Hollywood Native Participates in RIMPAC -- World's Largest International Maritime Warfare Exercise - Southern Maryland Headline News

Hollywood Native Participates in RIMPAC -- World's Largest International Maritime Warfare Exercise



Petty Officer 2nd Class Rae Pona is a sonar technician aboard USS Shoup, currently operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Petty Officer 2nd Class Rae Pona is a sonar technician aboard USS Shoup, currently operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

PEARL HARBOR (July 17, 2016)—A 2009 Leonardtown High School graduate and Hollywood, Maryland native is serving in the U.S. Navy and is participating in the world's largest international maritime warfare exercise, the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC).

Petty Officer 2nd Class Rae Pona is a sonar technician aboard USS Shoup, currently operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

A Navy sonar technician is responsible for assisting in the maintenance and readiness of the undersea warfare equipment.

"RIMPAC is an opportunity to increase my skills, to build a sense of diplomacy and to learn how foreign navies operate," said Pona.

According to Navy officials, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

The theme of RIMPAC 2016 is "Capable, Adaptive, Partners," Navy officials explained. The participating nations and forces will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting. The relevant, realistic training program includes amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage operations.

The Department of the Navy's Great Green Fleet yearlong initiative will also play a major role in RIMPAC. The initiative highlights global operations using energy conservation measures and alternative fuel blends to demonstrate how optimizing energy use increases resiliency and operational readiness. During RIMPAC, almost all participating units will operate using an approved alternate-fuel blend.

26 nations, 45 surface ships, 5 submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise. This year's exercise includes forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, People's Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"Shoup sailors are taking part in RIMPAC 2016 and the missions they will be planning and executing are nothing short of awesome," said Cmdr. Jason E. Rogers, commanding officer of USS Shoup. "As captain, USS Shoup and the warfighting functions it is responsible for represent my domain. Fortunately, I am blessed with the talent and warrior spirit of 300 plus sailors who strive to exercise professional mastery and control over each and every one of those domains. Our sailors constantly challenge themselves and each other to know and do more."

"This is an opportunity to engage in exercises that will better myself as a sonar technician, leader and mentor," said Pona.

Challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Pona explained. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.

"While serving in the Navy, I've learned that I have the ability to work under pressure," said Pona. "I'm more detail oriented and can be a better leader."

Additional information about Rim of the Pacific Exercise is available at http://www.cpf.navy.mil/rimpac/

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