CARAT Philippines Ends on Board USS Fitzgerald

CARAT Philippines Ends on Board USS Fitzgerald

The 19th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Philippines ended with a closing ceremony on board the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62), July 2.

During the six-day exercise, U.S. Sailors and Marines trained with their counterparts in the Philippine navy, coast guard and marine corps in a series of shore-based and at sea events.

CARAT is a bilateral naval exercise series between the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the armed forces of nine partner nations in South and Southeast Asia. Beginning in 1995, CARAT Philippines reflects the longstanding and enduring relationship between the U.S. and Philippine navies.

Shore-based training events covered several naval competencies, including jungle warfare and marksmanship, tactical combat casualty care (TCCC), riverine small boat operations, visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS), and diving and salvage.

At sea, Fitzgerald conducted maneuvering, communications and gunnery exercises with the Philippine Navy frigate BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF 15) and the Philippine coast guard salvage and rescue vessel BRP Edsa (SARV 02). Both navies established a combined afloat staff on Fitzgerald to share best practices and coordinate exercise events.

 “It was a pleasure to work side-by-side with our longstanding allies in the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard,” said Capt. Paul Schlise, Commander, Task Group (CTG) 73.1. “The ships of the combined Task Group performed very well during close maneuvering, gunnery and communications drills at sea; and the professional interactions between subject matter experts from both the US and Philippines substantially advanced the capability and level of inter-operability of our forces.”

More than 600 U.S. Sailors and Marines participated in CARAT Philippines 2013.

Participating ships included the guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) with embarked Commander, Task Group 73.1/ Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 staff, and the diving and salvage ships, USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) and USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52). A company of Marines from with India Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment participated in shore-based events.

Medical, civil affairs and visit, board, search and seizure evaluators from Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training Command, divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit 1, P-3C Orion aircraft, and the U.S. 7th Fleet Band, Orient Express also participated in CARAT Philippines.

Press Release, July 4, 2013; Image: US Navy