World’s largest international maritime warfare exercise welcomes Cave Creek native

Posted 7/22/22

A 2015 Cactus Shadows High School graduate and Cave Creek native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, Rim of the Pacific.

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World’s largest international maritime warfare exercise welcomes Cave Creek native


A 2015 Cactus Shadows High School graduate and Cave Creek native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, Rim of the Pacific.

According to a press release, petty officer 2nd class Gordon Medica is a fire controlman aboard the USS Chafee, currently operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

A Navy fire controlman is responsible for many things, including operating the weapons on board the ship; today, Medica uses skills and values similar to those learned in Cave Creek, the release stated.

“I learned that joining the Navy from Arizona is doable,” Medica stated in the release. “My high school math teacher, Mr. Ageli, a former Navy diver, explained that joining the Navy is a great way to set yourself up for success.”

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 2022 is the 28th exercise in the series that began in 1971.

The theme of RIMPAC 2022 is capable, adaptive, partners, the release stated. 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.

“Running exercises with foreign countries isn’t something you get to do every day and I’m looking forward to that during RIMPAC,” Medica stated. “Doing my job is a pretty big deal.”

Serving in the Navy means Medica is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy, according to the release.

“The Navy is the United States’ maritime security force,” Medica stated. “We help other sovereign nations maintain their claim on their territorial waters and also enforce international waters.”

With more than 90% of all trade traveling by sea, and 95% of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy, the release explained.

According to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, four priorities will focus efforts on sailors, readiness, capabilities and capacity.

“For 245 years, in both calm and rough waters, our Navy has stood the watch to protect the homeland, preserve freedom of the seas, and defend our way of life,” Gilday stated in the release. “The decisions and investments we make this decade will set the maritime balance of power for the rest of this century. We can accept nothing less than success.”

Hosted by Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, RIMPAC 2022 will be led by Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet, who will serve as Combined Task Force (CTF) commander. Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Christopher Robinson will serve as deputy commander of the CTF, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Rear Adm. Toshiyuki Hirata as the vice commander, and Fleet Marine Force will be led by U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Joseph Clearfield, the release stated.

Other key leaders of the multinational force will include Commodore Paul O’Grady of the Royal Australian Navy, who will command the maritime component, and Brig. Gen. Mark Goulden of the Royal Canadian Air Force, who will command the air component.

“I had the opportunity to fire the newest Tomahawk missile,” Medica stated. “I’m pretty proud to have been a part of that milestone. It landed in the California test range exactly where it was supposed to go.”

During RIMPAC, a network of capable, adaptive partners train and operate together in order to strengthen their collective forces and promote a free and open Indo-Pacific, according to the release. RIMPAC 2022 contributes to the increased interoperability, resiliency and agility needed by the Joint and Combined Force to deter and defeat aggression by major powers across all domains and levels of conflict.

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Medica and other sailors know they are part of a legacy that will last beyond their lifetimes providing the Navy the nation needs, the release stated.

“Serving in the Navy means to sacrifice your liberties so others can have theirs on a daily basis,” Medica added in the release. “It’s an opportunity to meet a lot of like-minded people.”

Additional information about RIMPAC is available at

Cactus Shadows High School, Gordon Medica, Rim of the Pacific, international maritime exercise


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