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NEWS | Aug. 2, 2022

U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Midgett Concludes At-Sea Phase of RIMPAC, Readies for Western Pacific Patrol

By Lt.Cmdr. David Connor Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet

HONOLULU, Hawaii -- U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Midgett (WMSL 757) completed its participation in the sea phase of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 exercise after marking off a series of significant “firsts” for Coast Guard assets.

RIMPAC 2022 featured the exercise’s first mass rescue operation, the first time a Coast Guard Cutter led a combined task force, the first time a Coast Guard Cutter embarked a U.S. Navy MH-60R Seahawk, and the first modern Coast Guard participation in anti-submarine warfare exercises.

Midgett’s crew collaborated with U.S. Coast Guard Cutter William Hart (WPC 1134), Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Ship Izumo, and USS Essex (LHD 2) to find, recover, and provide medical assistance to ten simulated people in the water.

Following the mass rescue operation, Midgett’s commanding officer, Capt. Willie Carmichael, served as commander of Combined Task Force 175, consisting of the Midgett, USS Chafee (DDG 90), USS Gridley (DDG 101), French Navy Frigate FS Prairial, and Peruvian Navy BAP Guise, the first time a Coast Guard Cutter has led one of the RIMPAC task forces.

The task force completed a broad spectrum of warfighting and humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations focused on improving interchangeability and coordination with partner and ally countries.

Midgett was the first Coast Guard Cutter to embark a U.S. Navy MH-60R Seahawk helicopter. The Romeo model of Seahawk features folding rotors and tail, which allows the helicopter to be kept safe in the hangar of Legend-class cutters like Midgett. This successful test gave valuable information that the Coast Guard and Navy can use for joint operations moving forward. During the exercise, Midgett also conducted flight operations with helicopters from the FS Prairial and USS Chafee. Cross-deck flight operations improve the safety of future rescue and assistance operations.

Boat crews from Midgett conducted non-compliant vessel pursuit demonstrations with crewmembers from the FS Prairial and U.S. Navy ships. The tactics demonstrated are essential in Coast Guard counter smuggling operations, as well as in enforcing safety and security zones. French and Navy warships frequently assist with counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the Caribbean.

Throughout the exercise, Midgett completed refueling at sea operations with both U.S. and New Zealand Navy logistics support ships. Refueling at sea is essential to trans-Pacific partnerships and collaboration, and the Midgett is likely to collaborate with the HMNZS Aotearoa for additional fueling operations during Midgett’s upcoming western Pacific patrol.

In the second portion of the at-sea exercise, Midgett played the role of opposing force using shipboard RADAR, the embarked helicopter, and the advanced Link 16 communication system to track and hunt other task force ships. Midgett’s earned nine “constructive kills,” providing targeting information to allied assets resulting in immediate simulated strikes. This phase of the partnership included vessels and assets from the U.S., Japan, Australia, Chile, India, Indonesia, Mexico and South Korea, though the exercise took place in the waters around a fictional nation invented for the exercise.

Following RIMPAC, Midgett is departing on a western Pacific patrol. They will be focused on supporting maritime governance in the western Pacific, reaffirming and publicly demonstrating alignment with the multinational Rules Based International Order in the region. Midgett looks to reinforce the rule of law at sea in conjunction with regional law enforcement agencies and foster regional partnerships.

“It was an honor to represent the U.S. Coast Guard and work alongside and build mutual trust with capable and adaptive partners during RIMPAC 2022,” said Midgett’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Willie Carmichael.

“Leading a combined task force and supporting the humanitarian and disaster relief mass rescue operation showcased the relevance of U.S. Coast Guard’s capabilities and interoperability with our partner naval services.”

Twenty-six nations, 38 ships, three submarines, more than 170 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC 2022 from June 29 to Aug. 4 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC 2022 provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
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