US Navy and Timor-Leste Defense Force Build Relationships during Second CARAT
USS KIDD, Dili Port, Timor-Leste - The U.S. Navy and Timor-Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL) concluded the second Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Timor-Leste exercise Feb. 26, with a closing ceremony on board USS Kidd (DDG 100).
Rear Adm. Cindy Thebaud, commander, Task Force 73, and U.S. 7th Fleet's Executive Agent for CARAT, delivered remarks at the ceremony alongside her F-FDTL counterpart, Brig. Gen. Filomeno Paixao De Jesus. More than 60 guests attended the ceremony, including defense attaches representing several Asia-Pacific nations and F-FDTL personnel who participated in the final training scenario on board Kidd earlier in the morning.
Thebaud thanked the F-FDTL for hosting USS Kidd as part of the second annual convening of CARAT, and noted that the week's training events covered essential maritime skills, such as military medicine and navigation, that would contribute to successful follow-on exercises.
"This ship visit, and the many training sessions and professional exchanges held on board Kidd and in Port Hera this week, speak to the strong partnership between our nations and the growing relationship between our navies," said Thebaud.
While in Dili, Thebaud also conducted office calls with senior Timor-Leste leadership, including the prime minister, president and chief of defense force.
CARAT Timor-Leste is part of an annual bilateral exercise series between the U.S. Navy and the naval forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. As a longstanding venue in Southeast Asia, CARAT helps regional navies work together to address shared maritime security priorities during a series of cooperative training events and subject matter exchanges.
The exercise is just one aspect of the permanent U.S.-Timor-Leste partnership, which includes annual port calls by U.S. Navy ships, visits by senior U.S. Navy leaders and ongoing civic action projects by U.S. Navy Seabees.
During CARAT 2014, U.S. Navy Sailors assigned to USS Kidd (DDG 100) and Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3 Construction Civic Action Detail held training with their F-FDTL counterparts across a range of maritie skills, including damage control, military medicine, small boat operations and navigation. In addition to several training events aboard Kidd, Sailors had opportunities to enjoy Dili and interact with its people during visits to the Ahisuan Foundation, Dili Institute of Technology and Resistance Museum.