into World War II.

As we assemble for future gatherings to ‘honor the past and inspire the future,’ which is the theme for the 75th commemoration, we must not miss an opportunity to take in the living history with those brave but humble WWII veterans. We must commemorate their sacrifices that ultimately cast the mold for the peace and prosperity we enjoy today.

GAETA, Italy (July 15, 2016) Sailors heave mooring lines aboard USS Porter (DDG 78) as the ship arrives in Gaeta, Italy for a scheduled port visit July 15, 2016. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released)

GAETA, Italy (July 15, 2016) Sailors heave mooring lines aboard USS Porter (DDG 78) as the ship arrives in Gaeta, Italy for a scheduled port visit July 15, 2016. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Robert S. Price/Released)

 

Hundreds of thousands of Americans fought valiantly alongside other Pacific allies—beginning in earnest with the Battle of Midway and moving steadily west and south from Pearl Harbor across the Pacific from the spring of 1942 to the fall of 1945. The war ended 71 years ago with Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz aboard Adm. William Halsey’s 3rd Fleet flagship, USS Missouri (BB-63), for the signing of the instrument of surrender.

As for a commitment to keeping the peace, we made great strides in RIMPAC 2016 supporting the Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, because we helped advance and strengthen a team of international partners “committed to supporting international law and ensuring a stable maritime domain,” as stated in Adm. Scott Swift’s Commander’s Guidance to [Pacific] Fleet.

Let’s remember that, in the name of freedom, World War II veterans and their families sacrificed so much for us. Maintaining peace, prosperity, and stability is the greatest gift we can give the “Greatest Generation” veterans. We owe them and their legacy no less.

Pearl Harbor (Aug. 3, 2016) The battleship USS Missouri (BB 63) memorial and USS Arizona (BB 39) memorial welcome Rim of the Pacific 2016 ships as they return to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Holly L. Herline)

Pearl Harbor (Aug. 3, 2016) The battleship USS Missouri (BB 63) memorial and USS Arizona (BB 39) memorial welcome Rim of the Pacific 2016 ships as they return to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Holly L. Herline)

 

The “Mighty Mo”—Battleship Missouri Memorial— looks over the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor. Both were powerful images for RIMPAC 2016 participants in Hawaii this past summer. Both are silent reminders of our Navy’s resilience, toughness and resolve. Those memorials inspire images of World War II, but they also stand as beacons of hope—and proof—that former enemies can become friends and partners for peace.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/08/31/end-of-world-war-ii-began-era-of-peace/ U.S. Navy

Not Your Average 9 to 5

Sub Lieutenant Jeremie FraserBy Sub Lieutenant Jeremie Fraser
Canadian exchange officer onboard USS San Diego (LPD 22)

It usually takes three or four days before you see the beginning of fatigue in the eyes of everyone. However, it always ends by noticing the signs of tiredness related to additional duties and responsibilities once ships are underway at sea.

On American ships, as in the Royal Canadian Navy, a “watch” system is established in addition to the normal working day, so it is not uncommon for an officer to be on watch from 3 to 6 a.m. before starting a normal workday. What’s impressive is to see good humor prevail despite the general fatigue.

Operating a warship is a team effort and the crew of USS San Diego perform incredibly. Crew members are passionate about their work and aren’t hesitant to talk about it.

The ship’s population is diverse. There are tan-coloured marine uniforms alongside the blue uniforms of the Sailors. According to the books on military history I’ve read in the ship library, the Marines have always been an impressive fighting force. As they are specialized in amphibious operations, most of them do not have essential duties on board the ship. Some Sailors and Marines themselves go so far as to insinuate — half serious, half joking — that Marines may have a little too much free time on board. However, you cannot say they are undisciplined: the gyms in the ship are always full. They are also the raison d’être of the USS San Diego.

