SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- The multinational exercise Rim of the Pacific Southern California 2016 kicked off June 30, occurring in and around Southern California through Aug. 4.
RIMPAC is the world's largest international maritime exercise and provides a unique training opportunity helping participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans.
RIMPAC SOCAL 2016 participants, Royal Canadian navy's Kingston-class coastal defense vessels HMCS Saskatoon (MM 709) and HMCS Yellowknife (MM 706) and Mexican navy tank landing ship ARM Usumacinta (A-412), arrived at Naval Base San Diego June 28 and 29.
RIMPAC SOCAL, helmed for the first time by Naval Surface Mine Warfare Development Center (SMWDC), allows U.S. and partner nation participants to train together with sea and shore based commands. Participants will receive relevant and realistic training in amphibious operations, explosive ordnance disposal, mine warfare countermeasures and dive operations.
"This year's evolution is a significant increase from RIMPAC 2014," said Rear Adm. Jim Kilby, SMWDC commander. "This will be the first year that RIMPAC SOCAL will execute amphibious operations within Southern California and the first time that the Mexican navy will participate with an amphibious ship. The intent of RIMPAC SOCAL is to develop capable, adaptive partners and with the work of the Sailors involved, I am confident that they will exceed expectations."
Additional training, led by the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, will focus on amphibious assaults, non-combatant evacuation operations, combined-arms training and Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) operations.
Partner nations' ships will be joined by U.S. dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1), and mine countermeasures ship USS Champion (MCM 4) to train in a realistic, multinational, operating environment.
"The most important thing that the Royal Canadian Navy will gain from having both the Saskatoon and Yellowknife here in San Diego will be the integration with one of our biggest partners, the United States Navy," said Lt. Cmdr. Todd Bacon, commanding officer of HMCS Saskatoon. "It's most important that we continue the practice of complete integration between the U.S., Royal Canadian navy, Mexican navy and our other international partners. Because of these partnerships, we can integrate different teams aboard different vessels and are able to facilitate additional capabilities."
Streamlined partnerships are a recognized and valuable product of RIMPAC SoCal.
"I'm looking forward to the interoperability with the other partner nations," said Lt. Cmdr. Donald Thompson-Greiff, commanding officer of HMCS Yellowknife. "I look to achieve, with the RIMPAC mission set, to develop proficiency in my command in mine warfare with partner nation ships and ensure that we have a mutual understanding and practice of mine warfare tactics and doctrine."