- Seven Hawaii-homeported surface ships and two San Diego-based surface ships will participate in the integrated maritime exercise Koa Kai 14-1 near Hawaii starting Jan. 24 and continuing through Jan. 31.
"Koa Kai," Hawaiian for "Sea Warrior," prepares independent deployers in multiple warfare areas, while also providing training in a multi-ship environment. Participating units will conduct integrated flight operations, anti-surface and anti-submarine training.
The San Diego-based ships USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) will join Hawaii-based ships in the exercise, led by U.S. Third Fleet.
"Koa Kai provides an opportunity to exercise multiple warfare disciplines to ensure our ships maintain warfighting readiness and the capability to operate forward on short notice," said Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific and Navy Region Hawaii. "Koa Kai is integrated, challenging, state-of-the-art training for our sea warriors here in the Middle Pacific that helps us achieve full deployment readiness."
Williams added, "We will show, test and assess our capabilities in coordination with the Navy's premier testing and training range - Pacific Missile Range Facility."
Cape St. George and Lake Champlain join the Hawaii-based guided-missile cruisers USS Port Royal (CG 73), USS Lake Erie (CG 70), and USS Chosin (CG 65), and the guided-missile destroyers USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), USS Halsey (DDG 97), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), and USS O'Kane (DDG 77) - along with the underway replenishment ship HMCS Protecteur from Canada and assets from Commander, Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet; Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 37; Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 2; VMFA-224, 24 Maritime Air Group, Hawaii Air National Guard, and 25th Combat Aviation Brigade.
Capt. Chris Bushnell, commander of Destroyer Squadron 31, said, "We're extremely pleased with the level of commitment from the Joint commands on island to support Koa Kai 14-1. Hawaii Air National Guard (USAF) together with VMFA-224 (USMC) are providing our fixed wing component while MAG-24 (USMC) and 25th CAB (USA) are each providing variants of helicopters for surface, subsurface and air defense events throughout Koa Kai. The participation of all the supporting commands will add great value and depth to the exercise and promises to be a significant stepping stone for future Koa Kai exercises," he added.
Hawaii-based surface combatants regularly deploy to the Asia Pacific region and often train with international partners while on deployment. Koa Kai 14-1 marks only the second time San Diego-based ships will participate in this exercise. Koa Kai demonstrates support to U.S. Pacific Fleet's commitment to forward readiness, and prepares Middle Pacific ships to meet current and future challenges as part of the rebalance to the Indo-Asia-Pacific.
Leading the naval forces in the Eastern Pacific from the West Coast of North America to the international dateline, U.S. 3rd Fleet provides realistic, relevant training necessary for an effective global Navy.