Tuesday, August 03, 2010

RIMPAC 2010 Officially Concludes as Ships Return to Pearl Harbor

Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Brian Becker, front, from Salt Lake City, and Logistics Specialist 3rd Class James Heckwine, from Decatur, Ill., run to safety after connecting a cargo pendant to an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Eightballers of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 8 during a vertical replenishment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Ronald Reagan is underway participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010, a biennial, multinational exercise designed to strengthen regional partnerships and improve multinational interoperability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joseph M. Buliavac/Released)

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Robert Stirrup, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- Top military leaders from 14 partner nations held a press conference at Merry Point Landing on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH) July 30, officially marking the end of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010 exercise.

A total of 32 ships and five submarines from seven nations returned to JBPHH July 30-31 after successfully completing the exercise.

"RIMPAC has clearly achieved everything we set it up to do," said Vice Adm. Richard Hunt, commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet and commander, Combined Task Force. "We all met our training objectives and in doing so, as an international force, we have increased our interoperability, built upon our solid relationships, and improved the readiness, capability and capacity of the Pacific maritime forces."

The U.S. Pacific Fleet-event commenced June 23 in the waters around the Hawaiian Islands, involving more than 20,000 personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Peru, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.

The exercise was designed to increase the operational and tactical proficiency of participating units in a wide array of maritime operations by enhancing military-to-military relations and interoperability.

The senior Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) leader, Rear Adm. Kazuki Yamashita, deputy commander of Combined Task Force, stated that RIMPAC was very important in helping establish maritime security in the Pacific.

"I would like to express my appreciation to [the] U.S. Navy who supported this exercise, and our friends of all nations who gave us (a) great impression about their professionalism," said Yamashita.

"From the Canadian perspective, RIMPAC 2010 has been a terrific opportunity for all of our forces," said Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Ron Lloyd and the maritime component commander for RIMPAC.

"The performance of all the participants across the various task forces in the maritime component were superbly planned and brilliantly executed which speaks to the tremendous leadership of the task force commanders all the way down to the individual units. All of the participating nations should be exceptionally proud of how their forces represented their respective countries in an extremely dynamic, challenging and complex exercise," said Lloyd.

During the exercise, participating countries conducted three sinking exercises, which included 140 discrete live-fire events - 30 surface-to-air engagements, 40 air-to-air missile engagements, 12 surface-to-surface engagements, 76 laser guided bombs and more than 1,000 rounds of naval gunfire from 20 surface combatants. In addition, units flew more than 3100+ air sorties, completed numerous maritime interdiction and vessel boardings, explosive ordnance disposal, diving and salvage operations and mine clearance operations and 10 major experiments – the major one the Marine Corps Enhanced Company Operations experiment.

Ground forces from five countries completed five amphibious landings, including nine helicopter born amphibious landings and 560 troops from ship-to-shore.

In all, 960 different training events were schedule and 96 percent were completed in all areas of the Hawaiian operations area – from Kaneohe Bay and Bellows, to the Pacific Missile Range Facility, to the Pohakuloa Training Area on the main island of Hawaii.

"It is this trust and confidence that we've developed amongst our international participants that is perhaps the most important aspect of RIMPAC. It is the one that is enduring," said Hunt. "It is this that will provide huge benefits in the realm of increased maritime security for years to come."

RIMPAC is the world's largest multinational maritime exercise. This year's RIMPAC exercise themed "Combined Agility, Synergy and Support," marked the 22nd exercise in the series that originated in 1971.