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 15, 2016) Two Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs) assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5 pass each other while transporting U.S. Marines and their equipment from amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 15, 2016) Two Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs) assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5 pass each other while transporting U.S. Marines and their equipment from amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

 

I recently had the opportunity to go for a ride in a hovercraft (Landing Craft, Air Cushion) – an impressive machine. I was told the effect of the surf on the LCAC tends to upset those who are prone to seasickness. The person sitting next to me was equipped with a big transparent plastic bag for that purpose. So, I kindly offered to hold the bag for her in case her stomach decided to clear itself. Ultimately, no one got sick. I have yet to hit a sea strong enough to take away my taste for sailing. My colleagues and I continue to adapt to life onboard USS San Diego. The opportunity to sail with a US ship has been an amazing opportunity that I will never forget.

Editor’s note: For more information on RIMPAC 2016, visit the following links:

Be a part of the conversation on social media using #RIMPAC and #PacificPartners.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/07/28/not-your-average-9-to-5/ U.S. Navy

There Would Be No RIMPAC Without The Combined Exercise Control Group

By Rear Adm. Russell Allen
Deputy Commander, U.S. Third Fleet
Director, Rim of the Pacific Combined Exercise Control Group

As the eyes of the world focus on Rim of the Pacific 2016, observers see the impressive images and videos coming out of the multinational exercise that brings together ships, submarines, aircraft and personnel from the 26 participating nations in a collaborative effort to strengthen relationships and improve interoperability in the maritime environment. What the world doesn’t see, however, is the planning and behind-the-scenes efforts that drive this highly-complex exercise.

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 18, 2016) The HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155), USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), CNS Cochrane (FF 05) INS Satpura (F48), HMCS Calgary (FFH 335), and USS Shoup (DDG 35) steam in formation in preparation for a live fire exercise during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Holly L. Herline)

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 18, 2016) The HMAS Ballarat (FFH 155), USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), CNS Cochrane (FF 05) INS Satpura (F48), HMCS Calgary (FFH 335), and USS Shoup (DDG 35) steam in formation in preparation for a live fire exercise during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Holly L. Herline)

 

I serve as the director of the RIMPAC Combined Exercise Control Group, a multinational group of 413 personnel from seven nation who work mostly behind the scenes in a very complex environment. Planning for the events that are being executed today began shortly after RIMPAC 2014 ended. Over the past two years, members of the Combined Exercise Control Group and representatives from each nation developed the scenario and created the schedule of events that is providing a realistic, impactful training experience for all of our multinational participants today.

The complexity of RIMPAC is truly astounding. This year, we have 45 ships, five submarines, 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel from 26 nations. Each country has its own training objectives; RIMPAC offers an incredible venue to achieve those goals as well as the unique opportunity to work in a huge, multinational maritime force. Approximately 4,300 events have been meticulously planned to provide specific training scenarios for each participants. During RIMPAC, the Combined Exercise Control Group has the responsibility to manage and execute these events across all ranges of the exercise.

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (July 19, 2016) Military members from Chile, Australia, Japan and Singapore participate in exercise planning at the Pacific Warfighting Center on Ford Island during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (July 19, 2016) Military members from Chile, Australia, Japan and Singapore participate in exercise planning at the Pacific Warfighting Center on Ford Island during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak)

 

As you can imagine, in order to provide realistic, real-world training for our participants, the infrastructure is complex and the scheduling and placement of assets is absolutely critical. For example, in order to conduct a combined anti-submarine warfare exercise (a very popular event), the participating ships, aircraft and submarines must be at a specific location at a specific time so they can detect each other and engage accordingly. It is the Combined Exercise Control Group that maintains the schedule and manages the movement of assets so the participants are where they are supposed to be at the time they’re supposed to be there. But let me be clear, the Combined Exercise Control Group doesn’t do the anti-submarine warfare exercise, the combined forces do that! We just introduce the teams to each other.

