| James Kon |
THE United States Navy has described its strong military ties with Brunei Darussalam as “very special” as the 20th Annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Exercise Series began yesterday.
“We have carried out the CARAT Exercise with the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF) for 20 years and it is (the military relationship) something very special to us,” said Rear Admiral Charlie Williams, Commander of Task Force 73 and the US Seventh Fleet’s Executive Agent for Theatre Security Cooperation in South and Southeast Asia.
Speaking at a press conference, he said he does not foresee any change in the CARAT Exercise, adding that the US military conducts other events with Brunei in the course of the year.
Also present at the press conference was US Commodore Captain Fred W Kacher, who commended the RBAF for their professionalism in the CARAT Exercise.
“We learn from each other in the exercise and every time we come to Brunei, our military personnel benefit by learning from our partner and our partner will also learn from us,” he added.
Asked about the benefits of the CARAT Exercise in a real situation, Rear Admiral Williams cited the skills and knowledge that were put into use in the humanitarian efforts after a super typhoon ravaged the Philippines last year.
“It (exercise) made working (together) in a real situation that much easier if we have already worked together. Last year, Brunei and US ships worked together off the coast of the Philippines to render aid and disaster relief following the super typhoon. ”
The Commanding Officer of the USS Rodney M Davis, a US Navy frigate, Todd E Whalen and Mark Dieker, Deputy Chief of Mission in the US Embassy was also present at the press conference.