Monday, June 28, 2010

wishing i was there...

USS Ronald Reagan Arrives in Hawaii for RIMPAC 2010
By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Aaron Stevens

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii — USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) arrived in Naval Base Pearl Harbor, Hawaii June 28 to participate in the 22nd Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise with allied navies.

The exercise, first held in 1971, is the largest maritime event in the world comprised of 14 navies, 34 ships, five submarines, over 100 aircraft and 20,000 personnel. USS Ronald Reagan is the sole aircraft carrier participating.

“USS Ronald Reagan is a key component of RIMPAC 2010,” said Capt. Kenneth J. Norton, Commanding Officer of USS Ronald Reagan. “The ability to have an aircraft carrier and carrier air wing as part of a combined coalition task force is of great benefit to the varied naval units participating.”

During the in port phase of RIMPAC, officers and crew of the 14 participating navies interact in receptions, meetings and athletic events. While in Hawaii, the Ronald Reagan crew will take advantage of many exciting tour packages offered through the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) department.

“My plan is to go to a luau or two, do some tours and souvenir shopping,” said Chief Aviation Ordnanceman (AW/SW) Royce Cormier. “I’m looking forward to parasailing. I haven’t done it before, so it’s a real treat.”

Even though there will be time for kicking off shoes at the beach, a major focus of this visit is for Ronald Reagan Sailors to mingle with crewmembers of participating navies to include Australia, Canada, Chile, Columbia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Peru, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Thailand.

“This port visit isn’t used like other ports as a breather for the crew,” said Chief Aviation Electronics Technician (AW/SW) Aaron Mitcheltree. “It’s a by-product of the reason we’re pulling in, which is to build relationships with other countries. It will be nice to talk to other foreign sailors about the differences and build camaraderie between the different countries so they realize how alike we really are. They will also get to see the little ways we conduct business differently.”

For some Ronald Reagan Sailors, like Cormier, this isn’t the first RIMPAC they’ve participated in.

“It’s a different battle group and different nations,” said Cormier. “Each time we have a RIMPAC, it seems like the importance gets higher than the years past. I have no doubt that Ronald Reagan will surpass the previous ones.”

According to Norton, each Ronald Reagan Sailor understands his/her individual role in the coalition building that is one of the cornerstones of RIMPAC exercises.

“Working with 13 other navies in these realistic scenarios makes our Navy better across the spectrum,” said Norton. “While sharpening our skills we make lasting friendships. We are happy to be here.”

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