So far, I’ve described RIMPAC as a bunch of unconnected exercises, a schedule of events managed by the Combined Exercise Control Group. Fun, maybe challenging even, like batting practice before a baseball game. But at some point, you want to “play ball!” That’s where our white cell comes into play, slowly building a road to crisis in an imaginary group of islands based roughly on the Hawaiian Islands. This year, our imaginary islands are called the Coaster Islands and they are rife with political, economic and ultimately military conflict. The RIMPAC schedule of events phase occurs inside that scenario, which culminates with a massive show of force – stay tuned for a very impressive formation photo – as the RIMPAC task force arrives in the joint operational area.

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 16, 2016) French, German, Canadian and American sailors pose for a group shop after conducting a visit, boarding, search and seizure exercise aboard French Navy Floreal-class frigate Prairial (F731), during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Photo courtesy French navy)

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 16, 2016) French, German, Canadian and American sailors pose for a group shop after conducting a visit, boarding, search and seizure exercise aboard French Navy Floreal-class frigate Prairial (F731), during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Photo courtesy French navy)

 

Then, everything gets more exciting when the opposing forces enter the exercise. We use our opposing forces ships, submarines and air assets in an attempt to prevent RIMPAC forces from achieving their goals. While the schedule of events phase is highly-scripted, the “free play” phase at the end of RIMPAC creates a more reactionary environment and drives a more real-world response to real-time exercise events.

As you can see, from planning through execution, the Combined Exercise Control Group plays a crucial role in the RIMPAC exercise. In fact, you could say that without the control group, there would be no RIMPAC.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/07/26/there-would-be-no-rimpac-without-the-combined-exercise-control-group/ U.S. Navy

Communication: Key during Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief

Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lt. Thomas Van Dantzig

Royal Australian Air Force Flight Lt. Thomas Van Dantzig

By Flight Lt. Tom van Dantzig
Aviation Medical Officer, Royal Australian Air Force

The Global Health Engagement Course at Rim of the Pacific 2016 in Hawaii was a relaxed introduction to how the military conducts humanitarian aid and disaster relief in the 21st century. It involved military personnel from China, South Korea, the U.S., Australia and Canada and it was a fun way to share experiences and common obstacles that militaries face when conducting humanitarian operations in the Pacific theatre. It was especially valuable because we rarely get the opportunity to talk face-to-face with our counterparts from China and South Korea. It was a relief to hear that they experience the same problems that we encounter when conducting humanitarian operations in the Pacific.

The first issue that surfaced during our multinational discussions at the symposium (a big thank you to the skilled interpreters who facilitated these discussions) was expectation management –both of our own medical teams and those of the host nation population. China and the U.S. both have dedicated hospital ships that are impressive and very capable medical units that include several operating rooms, intensive care units, medical imaging and hundreds of hospital beds onboard. The ships have a vast array of medical specialties and helicopters to transport patients and personnel to and from the ship. In this way, when these ships enter port in a third world country, they can set expectations for a very high level of care for the host nation population.

FORD ISLAND, Hawaii (July13, 2016) Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and U.S. military and civilian personnel treat simulated patients during a mass casualty during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force photo by Satoru Honma /Released)

FORD ISLAND, Hawaii (July13, 2016) Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and U.S. military and civilian personnel treat simulated patients during a mass casualty during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force photo by Satoru Honma /Released)

 

Similarly, the ship’s medical professionals are keen to provide care to a needy population that may not otherwise benefit from world-class healthcare. Problems arise when patients from the host nation require complex management of their conditions or long-term follow up by specialist teams. For example, patients may receive their complex operation onboard the hospital ship, but then require intensive monitoring and several months of follow up care, which cannot be provided by a ship that is only in port temporarily – for example, one month’s duration. Thus, the ship may elect not to perform complex operations – despite having this capability – because of the difficulties in maintaining continuity of care for these patients in the medium- to long-term future. This can cause frustration for both host nation and visiting medical specialists alike if expectations are not clearly formed from the outset. Establishing dialogue early in the planning phase of these operations, 12-18 months prior to commencement of humanitarian operations, is essential to clarifying expectations to prevent future disappointment and dissatisfaction with the medical care provided by visiting nations.

