US Navy’s amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) wraps up Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) bilateral exchange.
This year’s annual CARAT operations began in mid-July for Germantown, when the ship embarked a Landing Air Craft Cushion (LCAC) detachment from Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7 and sailed to Okinawa and Guam to embark the other various units necessary for the mission. The first embarks were elements from the 2nd Marines, 3rd Battalion, which formed the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) CARAT. This element comprised more than 300 Marines and their gear; Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAV), Combat Rubber Raiding Crafts (CRRC) and other gear necessary for amphibious landing assaults.
Next aboard was the team from Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) Far East Detachment along with their five BQM-74E target drones.
Personnel and gear from Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Mobile Unit 5 and Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 were next and tasked to complete extensive ground-level training with their international counterparts.
The final piece came from Coastal Riverine Squadrons (CORIVRON) 3 and 4 and their Riverine Command Boats (RCBs), two heavily armored coastal patrol craft, newly introduced to multinational-level engagement in the 7th Fleet area of operations.
Once the engagement phases commenced, Germantown embarked the staff of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 to lead the overall execution of CARAT 2015 events.
Germantown’s full amphibious capabilities were well utilized, launching LCAC’s, AAV’s, CRRC’s and RCBs for all three of the participating partner nation events. The ship also demonstrated its air capabilities and executed flight deck qualifications (DLQs) during the exercise with the Royal Thailand Navy.
In its 21st year, CARAT is an annual, bilateral exercise with 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.
Image: US Navy