PEARL HARBOR – A 2002 Hesperia High School graduate, who serves in the U.S. Navy, is participating in the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise, the Rim of the Pacific Exercise.

Petty Officer 1st Class Steven Carlson is an operations specialist aboard USS San Diego, currently operating out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

As a Navy operations specialist, Carlson is responsible for navigation, radar and communications equipment aboard the ship.

“This is my first RIMPAC,” said Carlson. “I look forward to interacting with the other countries' navies.”

RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. RIMPAC 2016 is the 25th exercise in the series that began in 1971, according to Navy officials.

The theme of RIMPAC 2016 is "Capable, Adaptive, Partners," Navy officials explained. The participating nations and forces will 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 war-fighting. The relevant, realistic training program includes amphibious operations, gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises, as well as counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage operations.

“This is a great opportunity for us to come together as a team within the ship, doing the mission the nation expects us to be able to accomplish,” said Capt. Carl Meuser, commanding officer aboard USS San Diego. “I enjoy leading young sailors and watching them develop, and not just as sailors, but as young men and women. RIMPAC has tremendous resources to support all of the platforms involved.”

Twenty-six nations, 45 surface ships, five submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise.

“The people are professionals living the highest standards on a daily basis,” said Carlson. “The sailors I work with give me more than 100 percent every day.”

While Carlson explained the living conditions could be challenging at times, he believes it increases fellowship among the crew, as they are highly motivated and quick to adapt to changing conditions.

“I have an increased ability to deal with stress,” Carlson said. “I married and started a family after joining the Navy. I’m always practicing and learning to balance Navy life and life at home.”

Additional information about Rim of the Pacific Exercise is available at www.cpf.navy.mil/rimpac/