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NZ Defence Force Participation in World's Largest Exercise Gets Underway

Soldiers from Alpha Company, 1 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, clearing a building at the Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) facility. US personnel from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment look on.

Around 350 NZ Defence Force personnel are in the United States as the world’s largest international maritime exercise, Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC 2012), gets underway.

HMNZS TE KAHA and HMNZS ENDEAVOUR have berthed at Honolulu port, and a Rifle Platoon from 1 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment has embarked on USS ESSEX with the US Marine Corps at Kaneohe Bay.

The Operational Diving Team will operate out of San Diego, while the Mine Counter Measures Team will be based at Pearl Harbour and will embark on Japanese ship BUNGO for part of the exercise. A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K Orion will depart from Whenuapai on Wednesday morning and during the exercise will operate out of Kaneohe Bay, and a number of headquarters staff are working out of Pearl Harbour and Ford Island.

"This is the first time in 28 years that the NZ Defence Force has taken part in RIMPAC. As the largest maritime exercise in the world, RIMPAC offers our people a unique training opportunity. It is also a key opportunity to work alongside a large number of Pacific nations building interoperability and relationships," says Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General Dave Gawn.

"Participation in exercises like RIMPAC also enables the Defence Force to prepare for a variety of contingencies to ensure that New Zealand can play its part effectively in working with other nations to reduce conflict and improve stability in the Pacific and around the world."

RIMPAC 2012 involves 22 countries, a total of 25,000 personnel, 42 ships, six submarines, and over 200 aircraft. Other nations include; the US, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Peru, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, India, Mexico, Norway, Philippines, Russia and Tonga.

Exercise RIMPAC 2012, which finishes on 3 August, is hosted by the United States. New Zealand’s defence relationship with the US continues to develop. A number of US Marines took part in Exercise Alam Halfa in New Zealand. A number of activities have taken place to mark the 70th anniversary of the arrival of US military personnel in New Zealand following the entry of the US into the Second World War, including commemoration ceremonies, military band performances around New Zealand, and a reciprocal platoon group exchange and combined training exercise with the NZ Army's 1 (NZ) Brigade and USMC 1st Marine Division.

ENDS

For more information contact Major John Gordon, Senior Comms and Media Advisor (Army) on 021 478 574

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