25K military personnel converge in Hawaii for RIMPAC war games

Published: Jun. 23, 2016 at 6:45 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 30, 2016 at 4:32 PM HST
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(Image: U.S. Navy)
(Image: U.S. Navy)

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than 25,000 military personnel from two dozen nations are in Hawaii for the biennial Rim of the Pacific exercises.

The war games kicked off Thursday, and will include 45 ships, five submarines, and more than 200 aircraft.

And for the first time this year, Denmark, Germany and Italy are joining the five-week exercises, which take place off Hawaii and California.

Military officials say residents should be prepared for aircraft noise, including in the late evening, additional crowds and traffic.

Another warning: The games could temporarily affect your garage door opener.

The Navy said remote-controlled garage door openers may be affected by electromagnetic activity generated by large ships and other sources.

RIMPAC, the world's largest international maritime exercise, has been held every two years since 1971. The Navy says it trains participants to foster and sustain relationships that are critical to ensuring safety and security at sea.

The exercises, which run through August 4, include land, sea and air operations at Pearl Harbor, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kauai's Pacific Missile Range Facility, and Hawaii Island's Pohakuloa Training Area.

While RIMPAC is aimed at fostering goodwill among nations, it is not without controversy. China is again participating in the exercises this year, despite ongoing regional disputes and military aggression in the South China Sea.

"We're still taking the approach of, everybody ought to work together here," U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said recently.

Meanwhile, state officials say RIMPAC is a boon for the economy. Officials estimated the direct economic impact to the state in 2014 was more than $52 million.

For more information on the exercises, click here. To make a noise complaint or raise other concerns, call 472-0235.

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