Hospital ship USNS Mercy arrives in Hawaii for RIMPAC 2014

The following blog post is the first 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. Participating U.S. Navy ships from MSC will provide logistics support to the 49 surface ships participating in the exercise as well as tow, salvage and diving services.  

USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) arrived Tuesday at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, for the biennial Rim of the Pacific 2014 exercise. This year’s exercise is the first time hospital ships will participate, including Mercy and Chinese hospital ship Peace Ark, also making its RIMPAC debut.

SAN DIEGO (June 16, 2014) USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) transits San Diego Bay as it departs for Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014. Twenty-three nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in the biennial RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1. RIMPAC will take place in and around the Hawaiian Islands and San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Huey D. Younger Jr.)

SAN DIEGO (June 16, 2014) USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) transits San Diego Bay as it departs for Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014. Twenty-three nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in the biennial RIMPAC exercise from June 26 to Aug. 1. RIMPAC will take place in and around the Hawaiian Islands and San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by MC3 Huey D. Younger Jr.)

Mercy will test its civil service mariner crew, Medical Treatment Facility personnel and new tenders with an in-port disaster recovery/humanitarian relief scenario, including the movement of personnel and patients to and from shore.

The new tender boats replace the “Band-Aid” utility boats that became a fixture during the bi-annual Pacific Partnership deployments to South East Asia. They are larger, can accommodate more than 100 passengers and provide better shelter from the elements, giving personnel and patients a more comfortable ride.

USNS Rainier (T-AOE 7), USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187), USNS John Ericsson (T-AO 197), USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52) and USNS Navajo (T-ATF 169) will also join the exercise’s underway phases.

Rainier, Kaiser and Ericsson are slated to refuel U.S. Navy and partner navy ships during the exercise. Salvor and Navajo will tow three decommissioned Navy ships that will be used during several SINKEXs.

“MSC’s participation is a great opportunity for us to logistically support the Navy, and to also train with other countries and to share ideas and to learn from each other,” said Capt. Michael Taylor, commander Military Sealift Command Pacific. “Developing relationships with other countries now, during a peacetime exercise, will help us work together in times of crisis, ensuring our safety and security on the world’s oceans.”

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, 6 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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