PHNOM PENH, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- A USS Vandegrift frigate and two U.S. diving and salvage ships arrived at Cambodia's Sihanoukville Autonomous Port on Monday morning for a five-day naval exercise with the Cambodian Navy, said U.S. Public Affairs Officer Lt. Commander Clayton Doss.
The USS Vandegrift (FFG 48) is commanded by Commander Joseph R. Darlak, Doss said in an e-mail to Xinhua on Monday.
Approximately 500 U.S. Navy and 300 Royal Cambodian Navy personnel are participating in the third Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Cambodia exercise 2012, he said.
Other U.S. participants include Marines from Fleet Anti- Terrorism Security Team Pacific, a medical training team from Maritime Civil Affairs and Security Training, SH-60 Seahawk aircraft and the U.S. 7th Fleet band, he added.
The exercise will focus on enhancing maritime security skills through activities such as maritime interdiction, diving and salvage operations, maneuvering, and disaster response, according to a press release from the U.S. Embassy to Cambodia.
In addition, it aims to increase cooperation, promote understanding, and build trust between the U.S. and Cambodian navies through sports and social events.
The press release said that CARAT 2012 will also improve relationships with the civilian community through community service projects.
In 2010, Cambodia participated in the CARAT exercise for the first time. Other CARAT participants include Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, and Timor- Leste, it added.
Since 1995, the CARAT exercises have taken place on an annual basis in the Southeast Asia region.