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Vandegrift, Sampson, Waesche Arrive in Singapore for CARAT

15 July 2012

From Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) N. Ross Taylor

The three ships arrived at Changi Naval Base July 15 and will participate in exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Singapore 2012.

SINGAPORE - The guided-missile frigate USS Vandegrift (FFG 48), guided-missile destroyer USS Sampson (DDG 102) and U.S. Coast Guard Legend-class national security cutter USCGC Waesche (WMSL 751) arrived in Singapore, July 15.

The three ships will participate in exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Singapore 2012.

Captain Dave Welch commands Task Group 73.1 for the second consecutive year. "It is always a pleasure to visit Singapore and exercise with the Singapore Armed Forces," Welch said. "The Republic of Singapore Navy is filled with absolute professionals, and both navies gain great training and readiness benefit from this key interaction."

CARAT is a series of bilateral, flexible military exercises designed to enhance regional cooperation, promote understanding and build trust between participating military forces. Its scenarios are tailored to meet evolving threats like counter-piracy and maritime interception operations, in addition to providing a venue to share the latest humanitarian assistance and disaster relief practices.

"I feel fortunate to be able to take part in the experience that exercise CARAT provides," said Vandegrift Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Brandon Bryan. "This is a wonderful opportunity for our two navies to come together and work towards strengthening our relationships and increasing our ability to operate together, both ashore and at sea. I truly look forward to all that we will learn from each other over the next two weeks," he said.

CARAT Singapore is a 12-day exchange and training event that includes maritime security exercises, such as practical visit, board, search seizure (VBSS) evolutions, live-fire gunnery exercises, military operations symposiums and professional aviation exchanges. There will also be events to strengthen relationships within the local community, including a sports day, culinary exchanges and community service projects.

According to CTG 73.1 CARAT Officer, Lt. Dan Follett, the operational complexity of CARAT Singapore 2012 will offer new challenges to all participants involved.

"I believe that CARAT Singapore 2012 will be a very dynamic exercise," said Follett. "The tactical intricacy of this year's exercise includes air defense and anti-submarine warfare events that will challenge the participants from both the RSN [Republic of Singapore Navy] and USN in both the shore and sea phases."

This is the 18th consecutive year for CARAT and Singapore is one of the original four participating nations. There are more than 1,500 personnel, 10 ships and 24 aircraft participating in CARAT Singapore 2012.

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