A 2014 Hialeah Miami Lakes Senior High School graduate and Miami native is serving in the U.S. Navy and is participating in the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, the Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC).
Fireman Lazaro Chivas is serving aboard USS San Diego, currently operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
A Navy fireman is responsible for learning how to repair, maintain, and preserve the ship.
“I want to experience the different cultures present in the RIMPAC exercises,” Chivas said.
According to Navy officials, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring 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 explained. The participating nations and forces will exercise a wide 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 relevant, realistic training program includes amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage operations.
The Department of the Navy’s Great Green Fleet yearlong initiative also will play a major 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.
Some 26 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, People’s Republic of China, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“This is a great opportunity for us to come together as a team within the ship doing the mission the nation expects us to be able to accomplish,” said Capt. Carl Meuser, commanding officer aboard USS San Diego. “I enjoy leading young sailors and watching them develop, and not just as sailors, but as young men and women.
“RIMPAC has tremendous resources to support all of the platforms involved. Cruisers and destroyers will be shooting weapons, the air wing has evolutions going on and the Marines are out with us conducting amphibious operations,” Capt. Meuser added.
“We hang out in berthing when we want to relax,” Chivas said. “We are a very tight knit department.”
Challenging living conditions build strong fellowship among the crew, Chivas explained. The crew is highly motivated, and quickly adapt to changing conditions. It is a busy life of specialized work, watches, and drills.
“Since joining the Navy, I know I can give 200 percent and work as hard as I can,” Chivas said. “The Navy has taught me how to view the world through a respect for differences.”
Additional information about Rim of the Pacific Exercise is available at www.cpf.navy.mil/rimpac/.