Rapid Littoral Survey Support at RIMPAC 2016

Story Number: NNS160725-10Release Date: 7/25/2016 10:24:00 AM
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By Rebecca Eckhoff, Naval Oceanographic Office Public Affairs

HONOLULU (NNS) -- At Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016, Fleet Survey Team (FST) conducted near-shore surveys of three areas off the Hawaiian island of Oahu, July 15, to assess water depths and obstructions that could endanger operations and humanitarian assistance in a post-natural disaster scenario.

FST deployed a team of six personnel and two rapid littoral survey vessels (RLSVs), jet skis equipped to collect hydrographic data in a near-shore environment, to complete the exercise over a two-week period in support of U.S. Pacific Fleet and Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet. RLSVs deploy to provide an immediate navigational tactical decision aid to on-scene commanders and support safe ship-to-shore force movements by surveying from the 10-meter contour to the beach.

Capt. Ashley Evans of Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and Cmdr. Erlina Haun of Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, visited the team in the final survey days to become familiar with the team's operations.

"It was a unique and rewarding experience to have the customers present to view the actual operations behind the products they receive," said Lt. Matt Watts, the survey detachment's officer-in-charge.

FST has become well-known for its ability to execute worldwide emergent tasking within 96 hours, by deploying teams of 4-6 civilian and military personnel along with 9-meter hydrographic survey vessels and RLSVs to the survey area. The teams collect and process data on scene to provide timely products to the warfighter, including the best possible graphic depiction of potential hazards to navigation.

"FST is proud to be one of several units representing the naval meteorology and oceanography community at RIMPAC 2016," said FST Commanding Officer Cmdr. J.P. Garstka. "The command's participation in the humanitarian assistance/disaster relief phase of the exercise provides us with a great opportunity to showcase our capabilities while working closely with partner nations."

The command played a significant role in charting areas affected by natural disasters such as the Southern Asia tsunami of 2004; hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike in the Gulf of Mexico; the Haiti earthquake in 2010 and Hurricane Sandy in New York in 2012.

FST is a specially trained team that employs approximately 65 military and civilian personnel, who deploy globally to conduct hydrographic surveys and related environmental assessments to enable safe and effective maritime navigation and access to the littorals for naval and joint forces. FST is a designated CTG 80.7.1 component command under U.S. Fleet Forces Command, through Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command and the Naval Oceanographic Office.

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The Arleigh Burke-class Guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) passes through a rainbow while sailing in the Pacific during Rim of the Pacific 2016.
160714-N-LI612-266 PACIFIC OCEAN (July 14, 2016) The Arleigh Burke-class Guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83) passes through a rainbow while sailing in the Pacific during Rim of the Pacific 2016. Twenty-six nations, more than 40 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating in RIMPAC from June 30 to Aug. 4, in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California. The world's largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eli K. Buguey/Released)
July 18, 2016
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