SIHANOUKVILLE, Cambodia (NNS) -- U.S. and Royal Cambodian navy (RCN) service members completed the 7th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise in Cambodia with a closing ceremony at Ream Navy Base, Nov. 4.
Throughout the five-day exercise, U.S. Sailors and Marines engaged in training with their RCN counterparts in the fields of security operations, force protection, small boat operations and maintenance, amphibious operations, communications, preventive medicine, and casualty assistance. The capstone event was a comprehensive field training exercise (FTX), where the training from the previous days was put to practical use.
"The more we train together, the better we can respond together," said William Heidt, U.S. ambassador to Cambodia. "We take great pride in knowing that these skills could one day aid the people of Cambodia and ease the suffering of those affected by natural disaster."
During the FTX, service members responded to a simulated natural disaster. The teams arrived on shore via small boats and one RCN landing craft utility (LCU), and assessed the area for damage and casualties, which the teams relayed back to headquarters. Once the damage and casualties were reported, the two teams provided medical assistance to injured personnel, set a security perimeter, and performed evacuations.
"The field training exercise was a significant event in this year's CARAT, as it allowed our teams to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they trained on throughout the week," said Capt. Jeffrey Kilian, commodore, 30th Naval Construction Regiment. "I was very impressed with how our teams executed while working together through a complex, yet realistic scenario."
The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet Band "Orient Express" performed at the M'Lop Tapang Orphanage, Don Bosco Technical School, Ream Primary School, and Village D'enfant as community service events were held throughout the week. Additionally, the band performed a public concert at "The Old Bus Station" in downtown Sihanoukville.
"It's always a pleasure to perform here in Cambodia," said Senior Chief Petty Officer Guy Gregg, assistant director, 7th Fleet Band. "The public concerts are well attended, and the crowd really enjoys the music and entertainment the band provides."
Approximately 150 U.S. Sailors and Marines and 200 Royal Cambodian sailors participated in CARAT Cambodia 2016. Units participating from the U.S. included Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5; Sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5; Coastal Riverine Group (CRG) 2; Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit (NEPMU) 6; and Marines from 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment.
Many of the U.S. service members and their equipment arrived in Cambodia aboard USNS Millinocket (T-EPF 3), a Spearhead-class expeditionary fast transport.
Held consecutively since 2010, CARAT Cambodia is a bilateral training exercise to increase cooperation and enhance maritime security between the U.S. and Cambodian navies.
CARAT is a series of bilateral naval exercises between the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and the armed forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor-Leste. CARAT 2016 is the most complex series to date. Its continuing relevance for more than two decades speaks to the high quality of exercise events, and the enduring value of regional cooperation among allies and partners in south and southeast Asia.
Commander, Task Force (CTF) 75, is the primary expeditionary task force responsible for the planning and execution of coastal riverine operations, explosive ordnance disposal and diving engineering and construction in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
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