PEARL HARBOR – A 1993 Anson Senior High School graduate and Polkton native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise known as the Rim of the Pacific.
Petty Officer 1st Class William Wynn is an information systems technician aboard USS O’Kane, currently operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
A Navy information systems technician is responsible for managing and controling the ship’s LAN communication networks.
Wynn is looking forward to applying the lessons learned from Polkton to working in the Navy.
“I learned the value of teamwork growing up in a sports community,” said Wynn. “I always learned to put the team first, and have a strong work ethic.”
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,” according to Navy officials. The participating nations and forces will 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 amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage operations.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of RIMPAC,” said Wynn. “It will give my sailors the opportunity to work with other shops in the fleet, and show their mettle with them.”
This is the first time Brazil, 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.
This year will also feature live firing of a Long Range Anti-Ship Missile from a U.S. Air Force aircraft, surface to ship missiles by the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, and a Naval Strike Missile (NSM) from a launcher on the back of a Palletized Load System by the U.S. Army. This marks the first time a land based unit will participate in the live fire event during RIMPAC. RIMPAC 2018 will also include international band engagements and highlight fleet innovation during an Innovation Fair.
“I’m most proud of seeing my junior sailors advance in rank,” said Wynn. “Seeing the guys I’ve trained succeed is incredibly rewarding.”
Twenty-seven nations, 49 surface ships, six submarines, 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, Brazil, 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.
“Sailors participating in this exercise, working with our Pacific allies, show the world the importance of working together providing the Navy the nation needs,” said Vice Adm. John D. Alexander, Commander, U.S. Third Fleet. “I’m honored to serve at sea with these men and women who make me proud every day. Americans can take great pride in their service knowing that they provide security at home while defending our national interests around the world.”
As a member of the U.S. Navy, Wynn and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs.
“I’ve learned that I’m a lot mentally tougher than I thought I was,” said Wynn. “I also learned that I love the travel aspect of the Navy, and experiencing different cultures. Serving in the Navy gives me a tremendous amount of pride being able to say I serve my country. Seeing my kids and my family look up to me is amazing.”