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RIMPAC 2012 Enters Final Week of Exercises

RIMPAC 2012 is scheduled to officially end it’s exercises in the Pacific Ocean around the Hawaii Islands on August 3rd.  The other day this shot was posted on the RIMPAC Facebook page:

Ships and submarines participating in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise 2012 sail in formation in the waters around the Hawaiian islands. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Keith Devinney/RELEASED)

Related articles

RIMPAC – F-16 & F-15 Aerial Refuelings – in Hi Def!

A KC-135 Stratotanker from the 465th Air Refueling Squadron, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., refuels F-16 Fighting Falcons with the 144th Fighter Wing, California Air National Guard and F-15 Eagles from the 120th Fighter Wing, Great Falls, Montana, in support of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).

The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/I-oxFgxF14o]

Produced by TSgt. Pedro Jimenez – 2nd Combat Camera Sq. Also available in High Definition.

NAVY Releases Information on Sailor That Fell Off the USS Essex During RIMPAC Training

On Wednesday I got to go out to the Military Transport Ship the USS Essex during some of the 2012 RIMPAC exercises and I mentioned that a sailor had fallen off the ship and was injured.

A flare marks where the sailor fell in

Well I’ve been watching the news reports and statements from the US Navy and it’s been like they have been completely mum on the incident.

Today I sent the following email off to the folks at RIMPAC:

On Wednesday, July 18th, I was invited aboard the USS Essex while it was based off of the Big Island of Hawaii.  I happened to witness part of the rescue and was literally about 200 feet away from where the Sailor fell over board, although I myself didn’t see him fall over… I immediately saw the sailors react to the situation and I’m glad they eventually were able to find the guy out in the ocean.

When he was brought back to the ship… he was tied down to a gurney and obviously was injured.  I have written briefly about the incident on my website here:

http://mauinotices.com/2012/07/18/man-overboard-sailor-falls-off-navy-ship-uss-essex-during-rimpac-exercises/

I was wondering what the official statement from the NAVY is on this incident and if possible… the name and rank of the sailor that did fall overboard and what his current medical condition is.

Sincerely,
Damon Tucker

I got the following response from the NAVY today:

Damon,
On July 18 a US service member was successfully rescued within minutes after falling overboard from USS ESSEX. Crew witnessed the service member fall overboard and responded immediately according to established procedures. The servicemember was recovered aboard a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) by a rescue swimmer, returned to ESSEX and was treated for a minor injury by ship’s medical personnel.

Due to privacy considerations, we are not disclosing identifying information of the service member.

-CDR Charlie Brown, US Navy
RIMPAC spokesperson

Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Ray Mabus, Discusses the U.S. Navy’s Green Fleet

Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Ray Mabus, discusses the U.S. Navy’s green fleet during the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2012 exercise.

Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Ray Mabus

RIMPAC 2012 is the world’s largest international maritime exercise, including twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel, and provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/93ua6YkfLw4]

RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy video by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Paul Seeber/Released)

MAN OVERBOARD – Sailor Falls Off Navy Ship USS Essex During RIMPAC Exercises

Yesterday I asked what that strange looking vehicle was that landed on Kawaihae Harbor.  Today, I learned first hand what it was and how it is used as I got invited to go out to the US Navy’s High-Tech Transport for the Marines the USS Essex (LHD-2).

I arrived at Kawaihae Harbor around 9:00 in the morning and there was one Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) already at the harbor.

A LCAC with deflated pontoons.

It had already unloaded vehicles that were on a convoy up to Pohakuloa Training Grounds.

After a few minutes and talking to a few folks around the area, I learned that another LCAC was coming in with live ammunition.

A 2nd LCAC arrives

These LCAC are amphibious and can go on both water and land!

[youtube=http://youtu.be/to7kQSBDCcw]

Because of the nature of the volatility of ammunition… they really take their time when it comes to loading and unloading it.

After they unloaded the ammunition it was time to go out to the USS Essex which was based about 12 miles off the Big Island.

All Aboard!

