USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) with embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Singapore to participate in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT)/Marine Exercise (MAREX) with the Republic of Singapore Navy, Jan. 8.

CARAT/MAREX Singapore is a bilateral exercise between Singapore and the United Sates designed to promote regional security cooperation, maintain and strengthen maritime partnerships, and enhance maritime interoperability.

In its 28th year, the CARAT/MAREX series is comprised of multinational exercises designed to enhance U.S. and partner navies’ abilities to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.

“We value our longstanding relationship with Singapore founded on our shared belief that presence is vital for prosperity,” said Capt. Tony Chavez, commanding officer of Makin Island. “This is the second iteration of the CARAT series the crew has had the opportunity to participate in. Each time we are able to operate with our partners it allows us to sharpen our skills and contribute to regional peace and security.”

Sailors and Marines aboard John P. Murtha and Makin Island will also have the opportunity to experience Singaporean culture with visits to local areas, community relations events, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation sightseeing tours.

“This is my first time in Singapore, and I have heard nothing but great things,” said Lt. j.g. Julia Reid, training officer of John P. Murtha. “I am most looking forward to seeing some of the beautiful landmarks in the area as well as experiencing the foods!”

John P. Murtha and Makin Island are on a deployment with the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) conducting routine operations in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

The Makin Island ARG is comprised of amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8) and amphibious transport docks USS Anchorage (LPD 23) and USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) and is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations with the embarked 13th MEU to enhance interoperability with Allies and partners and serves as a ready-response force to defend peace and maintain stability in the Indo-Pacific region.