Mixing Green with Blue
July 30, 2012
HONOLULU, HAWAII-- Twenty-two nations participated with more than 40 ships and submarines, over 200 aircrafts and over 25,000 personnel from the different nations in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise that started June 20 and culminates August 3.
RIMPAC is the world's largest international maritime exercise, that provides a unique training opportunity and help participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans.
For members of the 5th Battle Coordination Detachment (BCD) Ground Liaison Detachment, RIMPAC offered a unique opportunity to support a fighter squadron aboard the USS Nimitz Supercarrier.
"We primarily support Air Force wings," said Sgt. 1st Class George W. Jones, ground liaison Noncommissioned Officer and native of Richmond, VA. "However, when an aircraft carrier deploys, we are the ground liaison teams for the fighter squadrons off the carrier."
Serving aboard Nimitz for RIMPAC 2012, their job was to brief pilots with pre-staged scenarios before each mission to ensure success. In a real combat situation, the information to brief the pilots would come from the unit's headquarters element. "You're giving ground situational awareness prior to the pilot's flight," said Master Sgt. Charles W. Lightner, ground liaison Noncommissioned Officer in Charge and native of Detroit. "He's got to have a good understanding of what's happening on the ground. If we weren't here, then the pilots would fly in and not have a clue of what's going on until contact was made with a Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC)."
On top of mission briefs, Lightner and Jones were fostering good relationships with a different service and learning as much as they can. "We do this so you can understand what we do as GLD's and see what you guys do on a carrier," said Lightner. "It's building a working relationship between two services. We know how you operate and you guys know how we operate. We can share that wealth of knowledge from being on ship and seeing what you guys do."
Held every two years by Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT), RIMPAC 2012 is a multinational maritime exercise that takes place in and around the Hawaiian Islands. This exercise marked the 23rd in the series that began in 1971.