PEARL HARBOR – A 2007 Huron Senior High School graduate and Huron, South Dakota, native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).
Petty Officer 1st Class Kristina Macdonald is a fire controlman attached to Commander, Carrier Strike Group One, currently operating out of San Diego. Fire controlmen provide weapon direction systems employment recommendations.
They also perform organizational and intermediate maintenance on digital computer equipment, subsystems, and systems. Macdonald applies the lessons she learned from Huron to her work in the Navy.
“I grew up on a ranch so, I know about hard work,” said Macdonald. “This is really easy to me.”
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 will be working solely on the U.S. side during RIMPAC, but I would like to see the Australian ships,” said Macdonald. 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 to have made first class petty officer in five years,” said Macdonald.
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, Macdonald and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs. “I learned that I grew up under a rock and how much culture I was not exposed to,” said Macdonald. “Since joining the Navy, I have met people from many other places.”