By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class John Sorensen – PEARL HARBOR (NNS) – The world’s largest international maritime exercise, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014, concluded August 1 with the participation of 22 nations, 49 surface ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.
Hosted by U.S. Pacific Fleet, RIMPAC 2014 was led by U.S. Vice Adm. Kenneth Floyd, commander of the U.S. Third Fleet (C3F), serving as the combined task force (CTF) commander. RIMPAC is designed to enhance cooperation of the combined forces and improve individual war fighting competencies.
“The relationships that are forged at RIMPAC span oceans and years,” said Floyd. “RIMPAC is a unique opportunity for us to get to know each other, to train together, and provide some level of trust when we are out on the high seas together in the future. It is the only exercise that can do so to this scale.”
This year’s exercise included units and personnel from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States. The training syllabus included amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine, and air defense exercises, as well as military medicine, humanitarian assistance and disaster response, counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal, and diving and salvage operations.
Royal Australian Navy Rear Adm. Simon Cullen, CTF deputy commander, said RIMPAC helped international participants hone the skills that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.
“This was an opportunity for the participating nations to take advantage of the excellent training infrastructure and ranges that are available in the Hawaiian Islands,” Cullen said. “It enabled individual units to conduct training that they could not otherwise have in their own waters.”
RIMPAC 2014 marked the first time that Japan led the scenario-driven humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) response portion of the exercise that facilitated training and certification for expeditionary forces to respond to foreign disasters as a crisis response adaptive force.
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Rear Adm. Yasuki Nakahata served as commander of HA/DR operations.
“Through this exercise, we were able to show a well-coordinated effort similar to the United Nations or a civil/military coordination center and conduct our mission with all pertinence. This is a great step forward for all of Japan and a great impact to an international society,” Nakahata said.
RIMPAC 2014 had two new participants this year, Brunei and the People’s Republic of China. Additionally, RIMPAC participants who sent a ship for the first time to participate in RIMPAC 2014 included Colombia, India, Indonesia and Norway. This year also marked the first time hospital ships participated in RIMPAC. The Chinese hospital ship, Peace Ark, and USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) conducted personnel exchanges, military medicine exchanges and medical evacuation and mass casualty training, further highlighting the valuable capability hospital ships bring to the Pacific.
With the theme of “capable, adaptive partners” participating nations at RIMPAC 2014 demonstrated the flexibility of maritime forces to meet regional and global challenges for mutual benefit.