Lt. Cmdr. David R. Spencer calls out names of pharmacy customers during a Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT)
DIRITA, Philippines (Oct. 8, 2010) Lt. Cmdr. David R. Spencer calls out names of pharmacy customers during a Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Philippines medical civic action project at Dirita Elementary School. Spencer and other members of a U.S. and Philippine navy medical team treated more than 400 patients. CARAT is a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia designed to strengthen relationships and promote maritime security. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason Tross/Released)
U.S., Philippine Navies Kick Off CARAT 2010 In Subic Bay
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jason Tross, Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Public Affairs
SUBIC BAY, Philippines - United States and Philippine Navy Sailors participated in an Oct 13 ceremony in Subic Bay, Philippines, marking the beginning of the annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Philippines exercise

Destroyer Squadron 31 Deputy Commodore Capt. David Welch told the nearly 200 U.S. and Philippine Navy Sailors, dignitaries and media members that the complex bi-lateral maritime security exercise - now in its 16th iteration - is key to keeping the bond between the two allies strong.

"Today marks the start of what promises to be one of the most meaningful, timely and relevant exercises that our two navies have ever undertaken," he said. "Over the next ten days, our people will help propel the relationship between our sea services forward and strengthen the longtime friendship between our nations."

Welch also said that Sailors are expected to conduct meaningful military training and serve people in need ashore while strengthening the U.S.-Philippine partnership over the next ten days.

Throughout the exercise, U.S. and Philippine Navy Sailors 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 boarding operations, maritime aircraft operations, engineering civic action programs, along with traditional at-sea surface operations.

Additionally, more than 2,300 students, their families and neighbors received a variety of treatments – ranging from tooth extractions and to basic preventative medicine and dental hygiene at San Antonio School, Dirita Elementary School and San Miguel National High School.

CARAT participants include the guided missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97), USS Crommelin (FFG 37) and USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50). Units training ashore include Expeditionary Maritime Security Squadron 7, Maritime Patrol Squadron 9, Naval Mobile Construction Squadron 11 and Riverine Squadron One.

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