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (July 11, 2016) Military members from China, Canada and civilians share medical experiences during a group activity during Fundamentals of Global Health Engagement Course at Makalapa Clinic during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (July 11, 2016) Military members from China, Canada and civilians share medical experiences during a group activity during Fundamentals of Global Health Engagement Course at Makalapa Clinic during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak)

The second issue that arose during our discussions was interoperability. Being able to operate with other national militaries and government and non-government organisations in a humanitarian and disaster relief operation is paramount for the success of the program. The course highlighted the significance of all groups (government and non-government) uniting under a common leader, for example, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs during a humanitarian and disaster relief operation for the purpose of service coordination and allocation of tasks and assets to achieve mission objectives. This is hugely important given the many players and chaotic environment of humanitarian and disaster relief operations.

I would like to thank the U.S. Navy’s Center for Global Health Engagement for organizing this course and for providing the platform for several nations to come together and meet each other face-to-face to discuss how best we can work together to achieve our common objectives in providing the best healthcare possible in humanitarian and disaster relief operations around the Pacific.

Editor’s note: For more information on RIMPAC 2016, visit the following links:

Be a part of the conversation on social media using #RIMPAC and #PacificPartners.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/07/25/communication-key-during-humanitarian-assistance-and-disaster-relief/ U.S. Navy

A Foundation of Mutual Respect

By U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. David Bellon
Fleet Marine Officer to CTF 176 embarked aboard USS America for Rim of the Pacific 2016

One of the most inspiring aspects of being embarked on a ship for any Marine is to witness firsthand our shipmates’ mastery of their craft during complex operations at sea.  To see Sailors “turning to” during flight operations or replenishment at sea is always a privilege.  Unfortunately, most Sailors are unable to enjoy the same advantage of seeing Marines and soldiers demonstrating the same level of skill at their own tasks because that typically happens over the horizon or across some distant beach.

160714-M-JM737-007 MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII (July 14, 2016) - U.S .Marine Staff Sgt. Kyle Nicholson briefs Brig. Gen. David Bellon, Royal New Zealand Navy Commodore Jim Gilmour and Col. Carl Cooper on the data he collected as Assault Amphibious Vehicles with Combat Assault Company, 3rd Marine Regiment came to shore during Rim of the Pacific 2016. Bellon is the Fleet Marine Officer, Amphibious Force; Gilmour is the Combined Forces Amphibious Component Commander; Cooper is the Commanding Officer, Provisional Marine Expeditionary Brigade Hawaii. Twenty-six nations, 49 ships, six submarines, about 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC 16 from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships between participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 16 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Robert Sweet)

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII (July 14, 2016) – U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Kyle Nicholson briefs Brig. Gen. David Bellon, Royal New Zealand Navy Commodore Jim Gilmour and Col. Carl Cooper on the data he collected as Assault Amphibious Vehicles with Combat Assault Company, 3rd Marine Regiment came to shore during Rim of the Pacific 2016.

 

If I could change one aspect of RIMPAC 2016, it would be to have a way for the embarked sailors to See and appreciate what the nearly 4,000 Marines and soldiers have been accomplishing ashore.  This week I had the privilege of accompanying Commodore Jim Gilmour of the Royal New Zealand Navy, Commander CTF 176, into the Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island of Hawaii to observe training being conducted by members of Provisional Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Hawaii.  We came across a combined platoon-sized force made up of Australian and New Zealand soldiers as well as Tongan, Indonesian and U.S. Marines who were preparing for a live fire attack on a dug in enemy.  The range where the attack was to take place was located at approximately 6,000’ elevation over tough terrain.  The entire evolution lasted over an hour and pushed Marines and soldiers to their physical limits.  It was the culmination of weeks of hard training and integration by all involved.

