SAN DIEGO -- U.S. Coast Guard deployable specialized forces and Royal Canadian Navy explosive ordnance disposal technicians trained for maritime interdiction operations during the opening events of the force integration training phase of Rim of the Pacific Southern California.
This year marks the first time that the Coast Guard's Maritime Security Response Team West has participated in RIMPAC. The Maritime Security Response Team is the Coast Guard's counterterror unit.
The Coast Guardsmen and Canadian sailors, from Fleet Diving Unit Pacific, partnered in the training event under the umbrella of Commander Task Force 177, RIMPAC's mine warfare commander. Maritime Security Response Team West is headquartered here, and Fleet Diving Unit Pacific is headquartered in Victoria, British Columbia.
The focus of the daylong event was for the teams to observe and train alongside one another during maritime interdiction operations while boarding a training vessel identified as both high-value and high-threat that was assessed to be carrying improvised explosive devices. The added capability provided by the EOD technicians laid the groundwork for successful future operations where additional expertise is required.
"We work closely with a variety of federal law enforcement and other government agencies on a regular basis," said Coast Guard Senior Chief Petty Officer Richard Young, a maritime enforcement specialist and Maritime Security Response Team West's operations chief. "Routinely, we get aboard the vessel, gain positive control and ensure the vessel is safe prior to turning over custody to another agency or technical unit like EOD techs. Our training today helped us observe and integrate with our Canadian EOD partners to make sure our tactics, techniques, and procedures are aligned before we move into the next phase of the RIMPAC [Southern California] exercise."
Maritime Security Response Team West began operations in 2017, and the command's mission is to provide the nation with highly specialized and maritime-dedicated tactical teams able to support both homeland security and national defense operations.
Commander Task Force 177 is the RIMPAC 2018 mine warfare commander, operating in the RIMPAC Southern California operating area. Its mission is to integrate and train in the operations area and to conduct mine warfare and maritime security operations to deter aggression and promote freedom of navigation and stability. CTF 177 is composed of 26 units with about 1,100 personnel representing seven countries: the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, the Netherlands and New Zealand.
Twenty-five nations, 46 ships, five submarines, about 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC until Aug. 2 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security of the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2018 is the 26th iteration in a series that began in 1971.