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Pacific Reach exercise hones regional submarine rescue skills

08 November 2019

From MC2 Thomas Gooley, Submarine Squadron 11

The multilateral exercise, sponsored by the Asian Pacific Submarine Conference, aims to to build regional trust and confidence in operating rescue systems.

ROCKINGHAM, Australia - The 10th iteration of Exercise Pacific Reach (PACREACH) kicked off at the Fleet West Base in Western Australia, Nov. 4.

PACREACH is a triennial, multilateral submarine rescue exercise, sponsored by the Asian Pacific Submarine Conference. The exercise aims to demonstrate regional submarine abandonment and escape rescue capabilities by conducting simulated submarine rescue missions utilizing the Submarine Rescue Diving Recompression System and Pressurized Rescue Module.

“The key objectives of this exercise are to build trust and confidence in our ability to operate our systems together in times of crisis,” said Cmdr. Gary Lawton of the Australian Navy, exercise director for PACREACH 2019.

Principal partners include Sailors assigned to Submarine Squadron 11’s Undersea Rescue Command, Republic of Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Australia and Singapore.

"Pacific Reach is a critically important exercise that allows us to train on how to immediately respond to a disabled submarine," said Cmdr. John Babick, Submarine Squadron 11’s deputy commander for undersea rescue. "It takes the effort and cooperation of several nations to perform a timely rescue, and in order to execute they must work together. We are excited to be here, developing and furthering relationships with the international submarine community."

Beginning in 1996, participating nations have alternated hosting the PACREACH exercise. This year’s exercise is scheduled to run through Nov. 15, with the focus on promoting proficiency and interoperability.

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