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii (July 18, 2016) – Republic of Korea Marines participate in a live fire exercise at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, July 18, 2016.

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii (July 18, 2016) – Republic of Korea Marines participate in a live fire exercise at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, July 18, 2016.

 

The attack started with Australian snipers engaging targets 700 meters away as a Marine Corps machine gun section ran up a steep hill fully loaded with with their guns and ammunition.  In an instant, they had their guns in action and began suppressing the enemy.  “The enemy” was a series of computerized pop-up targets dug into a distant hillside that only go down when they have actually been hit with a number of bullets.  Suffice to say, targets were lying down quickly as the guns raked through their positions.  Almost simultaneously, the remaining members of the platoon maneuvered into attack positions.  To the left of the machine guns, an Australian Army assault team scrambled up the hill and fired an 84mm rocket into what remained of the first enemy position.  Within seconds, the sniper, machinegun and rocket fire lifted as Tongan and Kiwi squads overran the enemy.  With that, the entire platoon began leap-frogging through sequential enemy positions deeper on the range.  All were neutralized with great skill with everything from individual weapons, mortars and hand-grenades.  The effort truly reflected the weeks of training and conditioning these individual soldiers and Marines committed to long before RIMPAC started but have been solidified by the last couple of weeks, by working closely together to ensure that the blended team functions as safely and as smoothly as possible.

Most of us who have been around the track a time or two know that the individual relationships fostered during RIMPAC at all levels, inspired first and foremost by mutual respect, have a way of paying off down the road in some real world contingency years from now that we cannot even imagine when we find an unexpected familiar face during times of high stress and high stakes.  In the interim, by working together, we are all gaining a more well-rounded perspective that will only lead to greater understanding and stability in the Pacific.   RIMPAC 2016 is part of an enduring effort by the United States to grow relationships within the Pacific that first and foremost lead to stability and safety in the region.  Stability starts with mutual understanding and respect at the individual level.  Having our Sailors and Marines get the chance to sail alongside and work shoulder-to-shoulder with peers at every level from 26 different nations, is the foundation of future stability.  We have professionals from Seaman Apprentice to Lieutenant Generals who are working with their peers from the participating nations to solve complex problems and deliver safe and realistic training on a daily basis.  The inevitable outcome of these sustained efforts during RIMPAC will be a foundation of mutual respect.  Like any other relationship everything else grows from this foundation.

Editor’s note: For more information on RIMPAC 2016, visit the following links:

Be a part of the conversation on social media using #RIMPAC and #PacificPartners.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/07/22/a-foundation-of-mutual-respect/ U.S. Navy

Working Together during RIMPAC 2016 for the Future

By Royal Canadian Air Force Brig. Gen. Blaise Frawley
Combined Forces Air Component Commander, Rim of the Pacific 2016Royal Canadian Air Force Brig. Gen. Blaise Frawley

This year marks the 25th iteration of RIMPAC, and I have to admit, I’m really excited to be this year’s combined forces air component commander. My job here is to oversee the air operations for the entire exercise, for which I have a team of about 200 personnel in the Combined Air Operations Centre. Working in such an environment gives us the chance to advance a mutual understanding of what we’re all doing and how we can work together to achieve our common goals.

I will admit, bringing together 200 aircraft is a big feat, but we’re up for the challenge! Building a plan that determines what all of the aircraft will be doing can be tricky, but when we work together, we can achieve anything. Over 200 people work collaboratively in the Combined Air Operations Centre to coordinate, plan and monitor the missions to ensure we operate safely and effectively in support of the exercise. For some of my staff, RIMPAC is their first opportunity to work within a multinational Combined Air Operations Centre. This exercise is an incredible opportunity for these folks to experience what it’s like to work with, synchronize and coordinate air operations on a large-scale and it’s really similar to the environment they would find themselves in if deployed to support expeditionary operations.

