| Achong Tanjong |
THE 20th series of the Brunei phase of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014, a five-day joint exercise between Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) and United States Navy (USN), was officially concluded by the Joint Force Commander (JFC), Colonel Haji Zainal Ariffin bin Dato Paduka Haji Ahmad, at the Multi-National Coordination Centre in Muara yesterday.
Present at the closing ceremony was Captain Frederick Kacher, Commodore of Destroyer Squadron (COMDESRON) 7, Deputy Command Task Group (DCTG), Lt Col (L) Muhd Hadi Syarifuddin bin Abdullah Mega and other senior officers from RBAF and USN.
Colonel Haji Zainal Ariffin in his closing speech expressed his gratitude to all involved in the CARAT 2014 exercise for their effort in making the drill a success. He also congratulated the combined team for successfully making a sound plan for the exercise.
He added that the exercise had provided opportunity to further strengthen the two countries’ existing relationship through networking, interaction and mutual understanding. The exercise has also enabled personnel to exchange their knowledge and skills that will benefit both forces. He also hoped that the exercise will help build their confidence in facing challenges ahead and bring them to work together.
Meanwhile, Captain Frederick Kacher thanked the RBAF for their hospitality as well as appriciated the friendship and cooperation shown by both forces during the exercise.
The RBAF and USN make use of the CARAT exercise to enhance cooperative efforts in addressing shared security concerns. This includes trainings for maritime security tasks, communication procedures and amphibious operations. The CARAT exercise also provides an important platform for military officers and personnel from both countries to exchange knowledge and experience towards increasing interoperability.
During the joint exercise, both forces optimised the opportunities to strengthen the relationships between the two countries by allowing greater interaction outside the usual working environment through joint military training, opening and closing ceremonies as well as having sailors and marines from both countries working together.
Both forces also held several symposiums covering Maritime Crimes and Syariah Law and community services projects such as joint band of RBAF and 7th Fleet Band at The Mall Gadong, Pusat Ehsan and Jerudong Amusement Park.
CARAT is an annual series of bilateral military exercise between United States and several Southeast Asian Nations.