PEARL HARBOR, HI -  A 2012 Watchung Hills Regional High School graduate and Warren, New Jersey, 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 3rd Class Stephen Vesper is an aviation maintenance administrationman attached to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113, currently operating out of Point Magoo. 


26 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. 

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Aviation maintenance administrationman perform technical, managerial, and support duties required by the Naval Aviation Maintenance Program (NAMP); prepare aircraft and maintenance related correspondence; maintain directive control and custody records, control forms and reporting requirements. 

Vesper applies the lessons learned from Warren to his work in the Navy. 

“My parents told me the world is not perfect, but you have to stay strong,” said Vesper. “It got me through boot camp and through all of my struggles I’ve experienced.” 

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 am looking forward to the experience and seeing all the different countries,” said Vesper. “There are a lot of positive things going on here.” 

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 most proud of making petty officer third class,” said Vesper. 

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

“I have learned how resilient I can be since joining the Navy,” said Vesper 


Additional information about RIMPAC is available at


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