Four Hawaii-based Coast Guard units concluded operations contributing to the largest Coast Guard participation in the history of RIMPAC and return to service of the residents of Hawaii and the Pacific region, Aug. 4, 2022.
U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Midgett and William Hart, the Pacific Dive Locker, and Maritime Safety and Security Team Honolulu partnered with military members from Australia, Peru, Republic of Korea, Canada, France, and Japan throughout the in-port and at-sea portions of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022, which ran from late June to early August. The exercise marked a series of “firsts” for Coast Guard participation.
Coast Guard Cutter Midgett conducted a broad spectrum of operations with the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Ship Izumo, the USS Chafee, USS Gridley, French Navy Frigate FS Prairial, and Peruvian Navy BAP Guise. The combined team of Midgett, William Hart, Izumo, and USS Essex completed RIMPAC’s first mass rescue operation, successfully partnering to find, recover, and provide medical assistance to ten simulated people in the water.
Following RIMPAC, Midgett’s crew will depart on a western Pacific patrol to build on the regional partnerships demonstrated here and conduct international training and fisheries law enforcement. William Hart’s crew will conduct necessary maintenance, complete training, and resume their role as a standby search-and-rescue asset for vessels in distress in the waters around Hawaii, a role she shares with the other two fast response cutters in Honolulu, Cutter Joseph Gerczak and Cutter Oliver Berry.
This year’s RIMPAC featured the first Coast Guard-led humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise. The exercise tested reopening a harbor that had been struck by a simulated hurricane. A boat crew from Coast Guard MSST Honolulu partnered with underwater survey teams from the U.S. and Royal Australian Navies to conduct underwater scans of Honolulu Harbor to identify hidden hazards. After that, divers from the Coast Guard Pacific Dive Locker collaborated with divers from the U.S. Army and Republic of Korea Navy to remove the hazards and practice maintaining aids to navigation underwater.
Following RIMPAC, the Pacific Diver Locker will focus on training and preparations for annual safety inspections and provide support to local Coast Guard assets and aids to navigation missions. MSST Honolulu will conclude Operation Koa Moana in Palau, a collaboration with U.S. Marines assigned to I Marine Expeditionary Force and Palau Maritime Force conducting law enforcement subject matter expertise exchange to strengthen and enhance relationships between the U.S. and partner nations/states in the Indo-Pacific Region while remaining COVID-19 safe. MSST Honolulu crews will also provide security and safety zones at Seattle Sea Fair, the Kaneohe Bay Air Show, and ongoing operations at the Southwest Border Maritime Boundary Line.
“This was an incredible opportunity to work alongside our partners in the Blue Pacific to strengthen our relationships,” said Coast Guard 14th District Commander Rear Adm. Michael Day. “Our ability to come together for RIMPAC 22, in person, has helped reconnect within and beyond the region. It is through those connections and relationships that we will move forward to bolster impactful engagement opportunities.”
Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, three submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.