Military Sealift Command Reservist Provide Support During RIMPAC 2018

Reservists from Military Sealift Command Pacific’s headquarters unit, MSCPAC Hawaii Detachment, and Expeditionary Port Unit 114 and 115, as well as ship service officers from Strategic Sealift Unit 310 (SSU) are supporting RIMPAC by providing maritime logistics support to Commander, Task Group 173.1. Capt. Brett Hershman is commander MSCPAC and commander CTG 173.1. As his on-station representatives to RIMPAC, these reservists are providing comprehensive planning and coordination for each replenishment-at-sea conducted during the exercise for all 46 participating surface ships. This includes arranging berthing space for ships in port, loading fuel and stores, and coordinating rendezvous locations and times.

At sea, MSC Cargo Afloat Rig Teams (CART) from East Coast Team One are at the center of at-sea logistics operations in support of the exercise. The 13-man CARTs are on the decks of MSC’s fleet replenishment oilers USNS Henry J. Kaiser (T-AO 187) and USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204), training and working hand-in-hand with the civil service mariner crews in order to meet the huge underway replenishment challenges of keeping the ships of 25 participating nations supplied and moving.

Each RIMPAC exercise presents its own series of challenges, and this year has been no exception. Changing schedules, individual ships’ various needs, and the overall mission rhythm keeps the Reservists, serving at the Pacific Warfighting Center on Ford Island, on constant watch. For Cmdr. Ralph Hulbert, the executive officer of SSU 310, a huge factor his team works through is how to navigate the inherent language and understanding barriers when working with 25 different countries.

“As a group, the U.S. Navy throws around terms and acronyms at lightning speed,” said Hulbert. “We really have to slow down and make sure the other side understands what we are saying and how to carry out the instructions. “It has been important for us to realize how the U.S. Navy does something isn’t always the way other navies do things. We have to realize that and to take a look at the way the other navies do things and what is important to them.”
According to Hulbert, who is participating in his third RIMPAC, Reservists, especially those who have participated in other exercises, bring a deep of experience and knowledge.

“We have depth on the bench and a vast level of knowledge that we have learned in both our experiences within the Navy and in our civilian jobs,” said Hulbert. “We are ready to get in the game and provide our support and to keep the ships moving.”

Twenty-five nations, 46 surface ships, five submarines, 17 land forces, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial RIMPAC exercise scheduled June 27 to Aug. 2.

This year’s exercise includes forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam.

As the world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity designed to foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s interconnected oceans. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971.


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