Story Number: NNS140725-02Release Date: 7/25/2014 9:15:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Steven Khor, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs
PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (NNS) -- Reservist Sailors from around the nation are at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to support Commander, Anti-Submarine Warfare Force, U.S. 3rd Fleet (CTF-34), participating in the world's largest international maritime exercise, the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), with activities situated in and around the Hawaiian islands.
RIMPAC brings together 22 nations, more than 50 ships and submarines, 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel from June 26 to Aug. 1.
Captain Rod Urbano, chief of staff for CTF-34, notes that reservists are a critical component to the success of exercises like RIMPAC.
"I view the Reserve Component as a powerful force multiplier for CTF-34 staff," said Urbano. "They are fully integrated into our Theater Anti-Submarine Warfare Watch Team, and without their support it would be impossible for us to execute all of our assigned missions. For RIMPAC specifically, our Reserve personnel have been involved in every phase, from planning to execution, and are a critical component to the successes we've been able to achieve."
Captain Timothy Wolters, commanding officer of Undersea Warfare Operations Detachment I and Submarine Force Reserve Component/RIMPAC coordinator, said reservists come from a multitude of backgrounds.
"There are a wide variety of military and civilian experiences that the reservists bring to the table," said Wolters. "More than half of the reservists supporting RIMPAC have performed an Individual Augmentee deployment, and civilian occupations range from stay-at-home parents, to university professors, to biomedical engineers, to independent business owners."
Reservist Electronics Technician 2nd Class Sarah Bostick and other enlisted reservists support CTF-34 by compiling and tracking units to provide the battle watch captains a picture of the battle space during RIMPAC and other exercises.
"I spent three years training and learning with my reserve unit," said Bostick, who drills at Navy Operational Support Center Fort Worth, Texas.
Enjoying the opportunity to put her training to practical use, Bostick added, "It's nice to be able put two and two together to understand the dynamics and relationships we have with the different component commands."
Despite many reservists leaving their fulltime jobs in the civilian world for sometimes undetermined amounts of time, and often faced with logistical challenges, they continue to support various assignments like RIMPAC and continue be an integral part of the Navy.
Wolters said reservists continue to help in the overall mission by providing critical skills at a moment's notice. "Since many reservists already have extensive active-duty experience, they already have the knowledge of how undersea warfare works and help save time and money for the Navy who would otherwise have to train new active duty personnel," he said.
"RIMPAC is a rewarding experience for both the reservists and the Navy," said Wolters. "It provides excellent training for the reservists and provides the Navy with quality, experienced individuals who fit the needs of the many positions required. The Reserve Force helps man the needed positions to complete any number of critical jobs to support a task force."
Reservist and RIMPAC participant, Lt. Cmdr. Joshua Hepola, commanding officer of Naval Reserve Expeditionary Unit, Detachment I in Louisville, Ky., has spent more than seven years on active duty including duty in Iraq, and currently works for Bell Helicopter.
"It's a good framework for organizing anything," said Hepola, referring to a military background as a strong foundation for civilian companies to hire prior military.
Hepola added that it is beneficial for reservists to participate in exercises like RIMPAC because it gives exposure to what is going on in today's Navy, allowing reservists the ability to keep their skills at optimal levels needed to be of support at a moment's notice.
In addition to helping reservists maintain proficiency with the active-duty Navy, being sent to many different places has other advantages.
Reservist and RIMPAC participant Electronics Technician 1st Class Long Han from Houston, Texas, said he enjoys the opportunity to bring family to the places he himself enjoys when not working. Han said he enjoys Hawaii very much, and would like to bring his family to Hawaii to enjoy the fun in the sun.
"Hawaii is always awesome," said Han. "When I'm not busy doing RIMPAC stuff, I can spend time at the beach, so that's kind of cool."
Han's involvement with RIMPAC as a database manager helps build the "digital picture," from which others can make decisions based on this picture.
For RIMPAC, Navy Reserve Sailors have filled or are filling billets in support of Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC), as well as CTF-34. The functions range from planning to watch-standing to naval liaisons at sea with our international counterparts. Reservists are an excellent, cost-effective way to augment the active-duty component for large exercises like RIMPAC, bringing extended expertise to the table and saving taxpayers money.
"With approximately 130 members serving during RIMPAC for at least 16 days each, reservists have been an integral part of this exercise," added Wolters.
To learn more about RIMPAC, go to www.cpf.navy.mil/rimpac/2014. Additional information about the Navy Reserve can be found online at www.navyreserve.com. For more news from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, to include CTF-34, visit www.csp.navy.mil.
For more news from Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/subpac/.