From Task Force 73 Public Affairs
SATTAHIP NAVAL BASE, Thailand (NNS) -- The 21st annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise between the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the Royal Thai Armed Forces began Aug. 27 in the vicinity of Sattahip Naval Base.
The Thailand phase of CARAT 2015 consists of eight days of shore-based and at-sea training events, through Sept. 3, designed to address shared maritime security concerns, build relationships, and enhance interoperability among participating forces.
"CARAT Thailand continues to be a great venue to promote regional security cooperation," said Rear Adm. Charlie Williams, commander, Task Force 73. "Twenty-one years of CARAT brings complexity and sophistication to this exercise, which allows our navies to refine tactics and enhance readiness to meet emerging maritime challenges."
CARAT is a series of bilateral naval exercises between the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the armed forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.
More than 1,000 U.S. military members will participate in CARAT Thailand alongside their counterparts from the Royal Thai Armed Services. The exercise will feature amphibious landings, surface warfare drills, visit, board, search and seizure demonstrations, maritime patrol and reconnaissance operations, coastal riverine training, diving and salvage operations, and community outreach engagements by U.S. Navy Seabees and the U.S. 7th Fleet Band.
While CARAT Thailand focuses on legacy maritime security training, this year's exercise will have increased emphasis on Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief (HA-DR), search and rescue, and community outreach activities.
After more than two decades of annual CARAT training engagements between U.S. and Thai armed forces, the exercise reflects the maturity of regional defense cooperation between the two nations.
"CARAT 2015 will allow our forces to continue enhancing our interoperability while addressing shared maritime security priorities," said Capt. H.B. Le, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 7. "The exercise demonstrates our commitment to our regional partnerships and stability and security in the Asia-Pacific."
American units participating in the exercise include the amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42), a P-3C Orion, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5, Coastal Riverine Group 1, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 5 and U.S. Marines assigned to the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade.
Commander, Task Force 73 and Destroyer Squadron 7 staff conduct advanced planning, organize resources and directly support the execution of maritime exercises such as the bilateral CARAT series, the Naval Engagement Activity with Vietnam, and the multilateral Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.