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (July 11, 2016) A Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet flies alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker flown by a crew from the 465th Air Refueling Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., in support of Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Grady Epperly)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (July 11, 2016) A Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet flies alongside a KC-135 Stratotanker flown by a crew from the 465th Air Refueling Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., in support of Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Grady Epperly)

 

For Canada, training exercises like RIMPAC are crucial to the development of the men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force. It’s important that the Royal Canadian Air Force be able to generate and maintain a combat capable, multi-role air force, and RIMPAC is invaluable for achieving that as it affords us the opportunity to maintain a high level of readiness by participating in real-life scenarios with allied nations. While the focus here is mainly on the maritime domain, what we’re really doing is learning about cooperation between nations, which means if we need to work together in a time of crisis, like a tsunami in Japan, or a typhoon hitting the coast of Asia, we’ll be ready to hit the ground running because we’ll already know how to work together. This is really significant because rarely do we get the chance to work with so many nations in an environment like this. We get to participate in real-life scenarios on a massive scale and that gives us an awesome opportunity to learn from each other and our allies.

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (July 11, 2016) A KC-135 crew from the 465th Air Refueling Squadron at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., completes an aerial refueling of a Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet in support of Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Grady Epperly)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (July 11, 2016) A KC-135 crew from the 465th Air Refueling Squadron at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., completes an aerial refueling of a Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet in support of Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Grady Epperly)

 

RIMPAC 2016, and my position here, has given me the invaluable opportunity to impress upon people that we are here to work together – regardless of rank – and achieve a mutual understanding of what it means to function as one team. Taking the time to learn from other countries and being open to new ways of working together is critical, and that’s why I think RIMPAC is such an incredible environment – we come together as soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen, and work as one coalition, side-by-side.

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (July 11, 2016) Lt Col. Ken Humphrey, a pilot with the 465th Air Refueling Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., turns a KC-135 while on approach to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, in support of Rim of the Pacific 2016. Humphrey and his crew fly and operate KC-135s out of the 507th Air Refueling Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. The 507th ARW is the largest Reserve flying unit in the state of Oklahoma. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Grady Epperly)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (July 11, 2016) Lt Col. Ken Humphrey, a pilot with the 465th Air Refueling Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., turns a KC-135 while on approach to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, in support of Rim of the Pacific 2016. Humphrey and his crew fly and operate KC-135s out of the 507th Air Refueling Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. The 507th ARW is the largest Reserve flying unit in the state of Oklahoma. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Grady Epperly)

When I look around at everyone doing such great work in the Combined Air Operations Centre, I feel lucky to be heading a team of such professional and skilled personnel; I hope they’re all making the most of every moment. I try to pass on my knowledge and experiences to my staff because it’s important to me they have successful careers – seeing staff grow every day makes me proud and confident that each of our armed forces are in good hands with our leaders of tomorrow.

One thing I’ve learned from working in a coalition is the importance of good leadership, and I hope to pass that on to those working to support the mission here. I make every effort to lead through motivation and confidence. I believe being a good leader requires a balance of self-confidence and humility and it’s imperative you believe in your own abilities – once you do, you will lead well. Leadership also requires understanding that those around you are your most valuable asset, and if you trust and empower your subordinates, one day they too will be great leaders.

I reflect upon all the airmen and airwomen that came before me and the Royal Canadian Air Force’s deeply rooted tradition, heritage and history. We have incredible capabilities and it takes a lot of training to make sure we are deployment-ready. When we train our people well, we reap the benefits, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here. Nearly every day, I have valuable opportunities to exchange knowledge with leaders from other nations participating in RIMPAC, and the best part is that we are all learning new ways to approach our mission more effectively. The theme of this year’s RIMPAC is Capable, Adaptive, Partners, and collaborating with other allied nations and creating partnerships and mutual understanding is imperative for Canada’s future.

