I’ll post more photos when the exercise is going on.
CARAT to Provide Numerous Training Opportunities for Thailand, US
Release Date: 7/08/2009
By Lt. Mike Morley, Commander, Task Group 73.5 Public Affairs
SATTAHIP, Thailand (July 8, 2009) Southeast Asia’s only aircraft carrier will be the centerpiece of a combined afloat training schedule for the armed forces of Thailand and the United States during the Thailand phase of the 15th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise, which began July 8.
During the opening ceremony for CARAT Thailand at Laem Tien, Vice Adm. Komin Komutanon, Royal Thai Navy (RTN) deputy commander in chief, welcomed the opportunity for the RTN and Royal Thai Marine Corps to work once again with their U.S. counterparts.
“The Thai Navy has found this exercise very beneficial for enhancing the skills and experience of participating personnel,” Komin said. “This is why we commit significant forces to this exercise each year, because it is one of the key activities that maintain a continuous good relationship between the U.S. and Royal Thai Navies.”
U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission to Thailand James Entwistle also spoke at the ceremony and echoed Komin’s comments, saying CARAT helps reinforce long-standing relations between the two countries.
“Exercises like CARAT are critical to ensuring our interoperability,” Entwistle said. “It is a clear sign of the U.S. commitment to this region, and it contributes significantly to bilateral relations between the U.S. and Thailand, which is celebrating 175 years of friendship.”
Since 1995, the CARAT bilateral exercise series has provided the U.S. and six other Southeast Asian nations—Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia—the opportunity to exchange knowledge and expand and sharpen maritime security through shared training, equipment and manpower.
This year, CARAT Thailand will feature a new training platform in HTMS Chakri Naruebet, flagship of the RTN and the only aircraft carrier in the region. The Spanish-built Chakri Naruebet uses S-70B helicopters and AV-8S Matador jets, both exported versions of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps aircraft.
Chakri Naruebet and other RTN ships will join their U.S. Navy counterparts for exercises in skill areas involving surface and air defense gunnery operations, undersea warfare, casualty evacuation, diving and salvage, and logistics management. Additionally, there will be tactical scenarios where U.S. and RTN ships operate together in teams.
Ashore, U.S. and Royal Thai Marines will conduct land-based survival training, live-fire exercises and mechanized warfare training, as well as combined amphibious landing exercises originating from U.S. and RTN ships.
Ships and aircraft from both Thailand and the U.S. comprise the combined CARAT task group for this phase of training, under the leadership of Royal Thai Navy Rear Adm. Chaiyot Sunthornnak, commander, Frigate Squadron Two, and Commodore William Kearns III, commander, Task Group 73.5.
Task Group 73.5 consists of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90), guided-missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37) and rescue-salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50). Other units participating in CARAT Thailand include P-3C Orion and SH-60 Seahawk aircraft, U.S. Navy Seabees, a U.S. Coast Guard training team, and a U.S. Navy mobile security squadron.
Kearns is embarked aboard Harpers Ferry, which operates from Sasebo, Japan as part of the 7th Fleet’s Forward Deployed Naval Forces. Kearns’ staff is based in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Approximately 1,600 U.S. personnel will take part in CARAT 2009.
|090708-N-5207L-101 SATTAHIP, Thailand (July 8, 2009) Sailors and Marines man the rails as the dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) prepares to moor behind the Royal Thai Navy aircraft carrier HTMS Chakri Naruebet (CVH 911) at Sattahip Naval Base for its participation in the Thailand phase of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships and enhance the operational readiness of the participating forces. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bill Larned/Released)|
|090708-N-6770T-002 SATTAHIP, Thailand (July 8, 2009) The guided-missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37) renders honors to the Royal Thai Navy aircraft carrier HTMS Chakri Naruebet (CVH 911) as it arrives at Sattahip Naval Base to participate in the Thailand phase of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships and enhance the operational readiness of the participating forces. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason Tross/Released)|