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Tough training awaits CARAT 2011 participants

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This year’s Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT), a joint military exercises between the United States and the Philippine naval forces, promises to be more challenging and special, according to top US Navy official.

VAdm Scott Van Buskirk, commander of the 7th US Navy fleet and head of the 800-strong US delegates to the exercises in Palawan said that more challenging locations were selected and more difficult training exercises were designed for CARAT 2011 to improve the military capabilities of both countries’ naval fleet.

In a press release, the 6th Civil Relations Group of the AFP said three US navy ships, guided-missile destroyers USS Chung Hoon and USS Howard and diving and salvage ship USNS Safeguard, arrived in Puerto Princesa City on June 28 to participate in the 10-day joint military exercises.

The exercises include both ashore and at-sea training activities. Visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS) exercises, diver training, salvage operations, joint medical, dental and civic action projects, and aircrew familiarization are part of the ashore phase while the at-sea activities include maritime interdiction, information sharing, and combined operations at sea, patrol operations and gunnery training and anti-piracy and anti-smuggling exercises.
Symposia on operations planning, search and rescue practices, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, interagency cooperation and public affairs will also be held as part of the activity.

The bilateral military exercises between the US and the Philippines are yet another proof of the long-standing foundation of the diplomatic relations of both countries, Buskirk said during the opening of CARAT 2011.

He added that the relations between the two countries are not merely a matter of economy and security; they are rooted in tradition, people and shared history.

Held annually, CARAT is part of the US-RP Mutual Defense Treaty of 1951. This was the second time Palawan hosted the joint military training. The first one was in 2008.

A week prior to the opening of the activity, an advance party of the US naval contingent already started the construction of a social hall and comfort rooms in West Elementary School in Barangay Mangingisda of this city.

Other civil military operations scheduled as part of CARAT 2011 with the aim of reaching out to the residents of Palawan are as follows: Medical and Dental Civic Action at Barangay Tagabinet held last June 29; Community Relations Activity at Tagburos Elementary School and Gregorio Oquendo Memorial Elementary School. Free music lessons will also be given to students of the Palawan State University Laboratory High School and Palawan National School. (6CRGAFP/RVC-PIA9 BaSulTa)




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