Career Highlight at World's Biggest Maritime Exercise

Able Communications Warfare Specialist Sven Morgan, centre, performs with HMNZS Te Kaha’s Maori Cultural Group at Exercise Rim of the Pacific in Hawaii.
Able Communications Warfare Specialist Sven Morgan, centre, performs with HMNZS Te Kaha’s Maori Cultural Group at Exercise Rim of the Pacific in Hawaii.

11 August 2016

Putaruru man Sven Morgan can tick off a significant career milestone − he has just completed his first big deployment outside New Zealand with the New Zealand Defence Force.

Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) Able Communications Warfare Specialist (ACWS) Morgan, 22, spent five weeks in Hawaii for Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC). It is the world’s largest international maritime exercise, involving 26 nations, 45 ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel.

“Deploying with HMNZS Te Kaha as part of Exercise RIMPAC has definitely been the highlight of my career so far,” ACWS Morgan said.

“The opportunity to work with so many other nations and their militaries, while visiting Hawaii, doesn’t come around very often. I consider myself lucky for getting to experience it.

“Being able to see different units such as destroyers and aircraft carriers and F22 jets flying around was exciting – not things you get to see every day. Then having downtime and being able to explore Hawaii and meet different people just topped it all off,” he said.

At RIMPAC, his role was to provide reliable communications to and from the RNZN frigate HMNZS Te Kaha. He was also able to show off his kapa haka skills with the ship’s Maori Cultural Group.

RIMPAC was the kind of challenge he was looking for when he joined the Navy nearly four years ago.

“I joined the Navy with aspirations of getting out and seeing the world, as well as bettering myself as an individual, both physically and mentally.

“If you enjoy being a part of a team and more or less a second family, having the opportunity to travel the world, learn heaps and experience things you wouldn’t have the chance to experience anywhere else, and get paid at the same time, then I advise people to join the Navy.”

The theme of RIMPAC 2016 was “Capable, Adaptive, Partners”. The training programme included amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defence exercises, as well as counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal, and diving and salvage operations.

Commander (CDR) Steve Lenik, the Commanding Officer of Te Kaha, said RIMPAC was a fantastic training opportunity for his ship’s company.

“This exercise will help Te Kaha contribute to a secure and stable Pacific and the sea lanes connecting it to our global trading partners.”

RNZN Maritime Component Commander, Commodore (CDRE) Jim Gilmour – who played a key role in RIMPAC, commanding the amphibious taskforce of 13 ships from flagship USS America – said RIMPAC helps participants foster and sustain the co-operative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.

“About 70 per cent of the world is water, 80 per cent of the world’s population lives on or near a coast, and 90 per cent of international commerce moves by sea. Capable maritime forces help ensure stability and prosperity around the world, and RIMPAC helps participating nations develop these capabilities,” CDRE Gilmour said.

“Our role is to protect our interests at sea.”


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This page was last reviewed on 11 August 2016.