By Lt. Andrew Bertucci, Amphibious Squadron Five Public Affairs
BRUNEI – The amphibious dock landing ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Brunei for Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2019 exercise with the Royal Brunei Armed Forces (RBAF), Oct. 10.During CARAT, Marines launched from USS Harper’s Ferry to conduct an amphibious assault using Amphibious Assault Vehicles to secure the beachhead, before moving inland to conduct more jungle warfare and combat medical training.“Our participation in CARAT shows the United States’ commitment to the region and strengthens longstanding maritime partnerships with our allies,” said Cmdr. Janice Pollard, commanding officer of Harpers Ferry. “Working side-by-side with the RBAF we are able to develop cooperative maritime security capabilities in support of security, stability and prosperity in maritime regions throughout Southeast Asia.”Exercise CARAT, now in its 25th year, highlights the U.S. commitment to the region and demonstrates U.S. maritime forces in longstanding maritime partnership with RBAF and is a sign of U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-PacificThe overarching goals of the CARAT exercise series are to promote regional security cooperation, maintain and strengthen maritime partnerships and enhance interoperability among participating forces. CARAT also builds people-to-people relationships through professional exchanges and symposia, sports and social events, and community service projects.“We're excited at the opportunity to come to Brunei and see this beautiful country,” said Lt. Col. Gary Thompson, commanding officer, Combat Logistics Battalion 11. “Our training here, and more importantly learning from each other's organizations, will make our team better equipped to handle whatever challenges may come our way.”CARAT, the U.S. Navy's oldest and longest continually-running regional exercise in South and Southeast Asia, strengthens partnerships between regional navies and enhances maritime security cooperation throughout the Indo-Pacific.Harpers Ferry is part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the Western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.