by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jessica Bidwell, Task Force 73 Public Affairs
MUARA, Brunei - Approximately 80 female Sailors from the U.S. and the Royal Brunei Navies shared their service experiences as part of Cooperation Afloat and Readiness Training (CARAT) Brunei 2011 at Muara Naval Base, Oct. 4.
The engagement event fostered camaraderie and partnership between female sailors from both countries and was sponsored by the staff of Task Force 73, along with the guided missile destroyers USS Dewey (DDG 105) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91).
"I would like this to be a place where females can share their opinions and ideas. Today, we have the opportunity to exchange knowledge and walk away more prepared for the everyday challenges that we as females may face," said Royal Brunei Navy Capt. Norharirayati Yakub, event co-organizer event.
During the event, women from the U.S. and the Brunei Navy shared their personal experiences, highlighting experiences that are unique to being a female in an environment where males mostly serve.
Lt. Dk Lyadia Ulandari Pg Hj Muhammad, one of the first females to serve on a Royal Brunei Navy ship, shared her challenges on "earning the respect of male sailors." Ulandari is one of the three females serving on the Kapal Diraja Brunei (KDB) Afiat, a Royal Brunei Navy patrol vessel.
The women assembled into smaller focus groups to discuss further personal and professional experiences they had faced, and how each handled those particular situations.
"This event was a great success," said Lt. Cmdr. Jennie Stone, with the staff of Task Force 73 in Singapore, and another event organizer. "I believe every female that attended today gained perspectives that will assist them during their career. Even better, the females of both the U.S. and Royal Brunei Navies came to better understand each others cultures, and formed bonds that will lead to closer engagement in the future."
CARAT is a series of annual, bilateral maritime exercises between the U.S. Navy and the Armed Forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.