A 2001 Old Bridge High School graduate and an Old Bridge native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC).
Lt.j.g Thomas Grapentine is an information professional officer aboard USS John P. Murtha, currently operating out of San Diego. A Navy information professional officer is responsible for the network and computer and IP services.
Grapentine applies the lessons learned from Old Bridge to working in the Navy.
“Most people from where I’m from are really outspoken,” Grapentine said. “I like to think that I brought those characteristics with me in the Navy.”
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’m looking forward to enjoying my time in Hawaii,” Grapentine said. “I have been in the Navy for 17 years and this is my first time being here. I hope to gain the insight in working with other nations mainly from the amphibious side of the house.”
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 very proud of getting commissioned,” Grapentine said. “I was enlisted for 14 years and I got commissioned through the Limited Duty Officer program.”
Twenty-six nations, 46 surface ships, five submarines, and more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial RIMPAC 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, Grapentine 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 accomplish way more than I ever thought,” Grapentine said. “Serving in the Navy has been a great opportunity to do something with my life. I have traveled all over the world, maybe I will stay in for 30 years.”
For more information, visit www.cpf.navy.mil.
This article was submitted by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Theodore Quintana, Navy Office of Community Outreach.