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CARAT Indonesia Underway in Surabaya

CARAT Indonesia Underway in Surabaya

By Lt. Chuck Bell, Logistics Group Western Pacific Public Affairs.

Surabaya, Indonesia -- (NNS) July 26, 2005 -- The Indonesia phase of the 2005 edition of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series got off to a formal start July 26 with a ceremony at the Indonesian naval base here.

Surabaya, Indonesia (July 25, 2005) - Indonesian Marines stand a vigilant watch on the pier in Surabaya, Indonesia following the guided missile frigate USS Rodney M. Davis’s (FFG 60) arrival for the Indonesian phase of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT). Rodney M. Davis is participating in the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise. CARAT is a regularly scheduled series of bilateral military training exercises with several Southeast Asia nations designed to enhance interoperability of the respective sea services. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Chuck Bell.

 U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Chuck Bell

Sailors and officers from the staff of Destroyer Squadron 1 and the frigate USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60), which arrived in Surabaya July 25, attended the ceremony in a reception hall filled to capacity with nearly 100 Indonesian navy sailors and officers.

Approximately 800 U.S. Navy personnel and a three-ship task group are taking part in this phase of CARAT, along with several U.S. Coast Guardsmen and a U.S. Army veterinarian.

During the ceremony, several individual Indonesian navy officers marched dramatically through the hall and to the stage to make reports to the senior Indonesian navy representative present, Rear Adm. Waldi Murad, commander of his navy’s training command.

In addition to Rodney M. Davis, the dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and rescue and salvage ship USS Safeguard (ARS 50) are participating in CARAT, under the leadership of Destroyer Squadron 1’s commander, Capt. Buzz Little, who is serving as the CARAT task group commander throughout the six-nation exercise series.

Four Indonesian navy ships are scheduled to take part.

In Indonesia, Little’s forces will conduct a variety of exercise events with the Indonesian navy, including visit, board, search and seizure drills and maritime surveillance drills utilizing a P-3C Orion aircraft.

“We are all aware of the many maritime threats that exist in this region and around the world,” said Rear Adm. Kevin Quinn, commander of Logistics Group Western Pacific and the U.S. Navy’s executive agent for CARAT in his role as Commander, Task Force 712, during his remarks at the ceremony.

These threats range from piracy and armed robbery against ships, to maritime terrorism.

“CARAT gives us an ideal opportunity to further develop skills that are applicable to combating these maritime threats,” Quinn said.

And while a focus of CARAT Indonesia is the development of maritime security capabilities, the two navies will also conduct a number of standard surface warfare drills in areas such as communications and maneuvering that Quinn described as “classic” naval exercise events that are critical when ships of any nation operate together at sea.

“There are any number of scenarios whereby elements of our navies might be required to communicate or work together at sea, and the more we rehearse the standard procedures during exercises such as CARAT, the more proficient we’ll be,” Quinn said. “This leads to efficiency and minimizes the potential for misunderstandings.”

Murad agreed. “All the exercise activities are based on [building] understanding and cooperation between the participants,” he said during his remarks.

Such events include the scheduled embarkation of approximately 30 Indonesian marines aboard Harpers Ferry by a landing craft, air cushion (LCAC), where they will spend a day familiarizing themselves with cargo handling techniques and other facets of amphibious operations.

Ashore, a series of discussions on topics such as maritime law are designed to further increase understanding between the two navies.

A dental team from Quinn’s staff in Singapore will also provide routine care to local residents during the exercise.

“This is a key way in which we are able to expand our interaction with Indonesian men and women, outside of military circles,” Quinn said. The team will work alongside Indonesian medical and dental professionals for three days, while a U.S. Army veterinarian from the Yokosuka Branch of the Japan District Veterinary Command provides services nearby.

In addition, as part of CARAT outreach efforts, Indonesian marines have spent the past week making infrastructure improvements to a local school and a nearby community center, as well as paving a stretch of road, all with U.S.-provided funding.

These types of initiatives “allow us to show our appreciation to the Indonesian people for having us here as guests in Surabaya,” said Quinn, who also spoke of the U.S. Navy’s humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in Sumatra and Nias Island earlier this year, two efforts in which the Indonesian navy played a role, as well. “These are examples of situations in which naval forces can make a significant contribution to bettering the lives of civilians in need,” he said.

“This exercise has been conducted many times,” Murad said. “CARAT 05 should be better than previous exercises.”

This is the 9th edition of CARAT Indonesia, dating back to 1995. Exercises in 2003 and 2004 were postponed at the request of the Indonesian navy.

Indonesia is the fourth phase of the CARAT 2005 exercise series. Previous exercises this year have taken place in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia. Phases with Brunei and the Philippines will close out the series.

Little’s staff is based in San Diego. Harpers Ferry and Safeguard are forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan. Rodney M. Davis is homeported in Everett, Wash., and has an embarked SH-60B Seahawk helicopter from Helicopter Anti-submarine Squadron (Light) (HSL) 45, based at Naval Air Station North Island, Calif. The P-3C is crewed by personnel from Patrol Squadron (VP) 40, based at Whidbey Island, Wash.

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).