Maui News

Exercise Rim of the Pacific 2018 Concludes

August 2, 2018, 8:30 AM HST
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Photo By Senior Chief Petty Officer Keith DeVinney | Ships and submarines participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise 2012 sail in formation in the waters around the Hawaiian islands. Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise from June 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Keith Devinney/RELEASED)

The world’s largest international maritime exercise concluded today following more than a month of training events conducted in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.

Twenty-five nations, 46 surface ships, five submarines, 17 land forces, and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel participated in Rim of the Pacific 2018.

This year’s RIMPAC iteration marked the 26th in the series that began in 1971 and is now held every two years.

Hosted by US Pacific Fleet, RIMPAC 2018 was led by US Vice Adm. John D. Alexander, commander of the US 3rd Fleet, who served as the combined task force commander.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our international team’s ability to successfully complete an exercise of this nature,” said Alexander. “Most importantly, we completed the exercise safely while still achieving national training objectives. This is a true testament to the talent and lasting partnerships we built through RIMPACs past and present, and will continue to build for the foreseeable future.”

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Alexander said the involvement of so many different countries working together to successfully accomplish RIMPAC was a strong reminder of the unity coalition forces can exhibit in a real-world situation.

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“Multinational operations are complicated,” he said. “It takes skill to assemble an international team and have it be successful. Throughout the duration of the exercise, from the planning conferences to the ships returning to port, this team proved they work great together and can adapt quickly to a dynamic environment.”

This year’s exercise included forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Republic of Korea, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.

Additionally, for the first time since RIMPAC 2002, US 3rd Fleet’s Command Center relocated from San Diego to Pearl Harbor to support command and control of all 3rd Fleet forces in 3rd Fleet’s area of responsibility, to include forces operating forward in the Western Pacific. The Fleet Command Center established at a Deployable Joint Command and Control on Hospital Point, Pearl Harbor, for the first part of the exercise and then transitioned to amphibious transport dock ship USS Portland (LPD 27) for the remainder of the exercise.

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Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Bob Auchterlonie, who served as deputy commander of the CTF said all participating nations worked together incredibly well to overcome various challenges and meet mission objectives.

“We had some weather systems and other realities, such as the second SINKEX target ship being sunk earlier than expected, that impacted our ability to complete all our training according to the plan, but that is also the great part about RIMPAC,” Auchterlonie said. “Our motto is ‘Capable, Adaptive, Partners’ and all the participating nations demonstrated this. We adjusted plans and drafted new ones in order to ensure each nation got the training value they expected from RIMPAC 2018.”

Organizers said participating nations and forces exercised a wide range of capabilities and demonstrated the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities ranged from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting. The relevant, realistic training program included amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as counter-piracy operations, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal, and diving and salvage operations.

This robust constellation of allies and partners support sustained and favorable regional balances of power that safeguard security, prosperity, and the free and open international order. Organizers say RIMPAC 2018 contributes to the increased lethality, resiliency and agility needed by the Joint and Combined Force to deter and defeat aggression by major powers across all domains and levels of conflict.

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