By 1st Class APRIL T. COPELAND
Navy Office of Community Outreah
PEARL HARBOR – A 2017 Lathrop High School graduate and Lathrop 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 2nd Class Conner Edwards is an electronics technician nuclear aboard USS Abraham Lincoln, a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier operating out of San Diego.
A Navy electronics technician nuclear is responsible for monitoring and ensuring safe operations of the ship's nuclear reactor.
Aircraft carriers provide unique capabilities and survivability. They are a powerful exhibition of the American Navy's legacy of innovation, technological evolution, and maritime dominance, according to Navy officials.
Since USS Langley's commissioning 100 years ago, the nation's aircraft carriers, such as USS Abraham Lincoln, and embarked carrier air wings have projected power, sustained sea control, bolstered deterrence, provided humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and maintained enduring commitments worldwide.
"The aircraft carrier is our U.S. Navy's centerpiece, our flagship, and a constant reminder to the rest of the world of our enduring maritime presence and influence," said Rear Adm. James P. Downey, USN, Program Executive Officer (PEO) Aircraft Carriers. "These ships touch every part of our Navy's mission to project power, ensure sea control, and deter our adversaries."
Today, Edwards uses skills and values similar to those learned in Lathrop.
“My parents always told me there is no such thing as a free lunch and that has served me well in the Navy,” said Edwards.
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 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.
“The warfare games being played during RIMPAC are extremely intricate, and play a huge role in continuing to develop interoperability with our allies,” said Edwards.
Serving in the Navy means Edwards 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.
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent 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,” said Gilday. “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.”
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, Edwards and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes.
“Serving in the Navy provides me a sense of purpose because I never have to question the purpose of what I'm doing,” added Edwards.
Additional information about RIMPAC is available at http://www.cpf.navy.mil