Thai, US Forces Recognize Achievements as CARAT Thailand Concludes
Release Date: 7/16/2009
By Lt. Ed Early, Commander, Task Group 73.5 Public Affairs
SATTAHIP, Thailand (July 16, 2009) Notable achievements at sea and on land exemplified the cooperation between the armed forces of Thailand and the United States as the Thailand phase of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) concluded, July 16.
“I would like to thank the exercise participants for all your dedication and hard work,” said Adm. Soopakorn Booranadiloak, commander in chief of the Royal Thai Fleet, during the closing ceremony at Sattahip Naval Base’s Laem Tien Pier. “Our exercises here resulted in good success because of the close cooperation between the United States Navy and the Royal Thai Navy.”
At the ceremony, Royal Thai Navy Rear Adm. Chaiyot Sundaranaga, commander, Frigate Squadron 2, and Commodore William Kearns III, commander, Task Group 73.5, reported the successful completion of all CARAT exercise events—including some firsts.
Making its first appearance in CARAT, the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) aircraft carrier HTMS Chakri Naruebet not only took part in two days of at-sea maneuvers with Task Group 73.5, but also shot down a U.S. Navy target drone with a Mistral surface-to-air missile.
“Having had the privilege of embarking Chakri Naruebet earlier this week, I can say we broke new ground in terms of working together and understanding one another,” said Rear Adm. Nora Tyson, commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific, who observed the at-sea phase from the carrier. “Planning and executing these evolutions together makes us a stronger combined force, and both our navies and Marine Corps are better for it.”
In addition to Chakri Naruebet, the RTN corvette HTMS Sukhothai also destroyed a target drone using an Aspide surface-to-air missile.
Chakri Naruebet and Sukhothai were joined underway by the frigates HTMS Naresuan and HTMS Makutrajakuman and the corvette HTMS Khirrirat, as well as the U.S. dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), guided-missile destroyer USS Chafee (DDG 90) and guided-missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37).
On the ground, the Royal Thai Marine Corps and U.S. Marines conducted training operations together ranging from martial arts to marksmanship. Later, the two Marine forces combined for two amphibious landing exercises at Had Klod Beach, using amphibious assault vehicles launched from Harpers Ferry and the RTN tank landing ship HTMS Srichang.
RTN Sailors also held exercises with U.S. Navy divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1, embarked aboard the rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50), and Mobile Mine Assembly Unit (MOMAU) 10.
While the Thai-U.S. combined task force was at sea, Royal Thai Marine Engineers and Navy Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 40 were teaming up for the construction of a new multi-use building and improvements to existing facilities at Ban Khao By Si School in Pattaya.
Ban Khao By Si students also welcomed U.S. Sailors and Marines during a community relations project, while Thai and U.S. medical personnel treated local residents at a medical and dental civic action program in nearby Rayong Province.
“This exercise demonstrated not only the commitment between our countries, but reinforced old friendships while new ones developed,” said Tyson.
Approximately 1,600 U.S. personnel are taking part in CARAT 2009. Task Group 73.5, the U.S. Navy task group for CARAT, is under the command of Commander, Destroyer Squadron 31.