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July 19, 2012
CMDR Fenn Kemp
THE largest maritime exercise
in the world, Exercise Rim of
the Pacific (RIMPAC), has been
launched from Pearl Harbor,
Twenty-two countries are
involved in this year's exercise,
including about 1100 Australian
sailors, soldiers, airmen and
Navy is being represented by
HMA Ships Darwin, Perth and
Farncomb, Seahawk helicopters
Air Force's Orion and
Wedgetail aircraft are in action,
while Army's 1st Battalion, Royal
Australian Regiment, will also
All up, 40 surface ships, six
submarines, more than 200 aircraft
and 25,000 personnel will partici-
pate.Units from Australia, Canada,
Chile, France, Japan, Mexico,
New Zealand, South Korea,
Russia, Singapore and the US will
participate, along with military
personnel from Colombia, India,
Indonesia, Malaysia, Netherlands,
Norway, Peru, Philippines,
Thailand, Tonga and the UK.
Training will involve gunnery,
missile, anti-submarine and air-
defence exercises as well as mari-
time interdiction and vessel board-
ings, explosive ordnance disposal,
diving and salvage operations,
mine clearance operations and
Commander Combined Force
Maritime Component CDRE
Stuart Mayer is responsible for the
coordination of maritime forces.
"This is the only place in the
world where we can exercise com-
plex war fighting in such an envi-
ronment," he said.
"The opportunity to fire weap-
ons on instrumented ranges to
operate with many of the other
like-minded nations in the Asia-
Pacific region is not something
that we can recreate in Australia.
"It's unique, it's very cost-
effective and it's something our
people can come back from with
unique experiences both profes-
sionally and socially."
The crew of HMAS Farncomb
is preparing to test itself in a real-
istic warfare scenario after travel-
ling 7000 nautical miles to get to
For many sailors on board, this
is their first experience of an exer-
cise of this importance and size.
CO Farncomb CMDR Glen
Miles said for some of his crew it
was also their first time in Hawaii.
"They will see and do things
here that they will remember
for their whole careers," CMDR
"Being a participant in the big-
gest version of what is already the
world's largest maritime exercise
is a great feeling.
"The interaction with each of
the 22 countries cements a friend-
ship that will last well into times
The variety of subma-
rines exercising alongside the
Australians is also critical and will
give Farncomb vital experience.
South Korea has sent Type
209 Na Daeyong, Canada has sent
HMCS Victoria and the US con-
tribution consists of USS North
Carolina, USS Charlotte and USS
"We all relish the idea of being
the 'bad guys' throughout this
exercise," CMDR Miles said.
"The relative independence of
submarines, operating far from
home without support, and the
disproportionate effects that a
submarine can generate on even
a very large, well-equipped force
makes this job the best there is."
CMDR Miles also paid tribute
to his American hosts.
"Our host boat, USS North
Carolina, has been outstanding.
The hospitality has been over-
whelming," he said.
"The level of support and pro-
fessionalism of USN submariners
is legendary, and everything we've
seen confirms that."
Aloha, we've arrived
HELLO HAWAII: HMAS Farncomb arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to
participate in RIMPAC. Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ronald Gutridge, US Navy
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