By Karen S. Spangler, Managing Editor, Ho`okele
RIMPAC has arrived. Welcome to our friends from 22 Pacific area nations Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, People’s Republic of China, Peru, Republic of Korea, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Tonga and United Kingdom currently here in the Hawaiian Islands to participate in Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercises 2014 with the United States Navy.
This is the 24th year since 1971 that the RIMPAC participants have converged on Hawaii for the multi-national maritime exercise.
Although the duration of time that the RIMPAC participants will spend here in the islands is brief only about a month the joint exercise will help them to hone their warfighting skills, test their capabilities, and practice a variety of scenarios that will foster and sustain cooperative relationships.
Through it all, approximately 25,000 military personnel will have the opportunity to improve communication and team-work, develop even better cooperation with other RIMPAC allies, and establish solid military relationships and friendships with other nations from the Rim of the Pacific.
The show of international presence integrates 49 surface ships and the might of the aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan, along with six submarines and more than 200 aircraft. But although RIMPAC is all about improving multi-national cooperation and inter-operability between allies on the high seas and in a combat scenario, it also affords numerous opportunities to build friendships and camaraderie among nations.
It offers the chance for some stiff, but friendly competition in sports and athletic events. It provides the chance for RIMPAC participants to learn about each other’s countries and cultures. And, since it all takes place here in paradise, it gives those of us who live here the opportunity to extend to our visitors the spirit of aloha and ohana for which Hawaii is well-known.
Hopefully, while they are here for RIMPAC, our visitors from many nations will have the chance to try a snorkeling or scuba diving adventure or just relax on a sunny beach overlooking the azure waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Maybe they will enjoy a climb to a perch on Diamond Head high above Waikiki. Perhaps they will take advantage of the varied music venues at the island’s popular nightspots.
And, certainly, they will have many chances to appease their taste buds with a variety of foods from many cultures our very untypical “local” cuisine.
But mostly, we hope that they will return to their native countries with pleasant memories of time spent in a paradise in the middle of the blue Pacific imbued with the welcoming spirit and hospitality from this land of aloha.
As we foster a spirit of cooperation and communication between our allied nations, we also extend our sincerest welcome.Aloha to our RIMPAC friends!