USS ANCHORAGE, At Sea (NNS) -- Amphibious transport dock USS Anchorage (LPD 23) set sail to participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014, July 10.
Anchorage is acting as the afloat sea-base, supporting Cmdr. Max Muller, the commander of Task Group 177.1. Anchorage is also serving as the operating platform for the multinational mine countermeasures group that includes airborne mine countermeasures, underwater vehicles, divers, and marine mammals. Anchorage's crew of more than 400 will join the additional 400 personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, and the United Kingdom.
In preparation for RIMPAC, Anchorage's crew ensured everything from berthing to food was in place to ensure embarked partner nation participants felt welcomed, acclimated and integrated into the ship's company and mission during RIMPAC.
"I'm most excited about the international collaboration," said Cmdr. Joel Stewart, Anchorage's commanding officer. "I think our global success is going to rely heavily upon those partnerships and team-building exercises between nations. Being able to embark the multinational forces that we have... helps build those bonds that we'll carry off into the future."
Anchorage Sailors are excited for RIMPAC too, because most of the missions are new for a majority of the crew.
"I really want to talk to the Japanese and see what the difference is between our Navy and their Navy," said Operations Specialist 3rd Class Jordan Beaty. "I've also heard that we're supposed to do some kind of stealth exercise, I'm really excited about that."
Anchorage was commissioned in May 2013 and this is the ship's first time participating in RIMPAC.
"I think Anchorage, as a newly commissioned ship, is a great place to start and get our crew integrated in the fleet," said Stewart. "We've come in a big way and proved that, even though we haven't done a maiden deployment yet, Anchorage is a force multiplier and will certainly bring a lot of value to Third Fleet or anywhere else the Navy needs the ship to conduct its mission.
Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 - Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2014 is the 24th exercise in the series that began in 1971.