Building relationships and preparing for combat > United States Navy > News

The largest international maritime exercise in the world, RIMPAC provides participants with a unique training opportunity while building cooperative relationships between nations. These relationships are crucial to ensuring safe sea lanes and security in all of the world’s oceans. Through the formation of a combined international force, RIMPAC also enhances interoperability across the full spectrum of military operations in the maritime environment.



Building relationships


As part of shore-based activities this year, Naval Reserve sailors assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 22 Seabees partnered with U.S. Marines and Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy sailors for several projects on bases around Oahu, ranging from pouring concrete to removing and rebuilding stairs for safe beach access.


“As Seabees, we are called upon to build all over the world, and RIMPAC is a huge part of building trust,” said Equipment Operator 1st Class Richard “Tyler” Rack, of Houston, Texas, assigned to the NMCB 22, Detachment 3222. “If we were to go to the Republic of Korea or work with them somewhere, we have already established a familiarity and a working relationship.”


Such familiarity can be as simple as recognizing the uniforms of different countries to understanding some of their cultural norms and expectations. It can also pave the way for lasting bonds between sailors and service members of other nations.


“The good thing about working with partner nations is that you build a bond and a relationship with them by showing them how to use different tools and techniques, and showing them that you trust them,” said Alan Hopkins, Steel Worker 3rd Class, of Houston. , Texas, assigned to NMCB 22, Detachment 3222.


By working together and developing mutual trust, U.S. troops and service members from partner nations improve their overall knowledge and capabilities.


“I love the experience,” Hopkins said. “[Partner nations] have different ideas and techniques, so the good thing about RIMPAC is that they can come here and show us how they do things.


The language barrier, however, can prove difficult for some RIMPAC participants.


“A big challenge for us was having different languages,” Rack said. “Luckily America is a diverse nation with many languages, and we have a sailor in our detachment who speaks Korean. They were able to translate for us, which was so cool.


In addition to having bilingual team members, participants adapted using translation apps, and sometimes even resorted to simple gestures to get their point across. Despite the language barrier, American and Korean sailors were able to come together for their builds.


“Although the language is different, it looks like we can identify with each other and that’s good,” ROK Navy Sgt. Major Seougju Yun, assigned to the ROK’s 59th Mobile Naval Construction Squadron. “It’s very gratifying to see colleagues accomplishing projects. I think training together can help us be good partners, even in an emergency.



Preparation for battle


RIMPAC EXERCISE provides Naval Reserve sailors, who must be ready to mobilize within 72 hours, the opportunity to practice quartering in accordance with the Chief Naval Reserve’s Naval Reserve Combat Instructions.


The combat instructions describe four areas of effort to modernize the force: design, train, mobilize and develop. The “Train the Force” line of effort, also known as “Mob-to-Billet”, advocates that Sailors focus on completing the combat requirements of their mobilization ticket, in addition to the readiness requirements.


“The RIMPAC experience would absolutely help me be able to mobilize in three days,” Hopkins said. “I can introduce myself and I already have some experience of working with other nations in a [forces] situation, and it will help me in case I have to go to another country.


RIMPAC is also an opportunity for reservists to become part of a work unit.


“As a reserve sailor, my favorite part of RIMPAC is being back in a team environment with a common mission to accomplish,” Rack said. “In my experience, in the civilian sector, you can’t find such a deep level of camaraderie.”


Coupled with the fact that many Naval Reserve sailors have civilian careers different from their Navy specialty, their ability to quickly integrate and adapt to any working environment is impressive.


“It amazes me when I show up at a construction project and witness so many of my [Navy Reserve] shipmates, who are very good at their respective rates, for example as carpenters or equipment operators, and then you ask them what they do on the civilian side, it’s something totally different and yet they know building,” Rack said. “They are teachers, bankers, fitness trainers and business owners. You might never expect that.


Combat readiness and interoperability may be RIMPAC’s overarching mission, but most memorable for most participants is the ongoing international camaraderie.


“The friendships we built during the port phase will lead to lifelong partnerships,” Vice said. Adm. Michael Boyle, commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet, who serves as commander of Joint Task Force RIMPAC. “Having a friend you can call when you need help, you already know their name, you already know their abilities, you already have a rapport, that’s what RIMPAC is.”


Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, four submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel participated in RIMPAC in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California from June 29 to August 4. For health security reasons, this is the first large-scale RIMPAC exercise since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series which began in 1971.


To learn more about RIMPAC, check out their social media presence on Facebook and Instagram.

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