Live-fire mortar training a blast for Thai, US forces
By Lance Cpl. Adam Miller
| | February 16, 2013
BAN CHAN KREM, Kingdom of Thailand --
Thai and U.S. forces geared up for live-fire mortar training missions Feb. 12 at Ban Chan Krem, Kingdom of Thailand, during the field training portion of multinational exercise Cobra Gold 2013.
“We integrated our 81mm mortar platoon with essentially the Royal Thai Marine equivalent, which is structured very similarly to ours,” said U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Charles Eberly, an infantry officer and platoon leader for weapons company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment. The battalion is attached to 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, as part of the Marine Corps unit deployment program.
Eberly explained that the tactical billets their Thai counterparts have—which are associated to the types of weapons system the Thais employ—closely resemble that of the U.S. Marine Corps.
The field training exercises during CG 13 are designed to advance regional security and ensure effective response to regional crises by exercising a vigorous multinational force from nations sharing common goals and security commitments in the Asia-Pacific region.
“I know (the Royal Thai Marines’) mortar system very well, but getting a chance to train with the (U.S.) Marines and learning how they conduct their missions helps make me better at my job,” said Thai Marine Petty Officer 1st Class Tepvaree Saysoikawe, a gunner with the 81mm mortar section, 3rd Battalion, 1st Infantry for the Royal Thai Marines.
Royal Thai Marines units were partnered with their U.S. Marine Corps equivalent during one portion of field training at Ban Chan Krem.
“The best thing about this experience is being able to teach the Royal Thai Marines how we operate our weapon system,” said U.S. Marine Sgt. Chad R. Pauls, a mortarman and squad leader with the 81mm mortars platoon. “I love what I do, and it is unique, but it is fascinating to me how similarly we operate our weapons systems.”