27 June 2013

USS Fitzgerald docks in Subic for 19th CARAT exercise

The guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) today (Thursday) docked at Alava Pier of former US Ship Repair Facility (SRF) here to participate in the ongoing 19th Philippines-United States Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise.

The Philippines and US Naval forces kicked off the CARAT exercise at the South China Sea right after an opening ceremony on Thursday morning at the former US Naval base here.

The ship's visit and CARAT exercise highlight the strong historic community and military relations between the Philippines and the United States.

The 19th CARAT is a series of bilateral naval exercises between the U.S. Navy and the armed forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor-Leste.

CARAT Philippines began in 1995, and has since occurred in several locations throughout the Philippines, including Cebu (2009), Subic Bay (2010), Puerto Princesa City (2011) and General Santos City (2012).

The training events in each CARAT phase are tailored based on available assets and mutual training goals across a broad range of naval capabilities, according to the US Embassy Information Office advisory.

CARAT Philippines 2013 will focus on maritime security operations, maritime domain awareness and information sharing.

The exercise will also feature extensive training in diving and salvage operations, jungle warfare and marksmanship, tactical combat casualty care, civil affairs, riverine and boarding team scenarios, sporting events, community service projects and public band concert.

On Friday, two more supply ships, the USNS Washington Chamber and USNS Salvor, will arrive in Subic Bay for the offloading of supplies and equipment for the CARAT exercise. (PNA)