Combined Forces Train Together In Hawaii
By Cpl. Erik Estrada
| U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific | July 10, 2014
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
U.S. Marines worked alongside service members from the Republic of Korea, Australia, Indonesia and Mexico to conduct Ground Air Integration Training using CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, June 30. The training included fast-roping as part of the Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2014, the largest international maritime exercise in the world.
Fast-roping gives militaries the speed and capability of inserting troops on the ground by air in locations that prevent aircraft from landing. During GAIT, service members lower a rope from the middle of a helicopter, which is hovering roughly 30 to 40 feet above the ground, and slide down.
“Training like this is absolutely outstanding,” said Cpl. Evan Arce, a Miami native and squad leader, India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. “The opportunity to cross train and collaborate with foreign nations allows us, the United States and our military to gauge where we’re at in relative to our brothers.”
RIMPAC offers the 22 countries participating a unique, yet challenging, multinational training environment to improve their skills by learning from the variety of international forces.
“There are many similar things we have but we learn a lot from the U.S. Marines,” said Korean Marine Capt. Lae Song Park, platoon commander with Republic of Korea Marine Corps. “It’s has been an honor to train with the best in the world.”
Training multilaterally is the primary focus of RIMPAC, but Arce says there is more to experience from the exercise outside military training. “This opportunity is a lifetime experience,” Arce said. “I’ve met more people from different walks of the world than most people probably meet in a lifetime. These are the things that you join the Marine Corps for and some people can’t even fathom that they would get to do.”
For many countries, this is the first time they can test out or simulate some of the training going on during RIMPAC.
“It’s quite the experience learning the different techniques and operations that the Marines and other nations have,” said Mexican Navy Maj. Fernando Lopez Valenzuela, commander of 1st Platoon, 1st Company, 1st Battalion of Paratroopers in the Mexican Naval Infantry Force. “It’s very interesting compared to our training that we conduct in Mexico.”
Twenty-two nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, over 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 26 to Aug. 1, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.