SAN DIEGO - Commander, Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command (NMAWC), assigned as Task Force Commander 177 in charge of airborne, surface and underwater Mine Countermeasures (MCM) assets, will exercise the mine countermeasures tactics of local and international forces during Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014.
During the exercise, NMAWC will direct the operations of mine countermeasure personnel and units from Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The world's largest international maritime exercise, 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 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
The Commander of NMAWC, Rear Adm. Bill Merz, remarked that the importance of the integrated nature of the exercise cannot be overstated. "Specific platform and unit capabilities are only the start. The ability to combine these individual pieces to effect coherent, effective mission execution is the true challenge - all the more so when working with participants who may not be accustomed to working with each other on a regular basis," he said. "The complex and dynamic RIMPAC operational environment affords each participating nation the opportunity to leverage each other's unique abilities and perspectives in pursuit of a common objective."
NMAWC will be executing the RIMPAC 14 mine countermeasures mission by employing; Australian explosive ordnance disposal personnel and divers, Canadian ships HMCS Nanaimo (MM 702) and HMCS Whitehorse (MM 705) and a Canadian diving element; a Chilean counter mine unit; a Japanese MCM platoon; a Dutch dive team; a New Zealand MCM dive platoon and autonomous underwater vehicle detachment; a Peruvian diving detachment; a maritime ordnance disposal unit from the United Kingdom; and the U.S. participants USS Anchorage (LPD 23), USS Champion (MCM 4), USS Coronado (LCS 4), USS Scout (MCM 8), Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit One, and Explosive Ordnance Disposal Units One and Three.
"Clearing or neutralizing mines is a tough mission," said Merz. "It's not necessarily as fast-paced or visible as some of the other mission areas, but history has proven that if a mine threat is present, everything else in the area stops until that threat has been neutralized. If you understand how unconstrained access to the world's waterways is critical for global commerce and security, then the importance of mine countermeasures quickly becomes apparent. Mines have real 'show-stopper' potential and RIMPAC will strengthen our individual and collective readiness to carry out the MCM mission."
Twenty-two nations, 49 ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise scheduled June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.