PEARL HARBOR — A 2005 North Marion High School graduate and St. Paul native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the world's largest international maritime warfare exercise, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).
Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan McMillen is a boatswain's mate serving aboard the USS Gridley currently operating out of Everett, Washington.
A Navy boatswain is responsible for preservation, driving and overall readiness of the ship.
Today, McMillen uses skills and values similar to those he learned in St. Paul.
"I learned a sense of ownership," McMillen said. "You take the job you are given. Taking ownership and running with it are things I learned before joining the Navy. I've brought these traits with me into my naval service, and it's helped me excel both professionally and personally."
As the world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring safety at sea and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
The theme of RIMPAC 2022 is Capable, Adaptive Partners. The participating nations and forces exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex war fighting. The relevant, realistic training program includes gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as amphibious, counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage operations.
"I enjoy interacting with other nations," McMillen said. "I'm looking forward to bouncing ideas off each other. Seeing how they do things are a couple things I want to see happen at RIMPAC."
Serving in the Navy means McMillen is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America's focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the national defense strategy.
"Our presence at sea offers comfort to other countries," McMillen said. "The Navy keeps the sea lanes open and provides security around the world."
With more than 90% of all trade traveling by sea, and 95% of the world's international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber-optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
According to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, four priorities will focus efforts on sailors, readiness, capabilities and capacity.
"For 245 years, in both calm and rough waters, our Navy has stood the watch to protect the homeland, preserve freedom of the seas, and defend our way of life," Gilday said. "The decisions and investments we make this decade will set the maritime balance of power for the rest of this century. We can accept nothing less than success."
RIMPAC 2022 will be led by Vice Adm. Michael Boyle Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, who will serve as Combined Task Force commander. Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Christopher Robinson will serve as deputy commander of the CTF, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Rear Adm. Toshiyuki Hirata as the vice commander, and Fleet Marine Force will be led by U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Joseph Clearfield.
Other key leaders of the multinational force will include Commodore Paul O'Grady of the Royal Australian Navy, who will command the maritime component, and Brig. Gen. Mark Goulden of the Royal Canadian Air Force, who will command the air component.
"Providing for my wife and my daughter are the values and opportunities the Navy has given me," McMillen said.
During RIMPAC, a network of capable, adaptive partners train and operate together in order to strengthen their collective forces and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific. RIMPAC 2022 contributes to the increased interoperability, resiliency and agility needed by the Joint and Combined Force to deter and defeat aggression by major powers across all domains and levels of conflict.
As a member of the U.S. Navy, McMillen and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
"Continuing the traditions and the history my family has with the Navy is very important to me," McMillen added.
Additional information about RIMPAC is available at ttp://www.cpf.navy.mil
John Sorensen is a chief mass communication specialist for the Navy Office of Community Outreach.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.