PEARL HARBOR (NNS) - Training exercise Koa Kai 11-1 concluded Nov. 17, saving the Navy both time and money by keeping participating surface combatants in the middle Pacific area of responsibility instead of training off the coast of San Diego.

"There are significant savings associated with ships homeported in Hawaii accomplishing their integrated training locally, instead of off the west coast of the United States," said Capt. Richard Clemmons, commander of Destroyer Squadron 31. "Although we have not determined the exact dollar amount, it is fairly significant, as ships homeported in Hawaii previously had to sail to San Diego for approximately four to six weeks to obtain this level of integrated training."

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

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

"Since there isn't any need to go to and from the west coast of the United States to train, those transit days can now be used for more in-depth local ship training," Clemmons said. "The fact that the ships can now conduct this training right here in the local Hawaii operating area provides a significant savings."

Clemmons also said Koa Kai allows Sailors more time to spend with their families without sacrificing any required training evolutions.

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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