PEARL HARBOR (NNS) - Surface Navy and other combatant units participated in the Koa Kai 11-1 exercise in waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands Nov. 12-17.

Koa Kai is the primary integrated training event for the mid-Pacific surface combatant units with the goal of achieving deployment certificates and training.

"This is the fourth, and by far the most robust Koa Kai exercise. There are six surface ships, four submarines, two helicopters, two U.S. P-3 aircraft, one Canadian P-3 aircraft and two unmanned aerial vehicles along with many other commands and staff participating in this exercise," said Capt. Richard Clemmons, commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 31.

Guided-missile destroyers USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), USS Russell (DDG 59) and USS Paul Hamilton (DDG 60), guided missile-cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70) and guided-missile frigate USS Reuben James (FFG 57) participated in the biannual exercise.

Other units that helped support the surface combatant units during Koa Kai included attack submarines USS Cheyenne (SSN 773), USS Tucson (SSN 770) and USS Pasadena (SSN 752); ballistic-missile submarine USS Alabama (SSBN 731); Military Sealift Command oiler USNS Guadalupe (TAO 200); aircraft from Helicopter Squadron Light 37, Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2 and the Royal Canadian Navy; two civilian jet aircraft; and a civil air patrol Cessna 182.

"The purpose of Koa Kai is to conduct warfare and seamanship evolutions that enable ships to transition from unit level basic training to more advanced, integrated training; and to exercise in a multiship environment that includes submarine and aviation forces," said Clemmons. "Koa Kai serves as the primary means by which ships homeported in Hawaii are assessed as ready to perform their core missions in any area of responsibility."

Sailors aboard the ships took part in various exercises during Koa Kai, including visit, board, search and seizure drills, anti-submarine warfare and live-fire ammunition exercises, among others.

"Koa Kai is very effective because it takes advantage of the unique makeup of surface, submarine and air assets based in Hawaii," said Clemmons. "Koa Kai provides a unique opportunity for Hawaii-based ships, submarines and aircraft to operate and train together in the local waters. It allows participants the opportunity to operate together and train as a force rather than as individual units."

Cmdr. David Miller, commanding officer, Reuben James, said that the ship and crew performed well during Koa Kai.

"Reuben James has done a great job during Koa Kai. We enjoy being out here and having the opportunity to work together with the other units," said Miller. "We're actually coming up on a deployment, so this exercise will really cap off our preparation and training."

Koa Kai supports the Pacific Fleet's mid-Pacific surface combatant operational employment program, which calls for all of the Hawaii-based surface combatants to use the strategic location in the Middle Pacific to conduct intermediate and advanced training.

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