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NEWS | Jan. 17, 2023

CARAT/MAREX Singapore Concludes, Strengthening Maritime Cooperation

By Lt.j.g. Mohammad Issa Destroyer Squadron 7 Public Affairs

SINGAPORE -- Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT)/Marine Exercise (MAREX) Singapore 2022 concluded in Singapore, Jan. 13, following five days of in-person and at-sea engagements that enhanced collaboration between the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) and U.S. military.

CARAT/MAREX Singapore took place ashore at RSS Singapura - Changi Naval Base (CNB) and in the waters around Singapore, Jan. 9-13.

“CARAT Singapore, a bilateral exercise between Singapore and the United States designed to promote regional security and cooperation, is one of the ways we demonstrate our shared commitment,” said Rear Adm. Mark Melson, commander, Logistics Group Western Pacific/Task Force 73. “We do that by maintaining a strong mil-to-mil bilateral relationship, one that is rooted in a shared vision of operating in a rules based international order.”

The RSN participated with an Endurance-class landing ship tank RSS Endurance (207) and the U.S. participated with San Antonio-class landing platform dock USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26), Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), and embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).

During the shore phase, personnel conducted joint planning and subject matter expert exchanges in CNB, while the sea phase saw the ships conducting various exercise serials such as ship-to-shore training in waters off Pulau Sudong. The ship-to-shore training included two fast craft utility from Endurance and a landing craft utility from John P. Murtha with embarked Sailors and Marines.

“Since its inaugural iteration in 1995, Exercise CARAT has served as an important cooperative endeavor between the RSN and the USN, reinforcing the excellent and long-standing bilateral defense relations between Singapore and the U.S.,” said RSN’s Commander Third Flotilla Col. Ang Jeng Kai. “Furthermore, Exercise CARAT has served as an effective medium for both navies to strengthen navy-to-navy relations by enhancing cooperation, furthering mutual understanding, and deepening personal and professional ties between personnel.”

Shipboard tours, band performances, and cultural exchanges also took place during the exercise as well as a sports day involving junior Sailor and Marines. Senior enlisted leaders from the U.S. also participated in an exchange with their RSN counterparts aboard CNB, Endurance and John P. Murtha.

"We share the same priorities towards regional security, stability and prosperity," said Capt. Doug Langenberg, commanding officer of John P. Murtha. "The opportunity to train side by side with the Republic of Singapore Navy and conduct ship-to-shore exercises, will further our bilateral maritime goals and enhance our overall proficiency."

Personnel from the Singapore Guards and a CH-47 Chinook helicopter from the Republic of Singapore Air Force were also involved in the exercise. Additional U.S. personnel participating in the exercise included: personnel from U.S. 7th Fleet, Commander Task Force (CTF) 73, CTF 76/3, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7, and Amphibious Squadron (COMPHIBRON) 7.

“One of my favorite things about CARAT Singapore was the relationships we developed,” said Col. Samuel L. Meyer, commander of 13th MEU. “Singapore feels like a second home after the warm welcome from the Singapore Armed Forces and people of Singapore. We cherish the bonds we’ve made and look forward to the next opportunity to work together.”

CARAT/MAREX Singapore is a bilateral exercise between Singapore and the United States designed to promote regional security cooperation, maintain and strengthen maritime partnerships, and enhance maritime cooperation. In its 28th year, the CARAT series is comprised of multinational exercises, designed to enhance U.S. and partner navies’ abilities to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group and the 13th MEU are trained to operate in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

As the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed destroyer squadron in Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 serves as the primary tactical and operational commander of littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to Singapore, functions as CTF 76/3 Sea Combat Commander, and builds partnerships through training exercises and military-to-military engagements as the executing agent of CTG CARAT.

CTF 76/3 recently formed as a result of merging the staffs of Navy's Task Force 76, 7th Fleet, and 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with 35 maritime nations in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
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