California Fighters Participate in Largest RIMPAC Ever
By Master Sgt. David J. Loeffler, 144FW Public Affairs
/ Published July 18, 2012
July 14, 2012 -- Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu, HI - F-16 fighter jets from the 144th Fighter Wing (FW), California Air National Guard (ANG) in Fresno, Calif. have begun to rip across the blue Hawaiian skies as over 25,000 Airmen, Seamen, Marines, Soldiers and foreign military participants take part in the largest Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise ever.
The 2012 RIMPAC exercise is the twenty-third exercise in a history of bi-annual drills that dates back four decades. The exercise provides a unique and dynamic training environment in which multiple nations can exchange ideas and train together with the primary mission of securing open sea lanes and protecting maritime lines of communication. Since its inception in 1971, RIMPAC has grown in overall numbers as well as numbers of countries participating with India, Russia, Norway, Mexico, the Philippines, and Tonga as first time participants this years' exercise.
"RIMPAC is a great opportunity for our team," said Lt. Col. Scott Seyfarth, Project Officer of the 144th FW. "We will be working with 22 nations, 42 surface ships, seven submarines, more than 170 aircraft, and over 25,000 personnel. This will be the largest RIMPAC exercise to date. The lessons learned and experience gained in integrating with the other international exercise partners will be invaluable. This exercise allows us to work with our partner nations at both a strategic and tactical level," added Seyfarth.
The 144th FW arrived on July 13 with eight F-16s, 32 pallets of cargo, and 110 California guardsmen. The wing's mission will be to launch sorties to meet the air tasking order. These missions provide a unique opportunity for the pilots of the 144th FW to fight in a Joint Dissimilar Air Combat Environment with other U.S. Air Force units, U.S. Navy units, as well as Canadian Air Force units.
"None of this would be possible without the support from the most junior Airman on the maintenance or logistic teams all the way up the chain. Without their hard work and dedication, our pilots don't fly," said Lt. Col. Seyfarth.
The best training comes when the unit executes its primary mission of Air Dominance while providing air escort for large strike packages against simulated air and surface threats.
"We have brought over one hundred highly dedicated and well trained Airmen to this RIMPAC exercise to support our mission. During the exercise, the wing will be flying over 140 sorties, which equates to approximately 300 hours of flight time. This training is perfectly tailored to allow our pilots and Airmen to train to our primary real-world mission of providing air superiority worldwide." said Seyfarth.
The men and women of the 144th FW will continue to support the RIMPAC exercise through the conclusion of the exercise in early August.