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USS Ford Departs on CARAT Deployment to Southeast Asia

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070507-08
Release Date: 5/7/2007 2:35:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Douglas G. Morrison, Fleet Public Affairs Center Detachment Northwest

EVERETT, Wash. (NNS) -- USS Ford (FFG 54) departed Naval Station Everett for a four-and-a-half month deployment, May 4.

The Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate and its crew are headed to Southeast Asia to participate in a Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise in which the ship will conduct joint naval maneuvers with U.S allies.

CARAT is a sequential series of six bilateral exercises held annually throughout Southeast Asia. The enhancement of regional cooperation, promotion of understanding between participating military forces and the continuing development of their operational readiness are the primary goals of CARAT.

CARAT builds on all aspects of maritime interaction, with training scenarios that include coastal patrol, mine countermeasures, amphibious assault, and maritime patrol and interdiction.

In addition to the training, the ship will visit a number of ports during the deployment, giving the crew a chance to explore the sights and cultures of the countries in the region.

“We plan on hitting some really nice ports,” said Ford’s disbursing officer, Lt. j.g. Marcus Thomas. “We plan on displaying a good show of force while having a good time.”

“I am looking forward to seeing the world,” said Seaman Rick Dawson. “This is my first time leaving the country and I think it is going to be awesome.”

While some Sailors were happy about visiting new lands, others were awaiting news at home in the coming weeks.

“This is my second tour on this ship,” said Torpedo’s Mate 3rd Class (SW) Ben Bartelmey. “I am pretty happy about the planned port visits we plan on doing. I also like that we will be back soon, because I am going to be having a baby the week we get back.”

Ford is the 48th ship of the Oliver Hazard Perry class of guided-missile frigates. The ship can provide in-depth defense against air, surface, and sub-surface threats for military and merchant shipping.

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