JAKARTA, Indonesia (NNS) -- JAKARTA, Indonesia - The forward-deployed amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) arrived in Jakarta today, marking the beginning of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training 2013 (CARAT '13), May 21.
CARAT is a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships between the United States and partner nations. The exercise serves as a model of how the navies can cooperate and work together to address shared security concerns.
"The U.S. and Indonesia have a working relationship that is continuing to grow stronger with common shared goals," said Cmdr. John Barnett, Commanding Officer, USS Tortuga. "We share democratic and seafaring traditions as well as a mutual desire to maintain stability in this region."
The exercise will be comprised of a series of events directed to strengthening both navies' ability to respond to humanitarian and disaster assistance events, maintain maritime security, and improving communications procedures.
"CARAT increases our interoperability during humanitarian operations," said Cmdr. Doug Patterson, Executive Officer, USS Tortuga. "That continued development is paramount, given the collaborative efforts our navies have provided during major humanitarian assistance operations in recent years."
During the exercise, Sailors and embarked personnel will be afforded opportunities to explore the rich culture and heritage of Indonesia as well as interact directly with their Indonesian military counterparts.
"It's always important to be able to share our knowledge with our Indonesian partners and receive their expertise in return," said Barnett. "It allows us to grow stronger in our abilities to maintain security and provide assistance when needed."
The exercise will begin with an opening ceremony at Hall YosSoedarso, Western Fleet Command headquarters where members of the United States Navy, Marine Corps, and members of the Indonesian military will attend.
"CARAT is a great opportunity for us to serve as goodwill ambassadors of the U.S. promoting peace and stability," said Patterson. "As well as demonstrating our commitment to regional partnerships and maintaining a strong working relationship with our Indonesian friends."
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For more news from Commander, Amphibious Force, U.S. 7th Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/ctf76/.