SATTAHIP, Thailand - More than 300 U.S. and Thai Sailors and Marines, along with U.S. Coast Guardsmen, kicked off Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Thailand 2010 with an opening ceremony May 14.

The ceremony featured a series of performances by Thai Navy bands and a silent drill team, followed by remarks from Assistant Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Navy (RTN), Adm. Thana Boonnark, and Rear Adm. Nora Tyson, Commander, Task Force 73, who noted how CARAT has evolved into this, its 16th year.

“This year, we’ll also include new areas of training, like riverine and anti-submarine warfare, and unmanned aerial vehicle operations,” Tyson said. The addition of these new specialties is proof that CARAT is adaptable and flexible, and can meet emerging threats.”

Rear Adm. Sundaranaga Chaiyot, Commander, Royal Thai Navy’s Frigate Squadron 2, added that CARAT was the premier exercise for U.S. and Royal Thai Navy forces to improve upon their interoperability.

In addition to the military training aspects, many community service projects have been planned in surrounding areas. These include medical and dental civic action projects, and an engineering civic action project with Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 11 working with Royal Thai Marine forces to construct a new classroom building for a remote primary school.

For more information on the exercise, visit the CARAT Facebook page or the CARAT Website.