KINGFISHER began as a small-scale passing exercises. Training is conducted in anti- submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and anti-air warfare.
The Royal Brunei Land Forces (RBLF) participate in an exercise with the United States Marine Corps (USMC). The exercise is part of the annual bilateral exercise CARAT/KINGFISHER between the US Navy and the Royal Brunei Navy.
Approximately 800 sailors made up the combined Brunei team in the sixth CARAT exercise (also called exercise KINGFISHER by the Royal Brunei Navy). The combined training for the Brunei phase included anti-piracy and law-of-the-sea training conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard. The two forces also conducted search and rescue exercises. And, for the first time, U.S. Navy special warfare units were able to conduct combined training with their Bruneian counterparts.
Diving operations, another aspect of CARAT in Brunei, were supported by the crew of USS Safeguard (ARS 50). U.S. and Brunei Navy divers logged more than 1,000 minutes of bottom time. U.S. Navy participants learned something new from their counterparts during these operations. Brunei Navy divers demonstrated an alternate method for attaching buddy pairs via line. The crew of USS Safeguard says it is reviewing this method for possible inclusion in U.S. Navy diving procedures.
During the week, five Royal Brunei Navy ships and two U.S. Navy frigates conducted at-sea warfare training. The exercise entailed live-fire target practice that gave the Royal Brunei Navy an opportunity to test its warfighting abilities. A five-hour night encounter exercise was the highlight of the Brunei phase, said one sailor. Splitting the two frigates and the U.S. aircraft between blue and orange forces allowed for interactive combined planning. Both navies say they gained insight into each other's capabilities, limitations, and tactics.
For the first time, U.S. Navy special warfare units were invited to train with their Bruneian counterparts. U.S. Navy SEALs engaged in an aggressive exercise series, including small boat tactics, jungle training, sniper operations, and ambush techniques.
An annual bilateral exercise pays big dividends in a small Southeast Asian country which made its money in oil. USS Wadsworth (FFG 9) and USS Curts (FFG 38), both out of San Diego moored at Maura Port 30 July 2001 just in time to launch the final phase of the annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercise series. CARAT, the U.S. Navy's premier bilateral exercise series in the Western Pacific, aims to enhance regional cooperation and increase interoperability. Although this marked the seventh CARAT here, the United States and Brunei have exercised together for more than a decade.
Bruneians call the annual engagement Kingfisher - an exercise in which the two countries have worked together for the past 13 years. The exercise's importance has always been valued not only on its operational and tactical training but also on creating mutual understanding and friendship between the two forces. More importantly it would further strengthen defense relations between the countries in particular between the United States Armed Forces and the Royal Brunei Armed Forces. Leaders from both countries say their troops benefit from the annual engagement.
In 2001 the U.S. CARAT Task Group includes 1,200 Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. For the first time, U.S. Marines were taking part in CARAT Brunei. They will march through the country's jungle with the Royal Brunei Landing Force jungle refining navigational and war fighting skills. Wadsworth and Curts got underway Aug. 31 for the at-sea portion of the exercise. CARAT gives Sailors and junior officers a chance to refine their seamanship and navigational skills.
Brunei was the six and final stop for the CARAT team which traveled through Southeast Asia this summer in support of the exercise. Other countries participating include Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.
The RBLF and USMC exercise codenamed "Green Canopy" involved a battalion exercise with players consisting of an infantry company of RBLF and a company from USMC. This is the first infantry bilateral exercise between the RBAF and US Army with the aim of enhancing existing close relations between the two armed forces.
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