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SURABAYA, Indonesia (May 29, 2012) - Traditional Reog Ponorogo dancers welcome the crew of the guided-missile frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) to Surabaya marking the beginning of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia 2012. CARAT 2012 is a nine-country, bilateral exercise between the United States and Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Timor Leste and is designed to enhance maritime security skills and operational cohesiveness among participating forces. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Sandra Arnold/Released)
CARAT Exercise Underway in Indonesia 
SURABAYA, Indonesia - The 18th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise between the U.S. Navy and Indonesian Navy (IDN) began May 29 with the arrival of a U.S. Navy Task Group and Marine landing force in Surabaya, Indonesia.

The exercise is designed to enhance maritime security skills and operational cohesiveness among participating forces. It also focuses on relationship building between military participants through sports and social events, and improving relationships with the civilian community through civic action projects and community service events.

U.S. Navy ships participating in CARAT 2012 include the dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42), guided missile frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48), U.S. Coast Guard national security cutter USCGC Waesche (WMSL-751) and the diving and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS 50).

CARAT is a series of bilateral military exercises between the U.S. Navy and the armed forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Timor Leste joins the exercise for the first time in 2012.

While the training in each phase of CARAT varies based on shared goals of Indonesia and the U.S., a common theme is the development of maritime security capabilities, and increasing interoperability among participants. Skill areas exercised during CARAT include Maritime Interception Operations; riverine, amphibious and undersea warfare operations; diving and salvage operations; naval gunnery and maneuvering events, along with disaster response exercises.

Capt. Dave Welch, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 31, based in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, will lead CARAT Task Group 73.1.

"The fact that CARAT continues to grow into its 18th year speaks volumes about both the relationship between our U.S. and Indonesian forces and this exercise," said Welch. "We are natural partners and friends, and we look forward to another successful year advancing that great relationship between our navies and armed forces."

Other CARAT participants include Marines from Company F, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, who will work with Indonesian KORMAR forces, P-3C Orion and SH-60 Seahawk aircraft, the the U.S. 7th Fleet band, and others.

Approximately 1,000 U.S. personnel are participating in CARAT Indonesia 2012.
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