Ho'okele Staff | Aug 20, 2012
Although the ships of the 22 nations that participated in RIM-PAC 2012 have sailed away from the islands of Hawaii into the sunset, the tangible benefits of the exercise will linger in paradise for a long time to come.
From the shore to the warfight-ers, those involved in the exercise operated in a cohesive environment, designed to foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.
Certainly there was the warfighting part of the exercise as the more than 25,000 Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Soldiers and Coast Guardsmen who participated honed their skills—together— as they conducted such activities as live-fire exercises, surface-to-air engagements, amphibious assaults, explosive ordnance disposal, and diving and salvage operations.
Another vital component of the exercise were the shore elements, such as Naval Supply Fleet Logistics Center Pearl Harbor (NAVSUP FLCPH), Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (PHNSY), Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii, Pacific Missile Range Facility and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, who provided critical support in such areas as fueling, supplies and repairs.
A lot of coordination and planning are required to keep such a large fleet of ships and personnel afloat and NAVFAC Hawaii provided electricity, water, sewage, refuse disposal and transportation for the foreign ships. More than $405,000 was charged to foreign ships and subs for utilities and transportation.
Over on the logistics side of the house, NAVSUP FLCPH supported RIMPAC with 29.5 million gallons of fuel, onloaded and offloaded 2,212 pallets, processed 41,976 pounds of mail, expedited 496 pieces of critical material, ordered more than $4 million worth of provisions, and supported 110 helo missions, and more—all in a day’s work.
“RIMPAC 2012 was an absolute success story,” said Capt. Paul Verrastro, commanding officer of NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Center Pearl Harbor. “Planning across the board was extraordinary, and the model set up for logistics worked extremely well,” he said.
In addition to supporting the fleet of ships homeported at Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard completed 14 jobs for foreign shops.
“Our role as maintenance providers enabled RIMPAC ships and their crews to more fully take part in various combat and other exercises,” said Capt. Brian Osgood, Pearl Harbor Navy Shipyard commander.
“In a larger sense, the shipyard’s contribution extended beyond repairs to pieces of equipment. We were also supporting the beginning of new partnerships and the strengthening of existing partnerships among nations, which is in keeping with this RIMPAC’s theme of ‘Capable, Adaptive Partners,’” Osgood said.
With the help of local medical personnel, 307 non-homeport U.S. patients were assisted with such needs as emergency treatment, lab work and dental care, and another 115 foreign patients were treated.
Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Pearl Harbor made sure that the personnel involved in RIMPAC were able to enjoy Hawaii and participate in the many leisure activities that the Aloha State has to offer.
MWR ensured that there were athletics competitions in seven sporting events that pitted athletes of the many nations against each other—all in fun, of course. From start to finish, MWR was “in the game,” taking care of whatever needed to be done—providing officials and scorekeepers, equipment for all of the events, and at the end of the competitions, passing out awards. More than 3,300 RIMPAC participants competed in the sports competitions.
It was up to the staff at MWR to make sure that the RIMPAC visitors had a good time. For example, they planned 84 recreational opportunities utilized by more than 2,000 individuals, processed more than 900 requests for vehicles, hotels and activities, and conducted 42 island tours with MWR buses.
Refreshments were never far away from reach of the visitors with the beverage and food stands located at Hotel Pier and RIM-PAC Central. Some personnel could visit the Chief’s Club “Oceans,” and there were also special events such as a luau and a barbecue.
Revenues that were derived from the various activities translated into beverage sales of $292,000, ITT/Travel Connections that totaled $350,000, and an additional $20,000 from outdoor recre ation and outdoor adventure, according to Frank Faria, MWR director.
The Pearl Harbor Navy Exchange reported approximately a 9 percent increase in daily sales throughout RIMPAC with additional sales of more than $236,000 for RIMPAC merchandise.
All of that hard work and commitment from the shore support activities brought numerous kudos from the visitors from the participating nations.
“Our foreign partners were very grateful for the various services we provided throughout RIMPAC. Every supporting activity received numerous expressions of gratitude from all the ships/subs supported. No matter what the request, shore support was always able to find an answer, provide the service, or offer a alternative solution,” said Lt. Cmdr. Shannon Chong, foreign ship liaison officer for Navy Region Hawaii.
“From comments heard continuously throughout the exercise, all visitors no doubt enjoyed the extended time they were able to spend in Hawaii. Many were impressed with how much JBPHH has to offer from fitness facilities (gyms/ fields), beaches, food establishments, etc.,” Chong added.
With the conclusion of the exercise, it was time to put RIMPAC 2012 into the history books.
“Our Navy concluded a very successful Rim of the Pacific Exercise—the biggest and most comprehensive RIMPAC ever. The Sailors, civilians and family members of region [Navy Region Hawaii] and MID-PAC [Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific] can and should be very proud of their contributions and hard work that made for a successful RIMPAC 2012,” said Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.
“Our ships, guests and visiting dignitaries received the best possible welcome and assistance from our installations. Thank you, Pearl Harbor-Hickam and PMRF—military service members and civilians alike—for your red carpet treatment to our visitors and excellent training support that helped make the exercise so successful,” Ponds said.
Not only was RIMPAC 2012 a huge success story for the U.S. Navy, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam and those who participated in the exercise, but it had a significant impact on the local economy and the state of Hawaii.
“RIMPAC 2012 is in the history books, but our optempo and change of pace here in Hawaii will continue. As CNO Adm. Greenert says, Hawaii is the gateway to all of Asia and beyond. The work you do is strategically important to our Navy and our nation. The Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific team is making a global difference in protecting maritime freedom and preserving peace,” Ponds said.
During a morning news spot Aug. 2 on KHON-TV, Vice Adm. Gerald R. Bea-man, commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet, thanked the state of Hawaii and its citizens. “Aloha and mahalo to the great citizens and state of Hawaii. The first phase of RIMPAC was what we call the harbor phase, close to 12 days of training, socializing and networking. The theme of RIMPAC was “Capable, Adaptive Partners” which included the citizens, state and waters of Hawaii. This was something we stressed from day one of preparation,” Beaman explained
“We value our relationship with Hawaii and the ability to use the waters nearby. I can’t thank the people of Hawaii enough,” he said.