War Games on an Epic Scale

11 June 2012

20120528_PH_M1032159_0001 Ordinary Combat Systems Specialist Michael Geddes getting ready to deploy to the world's largest naval exercise.

An Ashburton College old boy has deployed with the Royal New Zealand Navy on a war games mission of epic proportions. Twenty-one year old Ordinary Combat Systems Specialist Michael Geddes is onboard HMNZS TE KAHA which sailed last week for the world’s largest naval exercise.

Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) involves 22 countries, a total of 25,000 personnel, 42 ships, six submarines, and over 200 aircraft. It will be conducted near Hawaii from 29 June to 3 August.

HMNZS TE KAHA, HMNZS ENDEAVOUR, the RNZN Operational Diving Team and the Mine Counter Measures Team, a Rifle Platoon from 1 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, a Royal New Zealand Air Force  P-3K Orion, and a number of headquarters staff will take part in the exercise.

Since joining the Navy a year ago, Michael has trained to work in the Operations Room of the ship, using radar and sonar capabilities to identify and track air, surface and sub-surface contacts. The information he collects is used by the Command Team to make navigational and warfare decisions.

"I was expecting to have a lengthy wait before a posting was available, but I got a call my very first day from my career manager asking if I was ready for TE KAHA, and I flew over to Sydney to join the ship a few days later," said Michael in his break before deploying again.

"TE KAHA’s deployment to RIMPAC will be a great opportunity for me to gain experience, it also includes exercises on the way up with HMNZS ENDEAVOUR and port visits to Tonga and Hawaii. It’s what you join the Navy for."

RIMPAC offers Defence Force personnel a unique opportunity to work alongside a large number of Pacific nations building interoperability and relationships Other nations participating in the exercise 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.

Although Michael is sad to be missing out on a winter of snowboarding, he is not complaining, "Back to back summers seems like a fair trade off to me."


For more information please contact Lieutenant Commander Ange Barker, Senior Communications and Media Advisor – Navy on 021 244 0638

This page was last reviewed on 12 June 2012.