U.S. and Thailand conduct contactless navy training

The U.S. Navy and Royal Thai Navy conducted their first mixed virtual and floating Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise in the Gulf of Thailand, buttressing defenses against security threats and the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. Navy conducts CARAT annually and separately with seven countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Thailand is a founding member of ASEAN and the U.S.’s oldest treaty partner in Asia.
The trainings, which took place in early September, are especially significant in light of the U.S. policy to shift the focus of its foreign, trade and security policies to the Indo-Pacific region.
“The 27th iteration of CARAT Thailand represents the longstanding partnership and alliance between the people of Thailand, the U.S., and like-minded allies and partners,” said Captain Tom Ogden, commander, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7.
“While this exercise was contactless with the Royal Thai Navy, the opportunity to sail our ships and operate aircraft together as a unified force was impactful and developed mutual trust and further operational capability of both our nations,” Ogden said.
The training included submarine search and rescue, diving operations, replenishment at sea best practices, Women Peace & Security symposium, maritime domain awareness, anti-submarine warfare, diving operations, and maritime patrol aircraft integrated operations.
“The COVID-19 pandemic made 2021 a challenging year because of the health restrictions imposed to control the spread of the virus,” said Captain Anurak Prom-ngarm, Chief of Staff, Frigate Squadron 2, Royal Thai Navy, during a virtual ceremony.
“Despite the impedances, we still manage to successfully finish the plan which shows the hard work and professionalism we devoted for this exercise,” Anurak added.