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CARAT Task Group set to conduct Southeast Asia exercise series

7th Fleet Release

Release Date: 5/28/2004

By Seventh Fleet public affairs

SEVENTH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY -- A U.S. Navy task group has formed for the 10th edition of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness And Training (CARAT) exercise series with nations throughout Southeast Asia. The series begins in late May and runs through early August.

CARAT, a regularly scheduled series of bilateral military exercises with several Southeast Asian nations, is designed to enhance interoperability of the U.S. sea services and those of friends and allies throughout the region in a variety of mission areas of mutual benefit.

The CARAT Task Group, under the leadership of Commander, Destroyer Squadron One, is made up of the U.S. Coast Guard high endurance cutter Mellon (WHEC 717), the dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43), the guided missile destroyers - a CARAT first - USS Russell (DDG 59) and USS McCampbell (DDG 85), and the rescue and salvage ship USS Salvor (ARS 52). Other elements, including P-3C Orion and SH-60 Seahawk aircraft, U.S. Navy Seabees, U.S. Army veterinarians and a variety of support commands are also taking part in CARAT.

During the various phases of CARAT, which includes exercises with the Philippines, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia, exercise events are scheduled in skill areas such as at-sea maneuvering and communications, command and control, diving and salvage, and visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) drills. The specific focus and elements participating in each exercise phase will vary based on bilateral goals. A variety of seminars in areas ranging from damage control to logistics are also scheduled, as are social events that give exercise participants a chance to develop personal relationships so critical to combined operations.

Sailors and Coast Guardsmen will also take time during each CARAT phase to participate in civil affairs, medical, dental and community service projects.

Rear Adm. Kevin M. Quinn, commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific, who operates from Singapore, is responsible for overall CARAT coordination in his executive agent role as commander, Task Force 712. Capt. Buzz Little, commander of Destroyer Squadron One, embarked on USS Fort McHenry, leads the CARAT task group.

Commodore Little's staff is based in San Diego, as is USS McCampbell. The cutter Mellon is home ported in Seattle. USS Russell and USS Salvor both operate from Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. USS Fort McHenry is part of the U.S. Seventh Fleet's forward deployed naval force (FDNF) operating from Sasebo, Japan.

Approximately 1,400 U.S. Sailors And Coast Guardsmen will take part in CARAT 04. The number of participants in CARAT partner countries varies.

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