JAKARTA, Indonesia (May 25, 2011) Cmdr. Andree Bergmann, commanding officer of USS Howard (DDG 83), joins traditional Indonesian dancers celebrating her ship's arrival during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia 2011. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist First Class Robert Clowney)

JAKARTA, Indonesia — The arrival of three U.S. Navy ships here May 25 marks the beginning of the 17th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Indonesia exercise.

The first phase of CARAT features events ashore, such as engineering and damage control training exchanges, joint medical, dental and civic action projects, and joint community service projects at local schools. The at-sea phase of CARAT focuses on developing maritime security capabilities in areas such as maritime interdiction, information sharing, combined operations at sea, patrols and gunnery exercises, and anti-piracy and anti-smuggling exercises.

“We’re looking forward to operating at sea with TNI-AL (Indonesian Navy) ships this year,” said Rear Adm. Thomas Carney, Commander, Task Force 73 and the Executive Agent for the exercise. “The TNI-AL have a lot of experience with counter-piracy operations and patrolling some of the world’s busiest waterways, and we’re eager to practice these skills together,” he said.

“The U.S. Navy and TNI-AL have developed a robust training plan, and we expect both Navies will learn a lot about each other throughout the exercise, but particularly at sea,” Carney added.

Approximately 1,600 U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel are participating in CARAT Indonesia 2011. U.S. Navy ships from Task Group 73.1 include the amphibious dock landing ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46), the guided-missile destroyer USS Howard (DDG 83), and the frigate USS Reuben James (FFG 57). Additional participants include an amphibious landing force of Marines from 2nd Battalion, 23rd Marines, U.S. Navy Seabees, and P-3C Orion and SH-60 Seahawk aircraft.

CARAT is a series of bilateral military exercises between the U.S. Navy and the Armed Forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Additionally, Vietnam participates in a CARAT-like skills exchange.

Travel along with the CARAT Task Group on the CARAT Facebook Page.