By Petty Officer 2nd Class Joshua Fulton, Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific
Seabees assigned to NMCB 5, Marines assigned to 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, and Royal Cambodian Navy sailors load equipment onto an amphibious landing craft during CARAT Cambodia 2016, Sihanoukville, Cambodia, Nov. 2. 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 including Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste. (Photo by Chief Petty Officer Lowell Whitman/161102-N-HA376-933)
U.S. and Royal Cambodian Navy (RCN) service members kicked off the seventh annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise in Cambodia with an opening ceremony at Ream Navy Base, Oct. 31.
Held consecutively since 2010, CARAT Cambodia is a bilateral training exercise to increase cooperation and enhance maritime security between U.S. and Cambodian navies.
“Our navies enter into CARAT with a common goal to increase force readiness and interoperability,” said Capt. Erich Diehl, commander, Task Force (CTF) 75. “CARAT provides a unique opportunity to work alongside and learn from the Royal Cambodian Navy, and build upon our core expeditionary capabilities. The benefit is mutual, and ensures a strong collective capacity to employ our maritime capability most effectively.”
Throughout the week, Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5; Sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5, Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 2 and Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit (NEPMU) 6; and Marines from 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment will work hand-in-hand with their Cambodian counterparts in subjects such as command and control, small unit tactics, amphibious operations, preventive medicine, boat operations and maintenance, among others.
Each topic discussed during the week will be demonstrated during a field training exercise flexing the different learned skillsets, including an amphibious landing.
“We look forward to an exciting week and the opportunity to strengthen our long-standing relationship with the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces,” said Capt. Jeffrey Kilian, commodore, 30th Naval Construction Regiment (NCR). “We view this exercise as a premier event bringing our two countries together, and a model for how the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, and Royal Cambodian Armed Forces can work together to address shared maritime security priorities, develop relationships and enhance interoperability.”
Approximately 150 U.S. Sailors and 200 Royal Cambodian sailors are participating in CARAT Cambodia 2016. The U.S. 7th Fleet band will also perform for local communities around Sihanoukville at the M’Lop Tapang Orphanage, Don Bosco Technical School, Ream Primary School and Village D’enfant, as well as during a public concert. Many of the U.S. service members and their equipment arrived in Cambodia aboard the USNS Millinocket (T-EPF-3), a Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport.
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. CARAT 2016 is the most complex series to date. Its continuing relevance for more than two decades speaks to the high quality of exercise events and the enduring value of regional cooperation among allies and partners in South and Southeast Asia.
Commander, Task Force (CTF) 75, is the primary expeditionary task force responsible for the planning and execution of coastal riverine operations, explosive ordnance disposal, diving engineering, and construction and underwater construction in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.