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U.S. Naval Forces Arrive for Combined Training During CARAT

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070709-12
Release Date: 7/9/2007 5:00:00 PM

By Lt. Cmdr. Billy Ray Davis, COMLOGWESTPAC Public Affairs

KEMAMAN, Malaysia (NNS) -- The U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps are sharing capabilities and maritime expertise ashore, afloat and in the air with Royal Malaysian armed forces during the third phase of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) which kicked off July 3.

Developing skills together to combat maritime security threats is the emphasis of the exercise.

"The Chief of Naval Operations envisions navies cooperating together and safeguarding the seas for a more prosperous and peaceful world," said Rear Adm. Bill Burke, Commander of Task Force 73 and CARAT's executive agent. "CARAT is a model of interconnectivity between navies that maintains sovereign rights, while taking advantage of the benefits of cooperating naval forces."

Ashore the armed forces will attend a variety of symposiums and workshops in preparation for the seamanship evolutions, warfare training, amphibious operations and maritime interdiction exercises that will be conducted during the afloat phase in the South China Sea. Besides developing interoperability between the two countries, bringing together assets from the various service branches is key.

For the second consecutive year in CARAT’s 13-year history, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) will participate with its U.S. counterpart, the U.S. Coast Guard. The two agencies will share visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) techniques pierside and at sea during boarding exercises.

“Our Coast Guard training team working with Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency counterparts is a positive progression in the evolution of CARAT,” Burke said. “The same can be said for the incorporation of the Combined Enterprise Regional Information System, or CENTRIXS.”

CENTRIXS is a system that allows navies to communicate and share information in text and web-based formats, erasing some of the language barrier. CENTRIXS will be installed on both the U.S. and Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) ships to provide a means of communication between the ships during the at-sea phase.

During the at-sea phase, a combined U.S./RMN staff will lead the task group from aboard the dock landing ship USS Harper’s Ferry (LSD 49). Some 140 Royal Malaysian Marines will experience life at sea aboard a U.S. Navy ship while embarked aboard Harper’s Ferry.

Besides practicing multi-dimensional skills, both nation’s armed forces will give back to the local community during several medical and dental civic action projects, and a variety of community service events.

“This is simply a way to give something back to the wider communities who host us, while also building some professional and personal ties between the U.S. and Malaysian armed forces personnel who conduct the projects,” Burke said.

The U.S. CARAT task group consists of the dock landing ship Harper's Ferry and the guided-missile frigates USS Jarrett (FFG 33) and USS Ford (FFG 54).

Capt. Al Collins,commander of Destoyer Squadron 1 and Task Group 73.5, is embarked aboard Harpers Ferry, which is the flagship for the exercise and operates from Sasebo, Japan as part of the 7th Fleet’s Forward Deployed Naval Forces. His staff is based in San Diego. Jarrett is homeported in San Diego and Ford is homeported in Everett, Wash.

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