TRICOMALEE Sri Lanka (Jan. 25) The Sri Lanka Navy had female Sailors participate in the diving exercise (DIVEX) for the first-time during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT)/Marine Exercise (MAREX) Sri Lanka 2023 in Tricomalee, Sri Lanka, Jan. 19-27
The Sri Lanka Navy opened their dive team to female Sailors and had Lt. Gayanka Satharasinghe, Sub Lt. Sachini Jayawickrama and Able Seaman (Physical Training Instructor) Dulani Sakunthala participate in bi-lateral training with the U.S. Navy’s Mobile Diving Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1.
“I like diving,” said Sakunthala. “I saw that female Sailors could apply and there weren’t any woman divers, and I could be one of the first. I liked that.”
With the opportunity now available for females to dive, the newly minted divers were then asked to participate in CARAT/MAREX Sri Lanka 2023.
“I was interested to do it because it was the first time there was an opportunity to apply as a diver and follow a diving course,” said Satharasinghe. “So, I applied and got the opportunity to dive and be a part of CARAT. We got good experience; we haven’t done this type of diving before.”
CARAT/MAREX Sri Lanka is a bilateral exercise between Sri Lanka and the United States designed to promote regional security cooperation, practice humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and strengthen maritime understanding, partnerships, and interoperability.
“This week we came together as two navies committed to a rules-based world order and a free and open Indo-pacific, to hone our military skills and ability to work together to achieve a common aim,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Max Cutchen, diving and salvage supervisor for Task Force 73. “During this CARAT we trained together on a variety of topics including dive interoperability, underwater cutting, landmine clearance, maritime interdiction and small unmanned aerial systems operations.”
The exercises were successful and the women of the Sri Lanka Navy divers would like to participate again.
“We got experiences, knowledge and fun,” said Jayawickrama. “It was a good combination, all of it. I would like to participate in the next CARAT Sri Lanka.”
In its 28th year, the CARAT series is comprised of multinational exercises, designed to enhance U.S. and partner forces’ abilities to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. Task Force 73 is responsible for conducting diving and salvage operations in the Western Pacific.
This work, Sri Lanka Navy Makes History During CARAT/MAREX Sri Lanka 2023, by PO2 Brandon Parker, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.