Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Senior Chief Gary Ward
PEARL HARBOR – A 2015 West Campus High School graduate and Sacramento, California 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 3rd Class Maximillian Lopez is an information systems technician aboard USS Lake Champlain, currently operating out of San Diego, California.
A Navy information systems technician is responsible for the safe functioning of the ship’s network and communications.
Lopez applies the lessons he learned from Sacramento to his work in the Navy.
“I learned when life gives you less, the only way to overcome that is to work hard and to earn what you get,” said Lopez.
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 2018 is the 26th exercise in the series that began in 1971.
The theme of RIMPAC 2018 is “Capable, Adaptive, Partners,” according to Navy officials. 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 warfighting. 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 hope to gain personal development as far as being a sailor,” said Lopez.
This is the first time Israel, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are participating in RIMPAC. Additional firsts include New Zealand serving as sea combat commander and Chile serving as combined force maritime component commander. This is the first time a non-founding RIMPAC nation (Chile) will hold a component commander leadership position.
“I feel as if I’m fully equipped to contribute to my ship and use my knowledge to enhance it,” said Lopez.
Twenty-six nations, 46 surface ships, five submarines, and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise. This year’s exercise includes forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Lopez and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“Serving in the Navy developed my confidence and allowed me to acknowledge what is important as far as family and friends,” said Lopez.
Additional information about RIMPAC is available at http://www.cpf.navy.mil