Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Cambodia Becomes First New CARAT Partner in 16 Years

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason Tross, Combined Task Group 73.1 Public Affairs

June 8, 2010 - SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (NNS) -- The arrival of USS Tortuga (LSD 46) here June 7 marked the opening event of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Cambodia 2010, marking the country's first participation in the exercise and making Cambodia the first new country to join the exercise series since its founding.

During the nine-day exercise, U.S. and Royal Cambodian Sailors will conduct shipboard training on subjects such as engineering, damage control, anti-terrorism and force protection, and amphibious operations.

Ashore, U.S. and Royal Cambodian Marines will conduct weapons familiarization exchanges and jungle operations training, while Navy and Marine explosives ordnance disposal teams will exchange best practices with their counterparts. A full schedule of medical civic action projects and community service projects are also planned at locations throughout the country.

The exercise marks the largest naval engagement between the two countries in nearly 40 years, and leaders from both navies expressed high expectations for this year's events.

"We are very grateful, both the Navy and the Cambodian people, for the relationship we have with the Navy and the people of the United States," said Royal Cambodian Navy Rear Adm. Ouk Seyha, commander of Ream Naval Base. "We are happy to have USS Tortuga here, and are anticipating a successful first CARAT exercise."

Begun in 1995, the CARAT series of bilateral exercises included six original partner nations: Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Singapore. The sixth partner, Indonesia, participates in the series under the name Naval Engagement Activity.

For 2010, Cambodia and Bangladesh are joining the series. The total number of forces scheduled to participate in the exercise include approximately 18,000 U.S. and partner nation personnel, 50 aircraft and 73 ships.

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