21 July 2005

Boxer Controls a MIG-29

No. This post isn't what you thought it was going to be. However, a nice exchange between the "ready to have her seat taken from her if my party could prop up a legitimate candidate" Senator from California and the business end of a MIG-29 would make me smile.

The U.S. and several Southeast Asian countries have been conducting joint military exercises called CARAT, which are sure to draw the attention of TERRORISTS and other oxygen thieves in the vicinity of the Malaysian archipelago.

Military.com reports:
ABOARD USS BOXER - While taking part in the at-sea phase of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness Training (CARAT) Malaysia July 12, operations specialists aboard Boxer received a rare opportunity to control aircraft that most Sailors in their rating won't even come across in their careers.

MiG-29s, with a wingspan of more than 37 feet and a maximum payload of 6,614 pounds, was introduced by the USSR in 1977 and is known as one of the fastest and most dangerous aircraft in the world. In this regard, the MiG-29 is similar to the U.S. F/A 18 Hornet.

"The MiG-29 is one of the nastiest aircraft out there," said Operations Specialist 1st Class Michael Kudebeh. "It has very similar capabilities of our best aircraft."

The Malaysian MiG-29s were used as the "good guys" in a joint exercise between the Royal Malaysian Air Force and Boxer. The MiG-29s were flown against British-built, Malaysian-flown, Hawk 208s in simulated combat. The event was one of the many facets of CARAT.

"This was a once in a lifetime event," added Operations Specialist 2nd Class Sabrina Peterson.

Military training and readiness weren't the only goals of the op. Humanitarian efforts also received attention from the fleet.
More than thirty Sailors from USS Boxer (LHD 4) and USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 60) helped out in the local community here July 11, providing the Sekolah Menengah Sultan Ismail 1 school with a new coat of paint.
Funny, I didn't hear about this on the evening news.
"“The event was a good opportunity for Sailors to see a different society and culture," said Lt. Cmdr. Bill Middleton, Chaplain for Destroyer Squadron 1, whose staff leads the CARAT Malaysia task group, which includes USS Safeguard (ARS 50), in addition to Boxer and Rodney M. Davis. "“It is important for us to lend a helping hand to those who need extra help."

Volunteers worked side by side with Malaysian college students as they painted the inside of one of the schools cafeterias. The project, which was scheduled to last all day, was completed before noon due to hard work and teamwork from all who were involved.
So, not only were the Sailors subject to training and drills all day long, but they volunteered to perform community service during a port call in southeast Asia? Fantastic.
"Opportunities like this let me get involved with the community,"” said Dental Technician 1st Class Fe Perez, a Boxer Sailor from San Diego. "“To me it'’s worth taking the time to give back to the public."

Volunteers took pride in their work, showing care and attention to detail. Once the work around the school was finished, Malaysians showed Sailors one of their local games called Sepak Raga Bulat.

"This project was good because it mixed relations between Malaysians and Americans,"” said Shamsul Bin Salim, one of the teachers at the school. "“I am proud that American Sailors have contributed their time to support our society."
CARAT, an annual series of bilateral military exercises between the United States and various Southeast Asia countries, is designed to build proficiency in all militaries involved through interaction and relations. CARAT Malaysia involves more than 1,600 U.S. Sailors and Malaysian service men.

Malaysia is the third phase of the 2005 CARAT series, which included exercises with Singapore and Thailand in June.

Another joint effort unreported by the MSM. What a shame. I have included the links to the USN units involved in CARAT, please feel free to send a note of thanks to an unnamed Sailor or one of those named in the post above.

As always, Thanks to Greyhawk for his Open Post.

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