To the Chief of Staff of the F-FDTL, Brigadier General Falur Rate Laek, members of the government of Timor-Leste, the Timor-Leste National Police, the Timor-Leste Defense Force, and to the U.S. Navy sailors and officers. Bom dia.
I am happy to be here with all of you today for the official opening of the 2018 Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training exercise, more commonly known as CARAT, here at Hera Naval Base. CARAT is supported by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, US Indo-Pacific Command, and the U.S. Embassy in Timor-Leste as part of a larger effort to build regional cooperation and security. Following the first CARAT exercise in Timor-Leste in 2013, the US Navy and the F-FDTL Naval component have held the exercise every year since 2015.
I would like to thank the Ministry of Defense; the F-FDTL’s naval and land components; the PNTL’s Maritime Police Unit, and the members of the U.S. Navy’s Commander Task Force 75, which includes members of the Coastal Riverine Group One and the 7th Fleet Surgeon’s Office. The objectives of this year’s CARAT exercise will be to: enhance the naval capabilities of the U.S. and Timorese forces; improve interoperability; and to highlight partner nations working together towards the common goal of ensuring a free, open, and stable Indo-Pacific maritime security environment.
In order to achieve these objectives, CARAT training will focus on shipboard maintenance and repair; evidence collection, handling, and storage procedures. This year the 7th Fleet Surgeon’s Office added shipboard emergency medical care to CARAT’s instruction program. This training will share critical shipboard lifesaving skills with our Timorese partners.
We look forward to hearing how this week’s training will develop maritime security capacity in Timor-Leste, which benefits both the Timorese and American people.
Good luck to all of our partners and friends, and thanks for allowing me to take part in this opening ceremony. We succeed together!