Fueling the fight at RIMPAC 22

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Mary Begy
  • 507th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- More than 180 Airmen from the 507th Air Refueling Wing here participated in Joint exercise Rim of the Pacific 2022, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, July 27-Aug. 2, 2022.

During the exercise, 186 Okies and five KC 135R Stratotankers flew 32 sorties totaling over 133 flight hours and offloaded more than 1,000,000 pounds of fuel.

“RIMPAC is always a busy exercise, however, it is also an extremely productive exercise for us,” said Lt. Col. Michael Waters, 507th Operations Support Squadron commander. “It provides real world training in a high tempo operational environment.”

Members from across 507th Mission Support Group, 507th Maintenance Group, and the 507th Operations Group traveled to Hawaii to take part and support the exercise as a cohesive unit. Members of the 507th MXG conducted critical support to the KC-135Rs during the exercise allowing the aircraft to launch when needed and accomplish the mission.

Logisticians from the 507th MSG made sure plans and supplies were provided on schedule. Members of the 507th OG conducted sorties and provided intel on the mission.

“The training we receive during large scale exercises like RIMPAC is invaluable,” said Senior Master Sgt. Justin Hopkins, 465th Air Refueling Squadron boom operator. “It prepares us for deployments, allows us to get a lot of qualification training done in a short amount of time, and familiarizes our crews with other service branches and partner nation aircraft that we would work with in the event of a large-scale conflict.”

RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity while fostering and sustaining cooperative relationships among participants critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

“Partner nation relationships are crucial to ensuring the safety and security of the worlds airspace and oceans,” Waters said. “We train hard to build cooperative strategic international relationships and to be prepared for any conflict.”

More than 170 aircraft took to the sky and 42 naval vessels capturing RIMPAC’s theme of Capable Adaptive Partners. RIMPAC forces exercised a wide range of capabilities, projecting the inherent flexibility of maritime forces and helping to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific.

An exercise of this scale requires intense planning, according to Capt. Elijah Weyen, 507th OSS exercise planner.

"Everything went off without a hitch,” said Weyen. “Our wing showed the importance of interoperability and how important it is when providing agile combat airpower in any scenario.”

More than 26 nations participated in RIMPAC 2022 and utilized over 200 weapons systems and 25,000 personnel. This year’s exercise included units and personnel from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, 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 and the United States.