US, Thailand kick off exercise CARAT

The US Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard joined Royal Thai Navy and Marine Corps to kick off the 25th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT).

Photo: US Navy

The opening ceremony was held at Sattahip Naval Base on May 29.

CARAT is the US Navy’s oldest and longest continually-running regional exercise in South and Southeast Asia aimed at strengthening partnerships between regional navies. The Royal Thai Navy has been a part of the annual CARAT series since the exercise began in 1995.

US assets participating in CARAT Thailand 2019 include mine countermeasure ships USS Patriot (MCM 7) and USS Pioneer (MCM 9), salvage ship USNS Salvor (T-ARS 52), cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54), and expeditionary fast transport USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3).

“Thailand is a key partner and an enduring ally,” said Rear Adm. Joey Tynch, commander, Task Force 73. “Every opportunity we have to train with our Thai partners is an investment in our relationship, as well as our capabilities. Over 25 years, CARAT continues to evolve and remains the premier venue for the U.S. and partner navies to work together and address shared maritime security concerns.”

The exercise features a sea phase with surface warfare maneuvering tactics, visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) drills, mobile dive and salvage training, gunnery exercises, submarine tactics, explosive ordinance disposal (EOD), and minesweeping and maritime patrol operations.

The shore phase will involve hands-on training in VBSS led by the US Coast Guard, combat marksmanship, riverine tactics, medical training, jungle warfare and subject matter expert exchanges in medicine, aviation, law, EOD and maritime domain awareness (MDA).