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by SLt Kelly Rozenberg
ALGONQUIN, REGINA and PROTECTEUR left Esquimalt on June 21, 2004 in company with the USS JOHN C. STENNIS battle group, following the carrier’s port visit to Victoria. The opportunity to sail with the Commander Carrier Group Seven allowed the Canadian ships and the staff of Canadian Fleet Pacific to practice many of the procedures that will be implemented during the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2004 exercise. The first few days at sea focused on establishing communications, coordinating activities and establishing a common battle rhythm for the ships in the battle group. By the time that the force arrived in Pearl Harbor, the ships were well in synch and the bugs in integrating operations had been resolved.

During the transit, ALGONQUIN’s operations team completed a Missile Readiness Inspection to ensure that personnel were well trained in advance of two scheduled SM2 missile firings during the RIMPAC exercise. The transit also saw the completion of four Replenishments at Sea (RAS) evolutions, manoeuvring exercises, Maritime Interdiction Operations, engineering drills and flying operations in addition to the routine maintenance that forms an essential part of every at-sea period. This type of training allows ALGONQUIN to retain the high degree of fighting efficiency that was gained in the recent Work Ups and Operations Team Training. It is important that the ship continue to hone and refine its skills in every facet of naval operations.

ALGONQUIN is currently alongside in Pearl Harbor enjoying some time in the sun and partaking in a number of in-port briefings and social activities. The major objectives of RIMPAC include improving the readiness, efficiency and interoperability of the participating units. In addition to the United States, Canada will be joined by Australia, Chile, the UK, the Republic of Korea and Japan. The exercise is invaluable to ensure that we are able to seamlessly integrate into a multi-national coalition and that we continue to learn from our neighbours across the Pacific. During this exercise, the Commander Canadian Fleet Pacific, Cmdre Girouard, will exercise the important command and control role as Sea Combat Commander from ALGONQUIN. In previous exercises, the Canadian commander has embarked in the carrier to fulfill this role. Having performed similar duties from Canadian ships throughout OP APOLLO it is now well recognized that a Canadian Task Group Commander is fully capable to take center stage and execute his command and control responsibilities from a flagship such as ALGONQUIN.

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