U.S. - Bangladesh navies team up for first time in CARAT exercise

110918-N-HA376-084 CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh (Sept. 18, 2011) The Bangladesh Navy Band performs on the pier as the mine countermeasures ship ...

110918-N-HA376-084 CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh (Sept. 18, 2011) The Bangladesh Navy Band performs on the pier as the mine countermeasures ship USS Defender (MCM 2) arrives in Chittagong. Defender is in Chittagong for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Bangladesh 2011, a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships and enhance force readiness. CARAT Bangladesh 2011 marks the first time the Bangladesh navy has participated in the exercise series. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Lowell Whitman/Released)
For the first time, the Bangladesh navy is participating in the U.S.-led Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercises, Navy officials said.

The Bangladesh leg of the 17th annual exercises began Sunday and will last for eight days, according to a Navy news release.

Four U.S. Navy ships and approximately 500 servicemembers will participate in the training. In addition to community relations projects in Bangladesh, servicemembers from both countries will participate in dive training, riverine warfare, helicopter operations, ship boarding, and medical service projects, the release said.

There are eight countries — Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand — participating in CARAT this year. Each phase of the exercise is planned by the U.S. Navy and the host nation’s maritime forces.

“We’ve got a challenging schedule to complete over the next 8 days, including an aggressive range of at-sea events,” said Rear Adm. Tom Carney, commander of Task Force 73 and the executive agent for the exercise. “The friendships, understanding and trust we develop between the next generation of naval leaders are equally important to what we learn and exercise at sea.”

The ships participating in the Bangladesh exercise include the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd, the frigate USS Ford, the mine countermeasures ship USS Defender and the dive and salvage rescue ship USNS Safeguard.

Petty officer 1st Class Jullian Torres, a hospital corpsman attached to Riverine Squadron One, discuses hand signals used in operations with a group of Bangladesh navy sailors during riverine training. RIVRON-1 is taking part in this year's Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Bangladesh 2011. CARAT 2011 is a series of bilateral exercises held annually in Southeast Asia to strengthen relationships and enhance force readiness.
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