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Thailand Phase of CARAT Closes

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080619-08
Release Date: 6/19/2008 3:36:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Dan Meaney, Commander, Task Force 73 Public Affairs

SATTAHIP NAVAL BASE, Thailand (NNS) -- The Thailand phase of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2008, ended with a closing ceremony at Sattahip Naval Base, June 16, following five days of exercises at sea.

The formal ceremony included elements of the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, Royal Thai Navy and the Marine Corps standing at attention in ranks along a two-mile-long pier before assembled ships from the Thai fleet. Bugles sounded and Sailors aboard every vessel saluted as senior officers drove to and from the ceremony.

Rear Adm. Nora W. Tyson, commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific, commended the assembled Sailors and Marines for staying the course despite rough seas, rainy weather and overcast skies to complete what she called the "most successful CARAT Thailand ever."

The exercises of this phase included visit, board, search and seizure training, gunnery training, nine community relations projects, a joint engineering civil action project between Thai and U.S. Seabees, joint medical and dental civil action projects between the two country's sea services and a drone exercise in the Gulf of Thailand. During the drone exercise, the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) corvette HTMS Sukhothai scored a direct hit on an incoming drone at sea with a missile. Nearly 100 cross-decked personnel were involved in the joint training.

Additional training included cross training between an embarked diving and salvage team from USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50) and their Thai counterparts, and a mine clearing operations exercise conducted in the Lam Theian Harbor.

Vice Adm. Chanchai Charoensuwan, deputy commander, Royal Thai Fleet, expressed his appreciation and recognized the U.S. contribution to the exercise.

"We've had a very good relationship for a long time," Charoensuwan said. "We've strengthened our bonds of friendship, and we know we are even more prepared to work together to face any possible regional crises because of this friendship."

With handshakes, military honors, bugle calls and a setting sun, the ceremony brought this year's Thailand CARAT phase to a conclusion.

Ships participating in CARAT include USS Tortuga (LSD 46), USS Jarrett (FFG 33), USS Ford (FFG 54), USNS Safeguard and USCGC Morgenthau (WHEC 722). A detachment from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 133 is embarked on Tortuga, and a unit from Hawaii's 3rd Marine Regiment, Combat Assault Company is also participating in the exercises.

CARAT is an annual series of bilateral military exercises between the United States and Southeast Asia nations designed to promote operational readiness and cooperation.

For more news from Commander, Task Force 73, visit www.navy.mil/local/clwp/.

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