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RIMPAC 2014: World's Largest Maritime Exercises (PHOTOS)

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When most people think of Hawaii, they think of a relaxing tropical vacation digging their toes in the sand and snorkeling in crystal blue waters. But, every two years, the Hawaiian Islands become a serious training ground for military forces from around the world -- and their trip to the beach looks very different.

This year, more than 25,000 military personnel from 22 nations are participating in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), the world's largest maritime exercise, according to its website. The drills, which began June 26 and are set to end on Aug. 1, are designed to cultivate and sustain international relationships international troops, particularly when it comes to securing the world's oceans and sea lanes.

Hosted by United States Pacific Fleet, RIMPAC 2014 marks the 24th exercise since it began in 1971. The exercises mostly take place in and around the Hawaiian Islands, though a small portion of the drills are held off the coast of Southern California.

The lineup of participants come from nations all over the globe, including troops from Japan, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Tonga, Brunei and the People’s Republic of China, which marks the country's first time participating in RIMPAC.

While the training may be serious business, it doesn't hurt that these folks get to practice in a place as beautiful as Hawaii. Here's a look at what they've been up to:

  • Royal Australian Navy photo by Able Seaman Imagery Specialist Chantell Bianchi
    Royal Australian Navy Durance-class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment ship, HMAS Success (OR 304), departs Pearl Harbor for the sea phase of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014.
  • U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray
    A Canadian forces soldier, assigned to the Charlie Company of the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Division, jumps out of a helicopter off the coast of Hawaii for reconnaissance operations during RIMPAC 2014 exercises.
  • U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda R. Gray
    Canadian forces soldiers, assigned to the Charlie Company of the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Division, perform reconnaissance operations on July 10 during a training exercise.
  • U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Matthew J. Bragg
    Korean SEALS fast-rope into a RIMPAC training village on July 10 Marine Corps Training Area Bellows in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. They are fast-roping from an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter from Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) Squadron 4 during a special operations forces (SOF) integration. The training exercise used the combat skills and capabilities of U.S. Marine Special Operations Team 8133, Republic of Korea SEALS and Peru Special Forces to take down and capture a high-value target.
  • U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Matthew J. Bragg
    A U.S. Marine and his dog provide security during a special operations forces (SOF) integration at Marine Corps Training Area Bellows on July 10. The exercise uses the combat skills and capabilities of Marine Special Operations Team 8133, Republic of Korea SEALS and Peru Special Forces to take down and capture a high-value target. SOF is part of the Marine Corps Advanced Warfighting Experiment (AWE) and is designed to create a truly joint and combined arms force on the battlefield.
  • U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Aaron S. Patterson
    A Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), embarked from the USS Rushmore, prepares to land at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay during RIMPAC 2014.
  • U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Katarzyna Kobiljak
    Seaman Darius Thigpen, from Chicago, directs departing Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5, at Kawaihae Harbor, Hawaii, during RIMPAC 2014 exercises.
  • U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Matthew J. Bragg
    Two soldiers with the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) provide security while the rest of their team moves to shore during an amphibious assault on Pyramid Rock Beach at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, part of RIMPAC 2014 training exercises.
  • U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Matthew J. Bragg
    A soldier with Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) waits for his squad leader to give the signal to advance their positions. The JGSDF conducted the training exercise with U.S. Marines with 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, based in Okinawa, Japan.
  • U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Matthew J. Bragg
    A U.S. Navy Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) leaves the Marine Corps Training Area Bellows in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, and heads back to the USS Rushmore after dropping troops and equipment on July 12.
  • U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shannon E. Renfroe
    A Marine assault amphibious vehicle assigned to Combat Assault Company, 3rd Marine Regiment arrives on the beach July 11 at Bellows Air Force Station during RIMPAC 2014.
  • U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Charles E. White, Fleet Combat Camera Pacific
    Leading Seaman Ben Beck of Australian Clearance Diving Team 1 positively confirms a radio check during a bomb-onboard plane takedown training scenario on July 15 at Honolulu International Airport as part RIMPAC 2014.
  • U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tiarra Fulgham
    Sailors from the People's Republic of China, People's Liberation Army (Navy) ship Yueyang (FF 575) board USS Port Royal (CG 73) to perform a visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) drill during training exercises on July 15.
  • U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Corey T. Jones
    A U.S. Marine Special Operations team member lowers an elite canine into a rigid-hulled inflatable boat set to depart the littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS 2) during a training mission for RIMPAC 2014.
  • U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Matthew Callahan
    Australian soldiers assigned to 5th Royal Australian Regiment fire an 84 mm M3 Carl Gustave rocket launcher at Range 10 at Pohakuloa Training Area on the island of Hawaii, part of RIMPAC 2014.
  • Photo by Sgt. Sarah Dietz
    Marines with Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, walk to Range 5C to conduct a grenade range exercise at Pohakuloa Training Area on the island of Hawaii. The Marines are a part of Company Landing Team 2, which include Indonesian marines, Australian and Tongan soldiers.
  • U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shannon E. Renfroe
    The ex-USS Ogden (LPD 5) is hit by a Naval Strike Missile (NSM) from the Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen (F 310) during a Sink Exercise (SINKEX) as part of RIMPAC 2014.
  • Marine Corps Base Hawaii
    U.S. Marines, assigned to 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, and Tongan Marines, exit the back of a CH-53E Super Stallion during insertion and extraction training at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
  • Photo by LAC Maria Oosterbaan
    A light infantry platoon from 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1RNZIR) practice underwater helicopter escape training in a pool at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay, as part of exercise RIMPAC 2014.
  • U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Joseph Pfaff
    An MH-60S Seahawk helicopter assigned to the Black Knights of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 4, embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), participates in a helicopter exercise off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Kauai during RIMPAC 2014.
  • U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel Viramontes
    A Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), assigned to Amphibious Craft Unit 5, heads to the harbor on July 22 from the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu (LHA 5) during RIMPAC 2014.
  • U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Corey T. Jones
    A U.S. Navy MH-60S Seahawk helicopter assigned to the “Indians” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 6 prepares for takeoff from the flight deck of the littoral combat ship USS Independence (LCS 2) during RIMPAC 2014.

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