The Combat Logistics Force and RIMPAC 2014

The following blog post is the fourth in a series highlighting Military Sealift Command’s role in the 2014 Rim of the Pacific multi-national maritime exercise held in the Hawaiian area of operation. The six participating MSC ships are providing logistics support to the 49 surface ships participating in the exercise as well as tow, salvage and diving services.

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 20, 2014) USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7) and USS Peleliu (LHA 5) conduct an underway replenishment while underway for Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2014. Twenty-two nations, 49 ships and six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. (U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Daniel Viramontes)

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 20, 2014) USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7) and USS Peleliu (LHA 5) conduct an underway replenishment while underway for Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2014. Twenty-two nations, 49 ships and six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. (U.S. Navy photo by MC2 Daniel Viramontes)

As the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise’s underway war games heat up on the waters off the coast of Hawaii, Military Sealift Command is on station supporting the world’s largest, biennial international maritime exercise. Since RIMPAC began June 26, USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187), USNS Ericsson (T-AO 194) and USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7) have delivered the fuel to power the surface and aviation forces, as well as the groceries to sustain ships’ crews during the exercise’s underway period, July 10-25.

MSC is known for its logistics support to ships at sea, but the sheer volume of support makes RIMPAC significant. From July 13-20, the three Combat Logistics Force (CLF) ships delivered more than 3.5 million gallons of diesel ship fuel, nearly 1.4 million gallons of JP5 aviation fuel and 371 pallets of food and supplies to 22 ships. In addition to the delivery of fuel, stores and spare parts, the ships transported personnel between ships via helicopter and served as training platforms for small boat boarding exercises, and helicopter squadrons of various commands.

Safety is paramount for the crew, the customer and the ocean environment during operations. For this reason, the Navy ensures each underway replenishment event is carefully planned and coordinated, along with training for the crews and plenty of rest time between shifts on deck. With the large number of foreign navy customers working with the CLF ships, good communications becomes critical. 

“The most vital part of any military or civilian operation is communication,” said Capt. Anthony Boudine, Ericsson’s civil service master. “Working with foreign maritime forces does present unique challenges that require adjustment on our part. Various alternative communications methods are used to relay information, especially when engaged in real time operations. Safety is paramount, especially with so many ships of different nations all engaged and conducting various operations within close proximity.”

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 8, 2014) Quartermaster Seaman Wahshemi Walters signals to the bridge as USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) pulls alongside USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187). (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Timothy Schumaker)

PACIFIC OCEAN (July 8, 2014) Quartermaster Seaman Wahshemi Walters signals to the bridge as USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) pulls alongside USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187). (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Timothy Schumaker)

Logistics isn’t limited to the ships at sea. On the ground, the MSC Pacific Combat Logistic Office coordinated the acquisition and movement of all the cargo needs for the entire exercise. MSCPAC CLO serves as the principle integrator between fleet planners and logistics partners to support loading and delivery of at-sea requirements. Working in concert with Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet and Commander Task Force 173, the MSCPAC CLOcoordinates not only the delivery of food and stores, but also the pierside time at the correct pier for the loadouts of cargo to the specific ships scheduled for resupply at sea. 

“RIMPAC is a great challenge for us as a logistics team,” explained Cmdr. Louis Costa, MSCPAC CLO. “With so many deliveries, going so many places on various ships, there are a lot of moving parts and things that can get missed. It really takes a team to make a success and to make sure nothing is missed.”

Military Sealift Command support to RIMPAC operations will continue throughout the end of exercise in early August.

RIMPAC 2014 is a multinational maritime exercise that takes place in and around the Hawaiian Islands. Hosted by U.S. Pacific Fleet, this year marks the 24th RIMPAC exercise that began in 1971. Twenty-three nations, 49 surface ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate including units from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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