USS Ashland (LSD 48) prepares to anchor off Malaysia May 31 to offload Marines and Sailors taking part in exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training there. (U.S. Navy/MCSN Raymond D. Diaz III)

SINGAPORE - The Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) arrived in Singapore June 1 after disembarking Marines and Sailors in Kuantan, Malaysia, to participate in exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014.

The visit to Singapore gives Ashland Sailors a few days to rest, relax and reset between phases of the bilateral exercise series, CARAT 2014, which commenced last month and will continue through the end of 2014 in various locations through South and Southeast Asia.

Ashland will participate in several phases of CARAT 2014 along with Sailors and Marines assigned to the embarked landing force, known as LFCARAT, as part of an ongoing Western Pacific deployment.

"The crew of Ashland has worked incredibly hard over the past nine months, including a hull swap with USS Tortuga, Operation Damayan in support of the Philippines typhoon relief, the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group Spring Patrol, and a number of certifications and inspections during these missions," said Cmdr. Doug Patterson, commanding officer, USS Ashland. "Ashland has a superb operational reputation, and our chain of command recognized that and graciously supported our request to spend time in Singapore."

Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) events offered in Singapore include trips to Universal Studios Singapore, the Night Safari, Southeast Asia Aquarium, and a cultural tour.

After the visit to Singapore, Ashland will return to Malaysia to participate in CARAT with the Royal Malaysian Navy.

In its 20th year, CARAT occurs annually between the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the armed forces of nine partner nations in the region. CARAT addresses shared maritime security priorities and concerns, strengthens maritime partnerships, and enhances interoperability among participating forces.