RIMPAC wraps up successful exercise

Commander Bob Garcia
Commander Bob Garcia
Commander Haydn Edmundson
Commander Haydn Edmundson

By Leland Kim - bio | email

PEARL HARBOR (KHNL) -  The largest international maritime training session is winding down at Pearl Harbor.  It is the 21st RIMPAC or Rim of the Pacific exercise.  This biennial event attracts nations from the Americas, Asia, Australia, and even Europe.

All in all, there are 35 ships and six submarines.  Seventeen vessels came in throughout the day Tuesday.

One by one, they make their way in, like weary warriors after a long battle.   Ten nations gather in Hawaii for one mission, to increase maritime peace.

"We know that the world is continuing to evolve," said Commander Bob Garcia, a spokesperson with the U.S. Navy.  "Our navies are continuing to evolve.  As we get new technology and we get new thinking within the naval service, we need to make sure we're up to date on that."

The Canadian ship, HMCS Regina, was one of the first ships to make its way in, leading a row of international vessels.

And one of the stars of this year's RIMPAC is the USS Kitty Hawk.  It's the oldest active commissioned ship and the last of the conventional carriers.

After this week, the Kitty Hawk will be decommissioned, ending a maritime era.

"Once that process happens, it'll move up to our naval shipyard in Birmington," said Garcia.

Canada has been a RIMPAC participant since the very beginning, and its commanding officer says the tactical phase simulated real world conditions.

"This particular ship got to fire off a couple of missiles, a torpedo, a live submarine, 40 rockets and an electronic warfare trial," said Commander Haydn Edmundson, Canada's commanding officer.

And the Regina achieved a rare distinction, signified by a broom at the bow of the ship.

"That's an indication that this ship managed a clean sweep," said Edmundson.  "Every weapon fired hit its target and that is a unique circumstance for any ship."

And RIMPAC participants are taking home something valuable, something beyond a maritime exercise.

"We achieve cooperation. We achieve communication. We achieve understanding of each other's capabilities and limitations," said Edmundson.  "That's what we're going home with.  We understand each other much better than when we started RIMPAC."

Tuesday evening, ships from Japan, Singapore, Canada, and Australia made their way into Pearl Harbor.

RIMPAC officially ends on Thursday.