After about a 15 minute ride on the LCAC where they allowed me to sit in the bridge, we arrived at the USS Essex and we literally entered the belly of the ship between two pontoons.

Entering!

Everything was going as planned and all of the drivers of the next convoy came down to the vehicle storage space to prepare to load for the next LCAC departure.

Drivers

I had slipped on the deck and cut my hand a little bit so I asked to use the bathroom and was escorted up to the upper deck of the ship.  As we were going back down to the lower part of the ship… all these sailors started running around and then the ship came to a sudden stop!

I heard a bunch of military jargon come on over the ships loudspeaker and then by the reaction of all the sailors on the ship… I knew immediately what happened… as a sailor had fallen overboard.

An opening on the ship

I overheard many sailors running around saying “Man Overboard! Man Overboard”… and I knew that this was the real thing and not just a drill as the look on the face of my escort just turned pale and he didn’t know what to tell me other then yes… someone did just fall overboard.

Another opening in the Essex

They have a very set protocol on what happens when a sailor does fall overboard and I later found out that the last time someone fell overboard on the USS Essex was over 12-13 years ago!  I took this one and only picture because I didn’t know that I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of the incident until after I took this picture.

Smoke flares helps locate folks who have fallen overboard.

The Navy was obviously well prepared for something like this happening because within just a few minutes after he was in the water…. they had a search and rescue helicopter in the air looking for him as well as boats in the water as well.

It took about 10 minutes to locate him in the water and the helicopter circled overhead and then dropped in a specialist to rescue him from the water.

Unfortunately when they brought him back aboard the ship he was on a gurney and it looked like he may have gotten injured.

Getting ready to leave the ship

I’m pretty sure they really didn’t want something like this happening while someone like myself was on the ship… but hey, things happen and I’m glad they were well prepared for the real thing when it did happen.  That is why you train!!!

In the cargo area of the USS Essex

I was only suppose to be on the Essex for a little while… but with the guy falling overboard… I think I was the last thing they were worried about!  After they located the sailor they loaded up another LCAC with equipment and I got on that one for the journey back to the harbor.

Heading home view from above in the bridge of the LCAC

I’d like to thank the US Navy for giving me this chance to check out the operations going on first-hand.  I’d also like to personally thank Lt. Amber Lewis for the hospitality aboard the ship… and for hooking me up w/ another coin for my collection!

US Navy coin #8!

Here is some general information about the USS Essex:

And here is a bit of history about the Essex:

RIMPAC 2012 to Begin on June 29th

Twenty-two nations, 42 ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise scheduled June 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

A picture I took when the US NAVY sent me out to the USS Ronald Reagan Aircraft Carrier.
http://mauinotices.com/2011/02/05/happy-birthday-ronald-reagan-inside-the-ronald-reagan-room/dscn4637-3/

The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971.

Hosted by U.S. Pacific Fleet, and led by Vice Adm. Gerald Beaman, commander of the U.S. Third Fleet (C3F), RIMPAC 2012 marks the first time non-U.S. officers will command components of the combined task force during the exercise. Commodore Stuart Mayer of the Royal Australian Navy will command the Maritime Component and Brig. Gen. Michael Hood of the Royal Canadian Air Force will command the Air Component. Other key leaders of the multinational force include Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Ron Lloyd, deputy commander of the Combined Task Force (CTF), and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Rear Adm. Fumiyuki Kitagawa, vice commander of the CTF.

The theme of RIMPAC 2012 is “Capable, Adaptive, Partners.” The participating nations and forces will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting. The relevant, realistic training syllabus includes amphibious operations; gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises as well as counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage operations.

RIMPAC 2012 will feature the first demonstration of a U.S. Navy “Great Green Fleet,” during which U.S. surface combatants and carrier-based aircraft will test, evaluate and demonstrate the cross-platform utility and functionality of biofuels. This demonstration will also incorporate prototype energy efficiency initiatives such as solid state lighting, on-line gas turbine waterwash and energy management tools.

This year’s exercise includes units or personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Details of RIMPAC activities and imagery are available at http://www.cpf.navy.mil/rimpac.