MUARA, Brunei (Sep 29, 2011) Royal Brunei Navy Sailors greet USS Dewey (DDG 105) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91) at Maura port as they arrive for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Brunei. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Robert Clowney)

MUARA, Brunei (NNS) - The U.S. and Royal Brunei navies began their 17th annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Brunei exercise Sept. 30, with an opening ceremony at Muara Naval Base.

"This is a key year for our exercise, as it marks the first time in two years both the U.S. and Royal Brunei Navies are returning to sea together," said Rear Adm. Thomas Carney, Commander of the U.S. Navy's Task Force 73. "Improving cooperation and advancing interoperability at sea is the cornerstone of CARAT, and we have a short but ambitious schedule of underway events planned."

Approximately 600 U.S. Sailors are participating in CARAT Brunei 2011. Two U.S. ships, the guided missile destroyers USS Dewey (DDG 105) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91), are participating.

During the eight-day exercise, Sailors and from both countries are participating in training exchanges ashore on topics as diverse as maritime domain awareness, search and rescue (SAR), fire fighting and damage control, vessel boarding procedures, and various maritime symposia. U.S. Marines will join Bruneian Land Forces for urban operations and first aid training.

Additionally, several friendship-building events are planned, including band concerts at local schools, community service projects, receptions and sporting events between forces of both nations.

At sea, both U.S. and several Royal Brunei Navy ships for joint helicopter operations, search and rescue practical scenarios, division tactics, surface gunfire drills and more. Participating U.S. aircraft include the P-3C Orion, and the SH-60 Seahawk.

CARAT is a series of annual, bilateral maritime exercises between the U.S. Navy and the Armed Forces of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

For more news from Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training, visit www.navy.mil/local/carat/.