Editor’s note: For more information on RIMPAC 2016, visit the following links:

Be a part of the conversation on social media using #RIMPAC and #PacificPartners.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/07/20/working-together-during-rimpac-2016-for-the-future/ U.S. Navy

Embracing Opportunities during RIMPAC 2016

By Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Scott Bishop
Deputy Commander Combined Task Force, RIMPAC 2016

The sun crests the horizon of the Pacific Ocean and fills the bridge of your warship with warm morning light. Salt on the reinforced glass window you are looking through diffuses the light, causing it to jump and play over the faces of the sailors standing behind you. Looking from the bridge-wing, past the bow of the ship, you see 20 warships from a myriad of nations fanned out in formation, all steaming under orders to engage an enemy that uses ships, submarines, aircraft and tactics similar to your own.

The call comes in from your Operations Team that there is an inbound enemy torpedo…

Rear Adm. Scott Bishop, RIMPAC Deputy Commander Combined Task Force

Rear Adm. Scott Bishop, RIMPAC Deputy Commander Combined Task Force
(U.S. Navy photo courtesy of MCpl Mathieu Gaudreault, Canadian Forces Combat Camera)

I have been that young naval officer standing watch on the bridge of a Canadian warship. This is the sort of experience that will stay with you for life; it sticks with you and helps shapes how you think and learn throughout your career.

RIMPAC is an exceptional exercise. One of the key elements that sets RIMPAC apart from other multinational exercises is its size. This is just such a huge exercise. We are talking about 26 countries, 45 warships, five submarines, more than 200 combat aircraft and 25,000 people. You don’t get an exercise of this magnitude very often.

For RIMPAC 2016, I have the honour to have been appointed deputy commander of the Combined Task Force. I work for Vice Admiral Nora Tyson. It’s a really exciting job: I essentially run the day-to-day operation of the entire exercise. Of course, I get a lot of help from U.S., Australian, New Zealand, and Japanese flag officers, as well as personnel from across the rest of the nations participating in RIMPAC. This will be a learning experience for me as well. Just like that young officer on the bridge, I am going to get to do many things that I don’t get to practice very often. It is going to be a great experience.

This is the 25th time Canada has participated in RIMPAC. In fact, you could say we are charter-members because we have participated in RIMPAC since the first one in 1971 when it was just five nations: Australia, Canada New Zealand, United Kingdom and the U.S. For me, this is the sixth time I’ve been a part of RIMPAC.

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 16, 2016)– French, German, Canadian and American sailors pose for a group shop after conducting a visit, boarding, search and seizure exercise aboard French Navy Floreal-class frigate Prairial (F731) during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of the French navy)

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 16, 2016)– French, German, Canadian and American sailors pose for a group shop after conducting a visit, boarding, search and seizure exercise aboard French Navy Floreal-class frigate Prairial (F731) during Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of the French navy)

 

RIMPAC gets bigger and better all the time and Canada’s leadership role has grown too. This year, we have some Canadian officers in key command positions. Brigadier-General Blaise Frawley is serving as the coalition air component commander; he runs the entire air war, including all of the 200 combat aircraft. We also have Navy Captain Jason Boyd, who is the sea-combat commander, and he’s directing the naval warfare for an entire aircraft carrier strike group. These are really incredible leadership positions Canada has in RIMPAC, and those officers are going to learn a tremendous amount.

RIMPAC provides an opportunity for Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Calgary and Vancouver to practice operations across the full spectrum of conflict with other nations from search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, all the way up to joint and combined missile and torpedo firings – some of which will be conducted in very challenging tactical scenarios. These training events will push the ships and their warfare teams to practice very specialized skills that they rarely get to do at this level. In fact, there are many training goals at RIMPAC, from sailors and aircrew achieving personal qualifications, to teams working together in order to achieve team-level qualifications.

