A 2009 Riverbank High School graduate and Riverbank, 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).
Seaman Austin Rice is a culinary specialist aboard USS William P. Lawrence, currently operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
A Navy culinary specialist is responsible for operating and managing Navy messes and living quarters established to subsist and accommodate Naval personnel.
Rice applies the lessons learned from Riverbank to working in the Navy.
“Essentially I learned the importance of having respect for people and to always be respectful,” said Rice.
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. 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 can’t wait to meet the people from different countries and seeing what life is like outside the United States,” said Rice.
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 am proud that the Navy has given me the opportunity to build a foundation for myself and achieve my goals,” said Rice.
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, Rice and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“Since joining the Navy I have learned that I can follow orders and I’m not afraid to handle numbers for record keeping,” said Rice. “Serving in the Navy means a sense of foundation and a means to accomplish my dreams.”
Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Theodore Quintana, Navy Office of Community Outreach; Photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Gary Ward.