2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment Marines Disembark USS Ashland After Participation in CARAT


Story Number: NNS160705-04Release Date: 7/5/2016 10:33:00 AM
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By Lance Cpl. Carl King, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet Public Affairs

OKINAWA, Japan (NNS) -- U.S. Sailors and Marines with Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment disembarked the forward-deployed Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) in Okinawa, Japan, after several training engagements in the region, July 4.

The Marines returned to Okinawa after participating in exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) with Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

CARAT is a nine-country, bilateral exercise series between the United States and Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Timor-Leste. The CARAT series remains ongoing in the region.

"CARAT was [a] very new experience for a vast majority of the landing force and there was a lot of enthusiasm because of what we were able to accomplish out there with our Pacific partners," said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Andrew Hornfeck, company commander of Easy Company, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.

CARAT allowed U.S. service members to show partner nations the amphibious capabilities the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps possess when working together, while also building relationships in the Pacific.

The Marines, being ambassadors of the United States in the places they visited, took joy in teaching and learning from their Pacific counterparts.

"It was a good experience," said U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Zachary Wiggins, an automatic rifleman with Easy Company. "I would definitely come back on the next deployment if I get the opportunity."

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RELATED PHOTOS
U.S. Marines, assigned to Company Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, conduct an amphibious exercise with service members of the Philippine Marine Corps.
160607-M-MO883-148 INAGAWAN BEACH (June 7, 2016) U.S. Marines, assigned to Company Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines, conduct an amphibious exercise with service members of the Philippine Marine Corps. The service members participated in a number of classes and exercises with the Marines and Sailors aboard the USS Ashland (LSD 48) in support of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training. CARAT is a series of annual, bilateral maritime exercises between the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the armed forces of nine partner nations to include Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Timor-Leste. The Ashland is assigned to the U.S. 7th Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Lance Cpl. Carl King Jr./Released)
June 8, 2016
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