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NMCB 4 Seabees Partner with Thai Counterparts During CARAT 2016

By Task Force 73 Public Affairs and Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific

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Ensign Michelle Fitzgerald from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 participates in the opening ceremony of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Thailand 2016 in Sattahip, June 16. CARAT is a series of annual maritime exercises between the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the armed forces of nine partner nations to include Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor-Leste. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/160616-N-OU129-042)

The 22nd annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise between the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the Royal Thai Armed Forces began June 16 with opening ceremonies at the Royal Thai Navy Base in Sattahip.

CARAT Thailand 2016 consists of eight days of shore-based and at-sea training events through June 23, designed to address shared maritime security concerns, build relationships and enhance interoperability among participating forces. The exercise takes place in the Gulf of Thailand and in multiple locations ashore across Thailand.

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Builder Constructionman Kiara Harris and other Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4, along with their counterparts from the Royal Thai Navy, construct a library at Khao Chi Chan School in Sattahip, during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Thailand, June 21. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/160621-N-OU129-018 )

During the harbor phase, Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 and the Royal Thai Navy Construction and Development Regiment started construction on a library at the Khao Chi Chan School near Sattahip. Construction on the library used new building techniques that had not been previously used in a CARAT exercise.

“It’s been a great opportunity for the Seabees to learn an innovative building technique with our partners here in Thailand,” said Ens. Michelle Fitzgerald, officer-in-charge, NMCB 4. “Not only are we able to teach and learn through varying construction methods, we are able to build something alongside our counterparts that can be used by the Khao Chi Chan School for years to come.”

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Steelworker 3rd Class Luis Robles, from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4, and a Royal Thai Navy Seabee guide a piece of rebar into place during construction of a library at Khao Chi Chan School in Sattahip, in support of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Thailand, June 21. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/160621-N-OU129-120)

“CARAT remains one of the premier exercise series in the region to develop interoperability between our forces and strengthen ties,” said Rear Adm. John Nowell, commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet. “Here in Thailand, I am confident that participating U.S. and Thai forces will advance the tenets that CARAT represents: cooperation and readiness. We stand together with Thailand in ensuring the region is safe, secure, and prosperous.”

At sea, both navies participated in an air defense exercise, deck-landing qualifications, divisional tactics, a gunnery exercise and executed a communications drill using the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea (CUES). Each event was planned and executed in order to enhance cooperation and increase operational familiarity between the two navies.

During the exercise, U.S. Marines from the 3rd Marine Division embarked on the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) and conducted an amphibious landing with their Royal Thai Marine counterparts. In addition to the amphibious landing, the Marines conducted training and shared tactics on security operations and jungle warfare. CARAT Thailand 2016 featured the inclusion of the expeditionary transfer dock USNS Montford Point (T-ESD-1), supporting landing craft air cushion (LCAC) operations during the amphibious landings.

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Equipment Operator Constructionman Daniel McComas, from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4, hammers construction pieces into place with Royal Thai Navy Seabees in Sattahip, while building a library at Khao Chi Chan School during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Thailand, June 21. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/160621-N-OU129-074)

In addition to the construction project the Seabees participated, this year’s harbor phase featured a diving exercise, explosive ordnance live-fire training, visit, board, search and seizure training, medical and aviation training symposia, five community service events and eight band performances by the U.S. 7th Fleet Rock Band “Orient Express.”

After more than two decades of annual CARAT training engagements between the U.S. and Thai Armed Forces, the exercise remains a model for cooperation that has evolved in complexity and enables both nations to refine maritime operations and tactics.

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Musician 3rd Class Holden Moyer from the 7th Fleet Rock Band “Orient Express” sings with students during a joint rock concert with the Royal Thai Marine Corps Band at Potisampan School in Pattaya, in support of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Thailand, June 21. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Fulton/160621-N-OU129-286)


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