RIMPAC 16 an “Unqualified Success”

The massive Rim of the Pacific 2016 international maritime exercise involving 40 naval vessels, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel from 26 nations has concluded and declared “an unqualified success,” by Vice Adm. Nora Tyson. Tyson, commander of the US Third Fleet and combined task force commander for RIMPAC 16, said the “collaboration and cohesiveness between participants proved that we can operate effectively with our partner nations and that we will be ready in the Pacific if or when we’re called upon,” according to a Pacific Air Forces release. In just over a month of operations on and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California, the participating nations practices a wide range of capabilities ranging from humanitarian relief and maritime security operations to complex warfighting missions including missile and airstrikes and amphibious assaults. Although called the world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC involved US joint forces including Air Force aircraft and special operations forces. The 353rd Special Operations Group led a forcible entry mission in which Air Force MC-130Js air dropped Air Force, Army, and Navy special operators and Marine force reconnaissance specialists, according to an Air Force Special Operations Command release. The 353rd also set up and operated an expeditionary airfield during the exercise.