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Pamplin Media Group – Milwaukie High School Graduate in World’s Largest Navy Exercise

Jonah Waage is an aviation electronics technician as 26 nations gather in the Pacific Ocean.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Jonah Waage, a 2019 graduate of Milwaukie High School and an aviation electronics technician aboard USS Essex, is participating in the world’s largest international maritime exercise through August 4.

Waage serves in the United States Navy as part of the 28th biennial exercise Rim of the Pacific which takes place from the California coast to the Hawaiian Islands. In operation since 1971, it is the first RIMPAC exercise since 2018, having been halted in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As an electronics technician, Waage is responsible for the maintenance of radars, avionics and navigation systems aboard naval vessels. He regularly checks the equipment and calibrates numerous aeronautical electronic systems.

“I learned the value of hard work from my family and the part-time jobs I had in high school,” Waage said. “Those jobs were minor compared to what I do now, but the work ethic I learned from them stays with me today.”

This year’s RIMPAC exercise will see participants from 26 nations, including forces from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tonga and United Kingdom.

The operation is intended to provide a unique training opportunity to help participants foster and maintain cooperative relationships that are essential to ensuring safety at sea and security on the world’s oceans. The exercise also gives the United States an opportunity to show multilateral cooperation, or collective action, against a more assertive China.

China was invited to RIMPAC in 2014 and 2016, but that invitation was withdrawn under the Trump administration due to China’s overlapping territorial claims with other Asian nations in the South China Sea.

But China is still there, watching from the sidelines.

The People’s Liberation Army Navy auxiliary general intelligence vessel has been operating in the Exclusive Economic Zone off the coast of Hawaii since July 11, according to U.S. Pacific Fleet spokesman Capt. Charlie Brown .

Serving in the Navy means Waage is part of a team that takes on new importance in the United States’ focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support national defense strategy.

“In the navy, we keep the waters open and the cargo lanes open to commerce,” Waage said. “Having our presence all over the world is a big part of our mission.”

The theme for RIMPAC 2022 is Capable, Adaptive, Partners. Participating nations and naval forces bring with them a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the differences in capability and concentration of various maritime forces. The realistic training program includes artillery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as amphibious operations, counter-piracy, mine clearance, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and rescue operations.

Like most sailors taking part in a big exercise like this, Waage looks forward to his “freedom,” or discharge.

“At RIMPAC, I look forward to meeting all the sailors from other countries,” Waage said. “I’m really interested in learning their customs and traditions.”

Considering that there are 26 participating nations – fielding 38 surface ships, four submarines, nine national ground forces, nearly 170 aircraft and more than 25,000 personnel in training in and around the Hawaiian Islands and southern California – Waage will most likely have his chance to meet other sailors from all over the world.

Waage and other sailors see themselves as part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes, providing the navy the nation needs.

“Serving in the Navy means I put the interests of my shipmates and my country before my own,” Waage added. “Doing what I do benefits everyone.”

More than 90% of all trade takes place by sea, and 95% of the world’s international telephone and Internet traffic passes through fiber optic cables on the ocean floor. High oil prices may have raised the cost of goods recently, but Navy officials say the U.S. presence at sea is preventing an even more astronomical rise in checkout prices, making the navy a direct link to prosperity. and national security.

“I’m really proud to have become an NCO second class in less than five years,” Waage said. “Now it’s time to get to work and take sailors to their next level of responsibility.”

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