Memphis, Tenn. Native Participates In World’s Largest International Maritime Warfare Exercise
by Navy Office of Community Outreach
A 2005 Trezevant High School graduate and Memphis, Tennessee native is serving in the U.S. Navy and is participating in the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC).
Petty Officer 1st Class Brandon Young is a career counselor aboard USS William P. Lawrence, currently operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
A Navy career counselor is responsible for providing career guidance to the over 300 sailors on board.
“My educated expectations of RIMPAC are to mentor my shipmates and meet other countries’ navies,” said Young.
According to Navy officials, RIMPAC 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. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
The theme of RIMPAC 2016 is “Capable, Adaptive, Partners,” Navy officials explained. 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 program 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.
The Department of the Navy’s Great Green Fleet yearlong initiative will also play a major role in RIMPAC. The initiative highlights global operations using energy conservation measures and alternative fuel blends to demonstrate how optimizing energy use increases resiliency and operational readiness. During RIMPAC, almost all participating units will operate using an approved alternate-fuel blend.
26 nations, 45 surface ships, 5 submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise. This year’s exercise includes forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“We are wrapping up a deployment. We’ve conducted exercises with many foreign navies and this pulls it all together. This is a capstone event for our 7th Fleet deployment,” said Cmdr. Walter C. Mainor the Commanding Officer aboard USS William P. Lawrence. “Our visit to Hawaii has been well-deserved rest and relaxation for our crew. Our most important asset is our sailors, and the job they do day in and day out is so important. The average age onboard is 25 and the expectations we have for them are so great. They just continue to exceed them.”
“This is a great tour as a Navy counselor underway,” said Young. “It’s more challenging communicating with shore commands to ensure everyone is accounted for in their careers.”
Challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Young explained. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.
“I’ve learned I can do much more than I thought,” said Young. “We are away from our families. That alone is not as tough as it used to be.”
Additional information about Rim of the Pacific Exercise is available at http://www.cpf.navy.mil/rimpac/