JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii , July 16, 2014 —
The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy departed Pearl Harbor yesterday to participate for the first time ever in the sea phase of Rim of the Pacific 2014, the world's largest international maritime exercise.
Mercy is scheduled to participate in various events, including simulated medical evacuations, a mass casualty exercise and subject-matter expert exchanges with other RIMPAC participants.
"I am looking forward to operating with different allied partner nations," said Navy Capt. Michael Perkow, mission commander aboard Mercy during RIMPAC. "This is a great opportunity for everyone to learn together and operate in a multinational environment."
The medevac simulations are scheduled to arrive within Mercy's task force and other participating ships. The simulations will test the ability of each ship’s medical department to respond, evaluate patients, and then decide whether they need to be taken to Mercy for a higher level of care.
The mass casualty exercise is scheduled to simulate an oil platform accident with 40 patients being brought to Mercy, allowing the ship's staff to train in an environment in which a large number of injured people are loaded onto the ship.
Subject-matter expert exchanges are slated to take place with medical personnel from other nations participating in RIMPAC. "The [exchanges] are for Mercy's staff to learn best practices other navies have developed and also for our allied partners to learn some of our best practices," Perkow said.
This year's RIMPAC marks the first time in the exercise's history that hospital ships have participated. Twenty-two nations, 49 ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel are participating. from the exercise began June 26 and runs to Aug. 1 in and around the Hawaiian Islands and Southern California.