By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW) Eric J. Cutright, Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Public Affairs
CHANGI, Singapore (NNS) -- Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Singapore 2010 kicked off with an opening ceremony held at the Fleet Auditorium at Changi Naval Base in Changi, Singapore, July 6.
U.S. Sailors and Coast Guardsmen took part in the opening ceremony, with the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) hosting the event.
The ceremony marked the 16th year that the U.S. military and Singapore have worked together in the bilateral exercise, which has the longest at-sea phase of the CARAT exercise series.
"The U.S. and Singapore enjoy a very warm and special relationship that goes back a long way," said RSN Fleet Commander, Rear Adm. Joseph Leong. "Through the use of combat procedures and communication systems, our men and women have achieved a certain level of interoperability and confidence working with one another."
Real-world events have shaped ties between the U.S. and Singapore Navy, and CARAT has fostered that relationship, said Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific and Task Force 73, Rear Adm. Nora Tyson.
"During CARAT last year, I talked about the changing environment in which we operate," said Tyson. "We talked about those threats. Piracy, particularly in the Western Indian Ocean, but also nearby in the South China Sea, remains a serious threat to shipping and free trade, not to mention our mariners themselves.
"The shuffling scenarios and warfare area focus is proof that CARAT is adaptable and flexible, and can meet these emerging threats. Put another way, CARAT's size belies its importance. It is a key exercise and is the primary mechanism our countries use to translate our shared maritime concerns into action," said Tyson.
Participants for CARAT Singapore 2010 include USS Princeton (CG 59), USS Jacksonville (SSN 699), USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93), USCGC Mellon (WHEC 717) and USNS Amelia Earhart (T-AKE 6).
Operations being conducted for CARAT Singapore include several ashore events such as medical, logistics and aviation symposiums, community service projects, ship boarding and law enforcement exchanges. At-sea events include joint helicopter operations, air and surface gunnery exercises, missile firings, anti-submarine warfare events and tactical freeplay events.
CARAT is a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships and to enhance force readiness. CARAT 2010 features all six original partner nations, including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, as well as two new participants, Cambodia and Bangladesh.
The total number of forces scheduled to participate in the exercise include approximately 17,600 personnel, 50 aircraft and 73 ships.