PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — A 2013 Hohenfels High School graduate and Hinesville native is serving in the U.S. Navy and participating in the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC).
Petty Officer 3rd Class Tay Golson is a gas turbine systems technician aboard the USS William P. Lawrence, currently operating out of Pearl Harbor.
A gas turbine systems technician is responsible for maintaining the ship’s engines.
“As my first RIMPAC, I look forward to the interaction with the different countries’ crews,” Golson said.
According to Navy officials, RIMPAC provides a training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that ensure the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.
RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
The theme of RIMPAC 2016 is “Capable, Adaptive, Partners,” Navy officials said. The participating nations and forces will exercise a range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting.
The training program includes amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, antisubmarine and air-defense exercises, as well as counterpiracy, mine-clearance operations and explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage operations.
The Department of the Navy’s Great Green Fleet yearlong initiative will also play a role in RIMPAC. The initiative highlights global operations using energy conservation measures and alternative-fuel blends to demonstrate how optimizing energy use increases resiliency and operational readiness. During RIMPAC, almost all participating units will operate using an approved alternate-fuel blend.
Twenty-six nations, 45 surface ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise. This year’s exercise includes forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, China, Peru, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, United Kingdom and United States.
“We are wrapping up a deployment. We’ve conducted exercises with many foreign navies, and this pulls it all together. This is a capstone event for our 7th Fleet deployment,” said Cmdr. Walter C. Mainor, the commanding officer aboard USS William P. Lawrence. “... The average age on board is 25, and the expectations we have for them are so great. They just continue to exceed them.”
“I like learning about other people’s backgrounds and diversity aboard the ship,” Golson said. “My experience in the Navy is helping me earn my bachelor’s degree for a later career in equine science. I just earned my enlisted surface warfare pin. That took about two months to earn.”
Challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Golson said. The crew is motivated and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.
“I’ve developed a work ethic and a backbone quickly in this trade while serving in the Navy,” she said.