Canada Department of National Defence, August 18, 2010 - By LCdr Nathalie Garcia - After completing the month-long training off the Hawaiian Islands, Canadian Forces sailors, soldiers, and airmen and women return to port – tired but proud of their accomplishments as part of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2010 exercise.
The world’s largest maritime exercise officially ended on August 1 after an intense training schedule that brought together forces from 14 nations with an interest in the Rim of the Pacific.
“I am truly pleased with the success of this exercise,” said Rear-Admiral Ron Lloyd, the maritime component commander. “The challenging scenarios have allowed Canadian Forces personnel to gain the skills they need to work with other nations, be it in a humanitarian role, as part of counter-piracy operations or in combat operations should it be required. No other maritime exercise can claim better training areas or better results.”
Canadian participation in the exercise included HMCS Calgary and HMCS Algonquin, each with an embarked CH-124 Sea King detachment, as well as a 14-man dive team from the Fleet Diving Unit (Pacific) that conducted both mine warfare and explosive ordnance disposal.
The Air Force sent two CP-140 Aurora aircraft from 19 Wing Comox, B.C., with crews from Comox and 14 Wing Greenwood, N. S., and a CC-130 Hercules air-to-air refuelling aircraft from 17 Wing Winnipeg, Man.
The Aurora long range patrol aircraft practiced anti-submarine skills, working alongside their Korean, Japanese, Australian and U.S. counterparts.
“The exercise has been very good from a number of standpoints,” said Major Brent Vaino, the officer commanding the deployed 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron.
“Anti-submarine warfare training is very hard to come by so to have an exercise where you have a number of submarines deployed as targets is a bit of a rarity. It’s also been really good to operate with such a large naval force which a lot of are troops have never have the chance to do.”
More than 130 Canadian soldiers from 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment also participated as part of multinational amphibious force, and dozens of personnel were assigned to key positions in support of all three elements.
“All of the Canadian participants were integral members of the combined forces either at sea, in the air or as part of the staff,” said Captain(N) Gilles Couturier, the director of the Maritime Operation Centre. “Each had a key role in the planning and execution of an extraordinarily complex scenario.”
The CF participation in the exercise dates to 1971 when the exercise brought together ships from Australia, Canada and the U.S. Since then, however, the biennial exercise has grown into a truly multinational event, joining air, land and maritime elements from around the world.
“Working in a coalition setting has its challenges,” said Commander Andy Muir, the current operations director for the Combined Forces Maritime Component. “Even when we use the same words, our interpretation may vary. Bringing everyone to agree on processes and terminology wasn’t easy but it’s much better to practice this now than in a real world setting.”
The exercise followed a tiered training schedule. The first three weeks was dedicated to honing individual and unit level skills, followed by a week of force integration training, involving more than 20,000 personnel. The final phase pitted the newly trained combined force against a fictitious foe in an elaborately developed scenario designed to challenge the entire force.
RIMPAC 2010 included forces from Australia, Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Peru, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.