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August 2002

USNS Yukon refuels multinational fleet
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By OS1(AW) Tristan D. Cajar, USN

USNS Yukon
Naval Fleet Auxiliary Force oiler USNS Yukon (right) refuels one of the many mulitnational ships participating in Rim of the Pacific '02, a maritime exercise off the coast of Hawaii from June 25 to July 21.

Six Pacific Rim nations, along with the United Kingdom and France, participated in Rim of the Pacific, a major maritime exercise conducted in the waters off Hawaii from June 25 to July 21. RIMPAC 2002 brings together maritime forces from Australia, Canada, Chile, Peru, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"It's a way for foreign countries and U.S. Forces to work together and familiarize themselves with each other's way of operating," explained OS1 Robert Cooper, USN, USNS Yukon's leading operations specialist.

This year's exercise is the 18th in a series of RIMPAC exercises conducted periodically since 1971. More than 30 ships, 24 aircraft and 11,000 Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and Coast Guard personnel participated in RIMPAC training operations.

International flotilla
A snapshot of the international flotilla that participated in RIMPAC. More than 30 ships from eight countires participated in the maritime exercise.
RIMPAC is intended to increase the tactical proficiency of the participating units in a wide array of combined operations at sea. This year's exercise includes a variety of surface combatant ships, submarines, tactical aircraft and amphibious forces. USNS Yukon got an early start on RIMPAC operations by refueling ships from three different countries before the exercise started. Yukon refueled Canadian ship HMCS Protecteur while en route to the Persian Gulf; Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force ships Hamagiri, Kirishima and Murasame while en route to San Diego; and Korean ships Wonju and Yangmanchun while en route to Hawaii from Korea.

"Yukon conducts operations such as RIMPAC as a matter of course. Refueling-at-sea and providing logistic support is what we do," commented Capt. Mark Wilson, Yukon's master. "RIMPAC is a more formal setting of operations. By the time we enter the exercise, many of the customers already know Yukon well, and we know their specific manner of refueling."