Sixth Phase of Southeast Asia Exercise Series Underway
Sixth Phase of Southeast Asia Exercise Series Underway
By Chief Journalist Melinda Larson, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 1 Public
Subic Bay, Philippines -- (NNS)
August 16, 2005 -- The sixth and final phase of the 2005
Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series is underway
here following an Aug. 16 ceremony that marked an official start to a weeklong
series of events ashore and at sea focused on increasing maritime interdiction
capabilities of the U.S. and Philippine navies.
Navy photo by Chief Journalist Melinda Larson
Nearly 2,000 personnel from the armed forces of both nations and nine ships are
taking part in the exercise.
In its 11th year, CARAT is an annual series of bilateral military training
exercises with several Southeast Asia nations, designed to enhance the
interoperability of the countries' respective sea services in a variety of
mission areas that are mutually beneficial. This year’s CARAT series focuses on
the development of skills useful in tackling maritime threats.
“These threats include maritime piracy and armed robbery, as well as maritime
terrorism and transnational crimes committed at sea," said Commander, Task Force
712, Rear Adm. Kevin Quinn, the executive agent for CARAT, during remarks at the
opening ceremony in the Subic Arts Center. "This year’s edition of CARAT gives
our two navies a great opportunity to practice some critical skills that can be
applied to tackling those threats.
”Those skills important to building operational confidence between the U.S. Navy
and the Philippine Navy (PN) include sharing maritime security skill sets, such
as how to board a suspected rogue ship, question its crew, and search for
“Piracy and sea robbery tend to be focused in this region of the world,” Quinn
told the media following the opening ceremony. “Having the ability to work
together to counteract those threats is very important.”
Acting on threats together means working jointly in nearly every shipboard
environment, including communications, at-sea maneuvering, and command and
control. Air and amphibious operations are also a part of the training mix.
“All of our exercise events are designed to create as much interaction as
possible between our Sailors and Marines,” Quinn said. “The only way two navies
can operate efficiently together at sea is through a common set of procedures
and through good communications.”
Key to every level of operations is communications, Quinn emphasized, noting
that will be possible between both navies via the Combined Enterprise Regional
Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS). The real-time communications asset
promotes joint situational awareness and allows information to be shared
One of many highlights of the weeklong exercise includes an amphibious landing.
More than 150 Philippine Marines will embark USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) to
conduct a landing with landing craft, air-cushion (LCAC) from Assault Craft Unit
5, Det. Western Pacific Alpha, currently assigned to the ship.
“Basically a navy-to-navy exercise, CARAT specifically involves combined naval
tactical operations involving fleet forces by deploying and employing naval
surface, air, special operations groups and Marine forces of the U.S. and the
Philippines,” Commander, Philippine Fleet, Rear Adm. Alfredo Abueg Jr. said
during his opening remarks. “This exercise is a very strategic and operative
venue in which our Sailors and Marines train cross-culturally with those of the
Pierside boardings will prepare combined USN/PN boarding teams for a realistic
at-sea boarding exercise.
Divers will hone their skills during combined diving and salvage exercises.
“Our Sailors must be well trained in the various skills that form the foundation
of their professional knowledge,” Quinn said. “CARAT adds extra value to these
efforts because our forces train together and learn from each other.” Sailors
will also interact with members of the local community through a series of
medical/dental and engineering civic action projects in the surrounding area. In
addition, Sailors will perform handiwork and spend time with students at several
schools in nearby Olongapo.
“The interface between our people is a true hallmark of CARAT and one of the
most important aspects of the exercise,” Quinn said.
Capt. Buzz Little, commander, Destroyer Squadron 1 and the CARAT task group will
lead the combined USN/PN CARAT task group, along with his PN counterpart,
Commodore Octavio Pabuayon.
The U.S. CARAT task group is made of up of the dock landing ship Harpers Ferry,
the frigate USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60), the guided-missile destroyer USS Paul
Hamilton (DDG 60) and the rescue and salvage ship USS Safeguard (ARS 50).
Other elements, including P-3C Orion and SH-60 Seahawk aircraft, U.S. Navy
Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5, based in Port
Huenemme, Calif., LCACs, a U.S. Coast Guard training team, and U.S. Army
veterinarians will also take part in CARAT Philippines.
Philippine CARAT assets include the patrol ships BRP Rizal (PS74), BRP Emelio
Jacinto (PS35), the landing ship vessel BRP Bacolod City (LC550), and the two
patrol gunboats BRP Hilario Ruiz (PG378) and BRP Timoteo Figoracion (PG389).
Fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, two Naval Special Operations Groups, and
the 1st Marine Battalion will be involved with the exercise.
Little’s staff, currently embarked aboard Harpers Ferry, is based in San Diego.
Paul Hamilton is homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and Rodney M. Davis in
Everett, Wash. Harpers Ferry and Safeguard are forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan.