SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia - Approximately 600 U.S. Navy Sailors are joining hundreds of Royal Cambodian navy sailors for six days of maritime safety and security exercises for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Cambodia 2010.
The exercise kicked off Oct. 25th during a ceremony aboard USS Crommelin (FFG 37). Other Navy units participating in CARAT 2010 include the diving and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50), and units conducting training ashore, including Patrol Squadron Nine using the P-3C aircraft (in Phnom Penh), including Expeditionary Maritime Security Squadron Seven, and more.
Rear Adm. Richard Landolt, commander, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, was the senior U.S. Navy representative at the ceremony.
"We have an ambitious schedule planned," said Landolt.
Listing out several training events planned throughout the week, Landolt said that while this was the Royal Cambodian navy's first year with CARAT, "we're already seeing advancements in our interoperability and in the friendships we're building."
CARAT Cambodia 2010 marks the last CARAT exercise of the year, and it is occurring in two phases; the first finished in June, and saw U.S. and Cambodian Marines conducting jungle training near Sihanoukville, along with Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams training near Phnom Penh.
The highlight of this year's exercise will be a series of underway events, during which U.S. and Cambodian navy ships will get underway for the first-ever at-sea maneuvers between the two countries for this exercise.
The training will focus on communications drills and surface gunnery events, marking the first time the two navies have operated at sea as part of a dedicated exercise in more than 40 years.
Other CARAT training will focus on a wide variety of maritime security areas, including diving and salvage operations; port security; small boat handling and maintenance; maritime interdiction; visit, board, search, and seizure operations; maritime aircraft operations; and engineering and medical civic action programs.
Sailors will participate in a series of community service projects, while the U.S. 7th Fleet band "Orient Express" will perform at several schools and community service projects in the Sihanoukville area.
Cambodia became the seventh Southeast Asian country to join CARAT, and the first new country to join the exercise series since it started in 1994.
Other participants include Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. Indonesia participates in the series, but refers to the exercise as "Naval Engagement Activity." Bangladesh also joined the series in late 2010.
For more news from Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, visit www.navy.mil/local/carat/.