Special operations forces practice submarine insertion

Multinational special operations forces (SOF) participate in a submarine insertion exercise with the fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776) and combat rubber raiding craft off the coast of Oahu during RIMPAC, July 9.

Story and photo by MC1 Daniel Hinton

COMSUBPAC Public Affairs

Members of the multinational special operations forces (SOF) supporting the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise participated in a submarine insertion evolution at sea off the coast of Oahu, July 9.

Service members from the United States, Republic of Korea, Republic of the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Peru and Japan participated in the event designed to enhance each country’s maritime interoperability.

“The main purpose of RIMPAC is to bring countries together and build partnerships,” said Cmdr. John C. Roussakies, commanding officer of the Virginia-class fast-attack submarine USS Hawaii (SSN 776).

“Developing that interoperability is important because it’s a big ocean out there, and we cannot do the job ourselves.”

The submarine Hawaii, using a reconfigured torpedo room, transported approximately 30 multinational SOF operators to a debarkation point off the coast of Oahu.

“It sounds like it should be easy, but it’s a lot of work,” Roussakies said.

“It took five to six sailors to carry each raft onto the sub, and the vessel will be ‘rocking and rolling’ on the surface.”

SOF personnel used the submarine’s lockout chamber to exit the ship, inflate rigid hull inflatable boats, and make an amphibious landing.

“For some of our partner-nation special operators, submarine evolutions like today were new,” said Army Capt. Matthew Song, detachment commander of Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha from 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group based out of Okinawa, Japan.

“We rehearsed the day before, and that set us up for success because they executed pretty well today.”

Song said dry dock launches like these are essential because it provides critical standoff distance for our special operators during maritime operations.

“At the end of the day RIMPAC is about partnerships, everything that we are doing is purposely designed so that we can operate together wit hour partners,” Song said.

“The relationships we are building today are important, and we hope to maintain them so that when there is a problem, we can all come together to solve it.”

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Category: News