Hawaii rolls out the welcome mat for RIMPAC, the world’s largest international maritime exercise.
For centuries, the world's oceans separated countries. Today, these interconnected waterways are considered routes that link us.
Held biennially in even-numbered years, RIMPAC finds Hawaii rolling out the welcome mat and sharing our Aloha Spirit with Rim of the Pacific naval allies as they gather in a dynamic tropical atmosphere that encourages teamwork.
A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier, left, New Zealand army soldier and a U.S. Navy Sailor aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu render honors while passing the USS Arizona Memorial while departing Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Amanda Chavez)
The month-long RIMPAC exercise unites naval forces and reunites friends from 26 area nations to foster and sustain cooperative relationships throughout our region. Themed as “Capable, Adaptive, Partners,” the 2018 event is slated for June 27-August 2.
Two AV-8B Harriers assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 161, and aircraft from Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 fly in formation above the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson Strike Group is currently operating in the Pacific as part of a regularly scheduled deployment. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. David Babka)
As RIMPAC’s host, the State of Hawaii and the U.S. Navy Third Fleet take tremendous pride in welcoming participants, their families and their friends.
The multi-national maritime exercise finds some 25,000 military personnel teaming to improve communications, create cooperation with RIMPAC allies, and strengthen military relationships with other Pacific Rim forces.
This enormous Hawaii “family reunion” will include such countries as Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, and the United States. We are especially happy to say “Aloha” to these returning RIMPAC participants!
Marine Corps Base Hawaii: Royal Australian Navy sailors participate in a simulated beach assault. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Corey T. Jones)
We are also excited to greet first-time participating navies from Brazil, Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Additional firsts include Chile serving as Combined Force Maritime Component Commander and New Zealand serving as Sea Combat Commander. The international contingency will integrate 47 surface ships, 5 submarines, 18 national land forces, and more than 200 aircraft.
An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the Black Knights of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4, embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), participates in a helicopter exercise off the coast of the Hawaiian Island of Kauai during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise. U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Joseph Pfaff.
Regardless of where these U.S. allies are based, they tend to agree that there’s no better place to host the world’s largest international maritime exercise than our island paradise! Aside from our all-embracing Aloha Spirit, RIMPAC attendees are greeted with “Welcome RIMPAC” signs throughout Waikiki that extend military discounts to those from all nations.
There are multiple technologies being tested during RIMPAC. Lance Cpl. Brandon Dieckmann, an infantryman with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, India Co., leads the Legged Squad Support System through an open field at Kahuku Training Area. The LS3 is experimental technology being tested by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab as part of the Advanced Warfighting Experiment.
You’ll also find Hawaii’s military sharing their well-deserved bragging rights as being temporarily based in what’s considered the most beautiful place in the U.S.!
Helping Our Guests Feel At Home In The Hawaiian Islands
The Aloha State is home to the most diverse population in the United States, with our residents’ varied ethnicities primarily rooted in participating nations. So everyone feels right at home with the Hawaiian Islands’ melting pot culture, foods and customs.
Although RIMPAC’s primary focus is to improve multi-national cooperation and inter-operability between allies on the high seas and in combat scenarios, it also provides the opportunity for building new friendships and strengthening camaraderie with old friends. The exercise allows the U.S. Navy to understand how other navies function so that our countries can build bridges, collaborate, and complement each other.
Members of TEK's Ship's Company before embarking on a bike ride around Oahu's North Shore. Photo by: Royal New Zealand Navy
Since many join the Navy to see the world, our global visitors especially embrace this opportunity that lands them in the enchanting Hawaiian Islands. Our strategic location allows the U.S. Pacific Fleet to offer realistic, relevant training opportunities like nowhere else in the world.
Sailors play rugby in Waikiki during a tournament held as part of exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC). The tournament, held at Kapiolani Park, included both men's and women's teams from the Royal Australian Navy, the Royal New Zealand Navy and the Hawaii Harlequins Rugby Football Club. New Zealand Defense Force Photo by: LAC Amanda McErlich, Photographer, Defense Communications Group
In addition to a little friendly competition in athletic and sports contests, sailors can “play tourist” by hiking Diamond Head, surfing or standup paddling on Oahu’s North Shore, learning to play the ukulele, relaxing on Oahu’s most beautiful beaches or spotting a Humuhumunukunukuapua`a (Hawaii’s state fish) while snorkeling at Hanauma Bay.
A New Zealand Sailor, participating in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, paddles his kayak during a kayak race at the Rainbow Bay Marina. Photo by: Royal New Zealand Navy
Foodies love drinking Kona Coffee and sampling Hawaii’s plate lunches that were inspired by immigrants from the Philippines, Okinawa, Japan, China, Polynesia, Puerto Rico, and Korea who came to work on the Hawaiian Islands’ sugarcane plantations. To mark this special RIMPAC occasion, naval guests may even show their island love by braving up for a new Hawaii tattoo!
RIMPAC would not be possible without the overwhelming support from the leadership and citizenry of the Aloha State of Hawaii. Since this vital exercise all takes place here in our tropical U.S. paradise, it gives those of us living in Hawaii a chance to embrace our guests with our legendary spirit of aloha and sense of ohana (family).
We hope that our RIMPAC friends depart with epic memories, ample selfies, and a sense of Hawaii’s warm hospitality that’s found nowhere than in our tropical Pacific Ocean islands.
A Hui Hou Kakou (Until We Meet Again)!
Aloha means both welcome and farewell. So we bid RIMPAC participants aloha when both arriving and departing. And we look forward to greeting them with a warm Aloha again in 2020.