CAMP PENDLETON, California (July 16, 2016) Canadian Army Soldiers from 2nd Bataillon Royal 2nd Régiment, use a U.S. Marine Corps Assault Amphibious Vehicle to conduct section attacks training with live ammunition during Rim of the Pacific. (Canadian Forces Combat Camera photo by Sgt Marc-André Gaudreault/Released)

CAMP PENDLETON, California (July 16, 2016) Canadian Army Soldiers from 2nd Bataillon Royal 2nd Régiment, use a U.S. Marine Corps Assault Amphibious Vehicle to conduct section attacks training with live ammunition during Rim of the Pacific. (Canadian Forces Combat Camera photo by Sgt Marc-André Gaudreault/Released)

Finally, the Royal Canadian Navy has a lot of new procedures and drills that we will be practicing on the exercise – some of which are experimental and include the testing of new technology. Anytime you get an opportunity like RIMPAC to work on sophisticated practice ranges with the latest testing and evaluation equipment, you get excited. This is a great opportunity to test new things.

This truly is an exceptional exercise and, ultimately, every Canadian Armed Forces member deployed to RIMPAC will come out of the exercise at a level of readiness that is far, far higher than when they started. I encourage each person involved in RIMPAC to take every opportunity to absorb as many experiences as they can while they are here.

Ready Aye Ready

Editor’s note: For more information on RIMPAC 2016, visit the following links:

Be a part of the conversation on social media using #RIMPAC and #PacificPartners.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/07/19/embracing-opportunities-during-rimpac-2016/ U.S. Navy

My Rim of the Pacific Experience Sailing with USS San Diego

By Acting Sub-Lieutenant Jérémie Fraser,
Canadian exchange officer sailing onboard USS San Diego (LPD 22) for RIMPAC 2016

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Jérémie Fraser, Canadian exchange officer sailing onboard USS San Diego (LPD 22) for RIMPAC 2016. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

Acting Sub-Lieutenant Jérémie Fraser, Canadian exchange officer sailing onboard USS San Diego (LPD 22) for RIMPAC 2016. (U.S. Navy photo/Released)

After spending a dozen days on the beautiful island of Oahu, I am now observing the immense preparations required for the departure of the ship. USS San Diego (LPD 22) is now full of U.S. Marines and their equipment, ready to begin exercise Rim of the Pacific. I am looking forward to seeing how the Marines work and perhaps I may even participate in some of their training.

The last few days have been full of different social activities, with the objective of meeting fellow sailors and officers from navies from around the world. HMCS Calgary (FFH 335) and HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331) hosted an excellent reception to celebrate Canada Day. Everyone I have met has had only positive things to say about Canadian hospitality.

It is important to recognize our American hosts as well. My colleagues and I have been very well-received by the crew of the San Diego. They include us in most activities, of which they are quite rewarding and exciting.

PEARL HARBOR (June 28, 2016) Sailors man the rails on the flight deck as amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to make preparations for Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

PEARL HARBOR (June 28, 2016) Sailors man the rails on the flight deck as amphibious transport dock ship USS San Diego (LPD 22) arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to make preparations for Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

 

My primary objective of this exchange is to gain experience. I will begin my training to be a maritime surface and sub-surface officer soon upon my return to Canada. As such, I have ample opportunity to review the basic naval knowledge, such as the Rules of the Road, flags and more. Time spent on the bridge of the San Diego has also given me the opportunity to learn about the different systems used to navigate a warship. I hope I will not be totally lost when I begin my training!

The training for surface warfare officer in the U.S. Navy, the equivalent of our maritime surface and sub-surface officer, is different compared to how it is done in the Royal Canadian Navy. Canadians undertake an intensive, year-long course before becoming an officer of the watch, while Americans have a more on-the-job approach. This unique environment onboard a U.S. warship is very advantageous for a young junior officer in my position.

Editor’s notes: For more information on RIMPAC 2016, visit the following links:

Be a part of the conversation on social media using #RIMPAC and #PacificPartners.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2016/07/14/my-rim-of-the-pacific-experience-sailing-with-uss-san-diego/ U.S. Navy