U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and Royal Thai Armed Forces concluded the 22nd annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise at the Royal Thai Navy Base in Sattahip, Thailand, June 22.
CARAT Thailand 2016 consisted of eight days of shore-based and at-sea training events in multiple warfare areas. The exercise is focused on addressing shared maritime security concerns, building relationships and enhancing interoperability among participating forces.
“Our armed forces have been working together during CARAT for 22 years, and I think this speaks to the importance and value that both our nations place on operating together.” said Capt. H.B. Le, commodore, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7.
At sea, multiple warfare areas were addressed when the two navies conducted an air defense exercise, gunnery exercise, cross-deck helicopter operations, anti-submarine warfare training, and complex surface warfare maneuvering tactics.
U.S. Marines from Company E, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines moved ashore via amphibious assault vehicles launched from the well deck of USS Ashland (LSD 48) during an amphibious landing with their Royal Thai Marine counterparts. The two forces moved together across the beach and conducted building searches and security sweeps while securing the beachhead.
Following the assault, marines from both nations worked side-by-side in jungle warfare training and a noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO).
Also participating in the harbor phase were sailors from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1. Together with their Royal Thai Navy counterparts they completed four days of dive training, followed by a diving exercise while aboard Safeguard-class salvage ship USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52). The training included a variety of topics including medical and equipment checks and communication methods.
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.
According to the U.S. Navy, CARAT 2016 is the most complex series to date.