Seabees Take Part in CARAT Philippines 2016

By Task Force 73 Public Affairs

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Builder 3rd Class Kiara Harris from Navy Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 splits a board with a circular saw at Beddeng-Mabangcal Elementary School in Zambales, Philippines during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Philippines 2016, June 7. 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 3rd Class Joshua Fulton/160607-N-OU129-196)

U.S. Sailors, Seabees and Marines will join the Armed Forces of the Philippines June 6-10 for CARAT Philippines 2016.

The exercise will take place in multiple locations across the Philippines, including in waters near Subic Bay and Palawan.

This year’s CARAT Philippines will focus on combined operations at sea, amphibious landings, diving and salvage, maritime domain awareness, and community service events. Sailors and Marines will train with their AFP counterparts in a host of military engagements, professional exchanges and training seminars. Seabee civil action projects, community service events and combined military band concerts are also planned to foster relationships and bonds with the Filipino people.

“CARAT enables us to develop strong relationships with our Philippine Navy and Marine partners,” said Rear Adm. Charles Williams, Commander, Task Force 73. “Through persistent presence and relationships, we continue to make steady progress in increasing the complexity of our training and enhancing cooperation between our navies.”

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Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Davonte McCraven from Navy Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4, along with his Philippine counterpart, cuts a support beam at Beddeng-Mabangcal Elementary School in Zambales, Philippines during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Philippines 2016, June 7.  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 3rd Class Joshua Fulton/160607-N-OU129-117)

CARAT Philippines is part of a broader exercise series the U.S. Navy conducts with nine partner nations in South and Southeast Asia to address shared maritime security priorities, strengthen maritime partnerships and enhance interoperability among participating forces. The Philippines has participated since the series began in 1995.

“CARAT strengthens the strong and enduring relationships between the U.S. and Philippine navies,” said Rear Admiral Ronald Joseph S. Mercado AFP, commander, Philippine Fleet. “We’re looking forward to working along-side our U.S. Navy partners during CARAT 2016.

U.S. Sailors, Seabees and Marines participating in CARAT Philippines 2016 represent a host of ships, squadrons, and units from across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. This year’s exercise features the guided missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63), the landing dock ship USS Ashland, (LSD 48), and the diving and salvage ship USNS Salvor (T-ARS-52), along with a P-8 Poseidon aircraft, Navy expeditionary forces, Marines assigned to the III Marine Expeditionary Force – 3rd Marine Division, a platoon from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5, staff from Commander, Task Force 73 (CTF 73) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, and the 7th Fleet Band Orient Express.

As U.S. 7th Fleet’s executive agent for theater security cooperation in South and Southeast Asia, Commander, Task Force 73 conducts advanced planning, organizes resources and directly supports the execution of maritime exercises, such as the bilateral CARAT series, the Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) with Vietnam, and the multi-lateral Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) with Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

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(Left) Equipment Operator 3rd Class Brian Kasper and Construction Mechanic 3rd Class Brian Rosete from Navy Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 4 install a door knob at Beddeng-Mabangcal Elementary School in Zambales, Philippines during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Philippines 2016, June 7. 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 3rd Class Joshua Fulton/160607-N-OU129-054)