The Philippine Navy held a simple send-off ceremony at Alava Wharf, SBMA, Zambales on July 29, 2020 for its contingent that will participate in the world’s premier and largest joint and combined naval exercise dubbed as Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2020 (RIMPAC20) in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The participating Naval Task Group (NTG) 80.5 is onboard the newly-commissioned BRP Jose Rizal (FF150) with an embarked AW109 naval helicopter. NTG 80.5 is led by FF150s commanding officer, Capt. Jerry Garrido Jr. as the concurrent contingent commander, and complemented by the surface, services and support components.NTG 80.5 contingent underwent rigorous health and safety protocols prior to boarding the participating PN vessel in order to ensure the safety of everyone in this time of the global pandemic.
Navy Flag Officer In Command, Vice Adm. Giovanni Carlo J. Bacordo served as the presiding officer and keynote speaker for the send-off ceremony. Other PN senior officers who oversaw the ceremony include, Rear Adm. Loumer Bernabe, Commander of Philippine Fleet, BGen. Armel Tolato, Commander of Fleet Marine Ready Force, Commo Karl Decapia, Commander of Offshore Combat Force, together with forces and group commanders and other high-ranking PN officers.
Navy Chief Bacordo said in his remarks that, “our participation in these exercise marks the beginning of a new era of naval operations as we build up our capabilities for modern warfare.”
BRP Jose Rizal is the Navy’s first warship in the inventory that is equipped with multi-dimensional warfare capabilities. Through RIMPAC20, our Navy will be able to simulate and test the capabilities of this newly acquired platform. This will provide FF150 a venue to test the profiency of personnel as they integrate in a wider range of operations.
VAdm Bacordo then challenged the contingent, “to maximize your training experience so that when you return home, you will have a lot to share with the rest of the Navy.”
“This will boost your team training and increase your operational readiness. But all of you need to observe safety protocols. In this challenging times, it is imperative to work together, learn together and be safe together,” he added.
In light of the COVID-19 protocols, the exercise will be an at-sea event only. To ensure safety of all the contingents from different military forces, shore-based activities are minimized.
RIMPAC exercise will run from August 17 to 31 2020. It is a United States-led naval exercise hosted by the US Navy Pacific Fleet and held biennially. It is geared towards building trust and partnership with other navies, understanding the capabilities of other navies and enhancing interoperability.
The Navy’s participation in this exercise trumpets its commitment in promoting multilateral cooperation leading to the strengthening of relationship and cooperation among regional and extra regional navies.
~Press release and photos courtesy of Philippine Navy Public Affairs Office