By Capt. Gregory Huffman
Commanding Officer, USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74)
Rim of the Pacific has long been known as an exercise that brings navies from the Pacific and beyond together in a complex, challenging maritime exercise. Less well known is how it brings people together across a wide variety of military and civilian levels.
At all echelons of command, distinguished visitor programs and office calls between military and diplomatic officials bring leaders together in formal and informal settings. During RIMPAC 2016, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) hosted more than 300 embarked guests, including Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. and foreign ambassadors, Commander-in-chief of the Chilean navy Adm. Enrique Larranaga, admirals and generals from several countries, Hawaii Governor David Ige, congressional representatives, and civil and business leaders. These exchanges help decision-makers better understand how vital the maritime environment is, how interdependent the Pacific region is, and experience the challenges of maritime operations.
While hosting distinguished visitors, USS John C. Stennis was simultaneously conducting operations with the multinational forces. These exercise events allowed our Sailors to interact with other countries’ sailors – both in coordination and execution. During these scenarios, we learned more about how each navy operates and how our strengths can be mutually beneficial. We operated alongside one another to execute complex maritime maneuvers that required extensive coordination and trust in each other’s expertise. Our RIMPAC experiences reminded us that we all face similar concerns in operating ships at sea, and that we can learn from how each nation meets those challenges.
While ashore in Hawaii, our Sailors met Sailors from other nations during sports, recreation and liberty. At the same time, they represented our Navy to Hawaiians and discovered the islands’ rich culture and heritage. As stewards and ambassadors of our country and the U.S. Navy, USS John C. Stennis Sailors expanded their horizons, fostered new experiences and became more aware of the world around them.
RIMPAC’s operational phases demonstrate that we are a capable, adaptive force. These personal interactions make us stronger partners.
Editor’s note: For more information on RIMPAC 2016, visit the following links:
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