The US Navy and Timor-Leste Navy have started the first Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Timor-Leste 2013 exercise at Port Hera Navy Base, US, aimed at leveraging maritime partnerships between the participating naval forces.
US Ambassador Judith Fergin said that the exercise aims to exercise enhanced mutual cooperation with the Timor-Leste while maintaining peace and security.
During the exercise, marines from US Fleet Antiterrorism and Security Team (FAST), Pacific, and F-FDTL counterparts will perform hands-on skill transfers and combat fundamentals.
Personnel from the US Coast Guard Maritime Training Branch and Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 will also participate in the exercise.
"The contributions that the participants in Exercise CARAT will make this week will strengthen the foundations of cooperation between our two countries for years to come," said Fergin.
Timor-Leste Defense Force (F-FDTL) chief of staff colonel Falur Rate Laek said that the naval and marine exercises would ensure peace, build experience and strengthen the permanent partnership between Timor-Leste and the US.
During the exercise, the US Navy personnel will conduct subject matter expert exchanges with the F-FDTL Navy on several F-FDTL ships in addition to conducting training on engineering, navigation, seamanship and damage control, medical, as well as mechanical and electrical classroom courses.
Representing US forces Logistics Group Western Pacific CARAT liaison officer lieutenant commander Jennie Stone said the CARAT exercise was also designed to enable maritime professionals to share best practices and strengthen partnerships.
"Our partners in the F-FDTL are skilled professionals, and this exercise helps increase interoperability between our forces, while at the same time building personal and professional relationships," Stone added.
The series of annual, bilateral maritime exercises, CARAT is conducted between the US Navy and the armed forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Timor-Leste.
Image: US Ambassador Judith Fergin addresses US and Timorese navies' personnel. Photo: US Navy photo by Prudencio Cabral/Released.