CHATTOGRAM, Bangladesh -- The U.S. and Bangladesh navies concluded the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Bangladesh 2019 exercise with a closing ceremony held at the School of Maritime Warfare and Tactics (SMWT) in Chattogram, Nov. 7.
The conclusion of CARAT Bangladesh also marked the end of the 25th Anniversary CARAT season. CARAT, an annual exercise, is designed to address shared maritime concerns and strengthen partnership.
Bangladesh Navy Commodore M. Anwar Hossain, who presided over the ceremony, said that CARAT provided both navies an opportunity to achieve mutual maritime security goals.
“The long-standing partnership between Bangladesh and the United States has contributed to peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” said Hossain, who has participated in each CARAT since Bangladesh joined in 2011.
The exercise included training in a range of capabilities including diving, engineering, aviation, hydrography, maritime domain awareness and maritime law.
U.S. Navy Lt. Ben Ralen, an exercise planner from Destroyer Squadron 7, said one aspect of CARAT’s value is the tailored approach the countries take toward exercise planning and execution.
"It’s been a real honor to work with Bangladesh year after year and see CARAT progress,” said Ralen. “Our Bangladesh Navy CARAT partners are great professionals, and together we worked to address the maritime security priorities in the region.”
During the exercise, a P-8A Poseidon aircraft from Patrol Squadron (VP) 45 simulated the search, locate and tracking processes of submarines with a Bangladesh Navy Dornier-228 NG Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
According to Lt. Mike Langston, an exercise planner from U.S. Navy 7th Fleet’s Task Force 72, giving Sailors the opportunity conduct hands-on training with complex scenarios, builds interoperability, trust and capacity in Maritime Domain Awareness.
Sailors from both the U.S. and Bangladesh attended a community outreach event at Ashar Alo School for Children with Special Needs in Chattogram, where they toured the facility, met with students, and saw a concert.
Participating U.S. assets included Sailors from Task Force 73, Task Force 72, Destroyer Squadron 7, Mobile Diving Salvage Unit One, and a P-8A Poseidon from Patrol Squadron (VP) 45.
CARAT Bangladesh was the final exercise of the 25th Anniversary CARAT Season. CARAT, which began in 1995, is the U.S. Navy's oldest and longest continually running regional exercise in South and Southeast Asia. It strengthens partnerships between regional navies and enhances maritime security cooperation throughout the Indo-Pacific.
CARAT builds upon other engagements in South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands including Pacific Partnership, the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission, Maritime Training Activity Malaysia, Maritime Training Activity Sama Sama (Philippines), Pacific Griffin with Singapore and Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT), which involves nearly a dozen partner nations. These engagements bring like-minded naval forces together routinely based on shared values and maritime security interests.
As U.S. 7th Fleet's executive agent for theater security cooperation in South and Southeast Asia, Commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific/Task Force 73 and Destroyer Squadron 7 conduct advanced planning, organize resources, and directly support the execution of CARAT and other engagements in the region.