U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

 

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

In Any Clime and Place

Marines face fears to survive

By Lance Cpl. Stephen Himes | U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific | February 15, 2014

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Two Royal Thai reconnaissance Marines rub bamboo together in an effort to create a fire Feb. 14 at Ban Chan Krem, Kingdom of Thailand during Exercise Cobra Gold. The course includes knowledge on what vegetation are edible, tips on how to collect water and deal with venomous wildlife. The Marines are with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment currently assigned to 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force under the unit deployment program.

Two Royal Thai reconnaissance Marines rub bamboo together in an effort to create a fire Feb. 14 at Ban Chan Krem, Kingdom of Thailand during Exercise Cobra Gold. The course includes knowledge on what vegetation are edible, tips on how to collect water and deal with venomous wildlife. The Marines are with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment currently assigned to 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force under the unit deployment program. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Stephen D. Himes)


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A bamboo tube is used to hold and cook various types of insects Feb. 14 at Ban Chan Krem, Kingdom of Thailand during Exercise Cobra Gold 2014. Cobra Gold demonstrates the U.S. and the Kingdom of Thailand’s commitment to a longs-standing alliance and regional partnership, prosperity and security in the Asia-Pacific region. The Marines are with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment currently assigned to 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force under the unit deployment program.

A bamboo tube is used to hold and cook various types of insects Feb. 14 at Ban Chan Krem, Kingdom of Thailand during Exercise Cobra Gold 2014. Cobra Gold demonstrates the U.S. and the Kingdom of Thailand’s commitment to a longs-standing alliance and regional partnership, prosperity and security in the Asia-Pacific region. The Marines are with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment currently assigned to 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force under the unit deployment program. (Photo by Stephen D. Himes)


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Two Royal Thai reconnaissance Marines rub bamboo together in an effort to create a fire Feb. 14 at Ban Chan Krem, Kingdom of Thailand during Exercise Cobra Gold. The course includes knowledge on what vegetation are edible, tips on how to collect water and deal with venomous wildlife. The Marines are with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment currently assigned to 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force under the unit deployment program.

Two Royal Thai reconnaissance Marines rub bamboo together in an effort to create a fire Feb. 14 at Ban Chan Krem, Kingdom of Thailand during Exercise Cobra Gold. The course includes knowledge on what vegetation are edible, tips on how to collect water and deal with venomous wildlife. The Marines are with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment currently assigned to 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force under the unit deployment program. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Stephen D. Himes)


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A Royal Thai Reconnaissance Marine blows air through the bottom of a small hole towards the end of a demonstration for U.S. Marines about different ways to make fire Feb. 14 at Ban Chan Krem, Kingdom of Thailand during Exercise Cobra Gold. Cobra Gold demonstrates the U.S. and the Kingdom of Thailand’s commitment to a long-standing alliance and regional partnership, prosperity and security in the Asia-Pacific region.  The Marines are with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment currently assigned to 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force under the unit deployment program. (U.S. Marine photo by Lance Cpl. Stephen D. Himes/Released)

A Royal Thai Reconnaissance Marine blows air through the bottom of a small hole towards the end of a demonstration for U.S. Marines about different ways to make fire Feb. 14 at Ban Chan Krem, Kingdom of Thailand during Exercise Cobra Gold. Cobra Gold demonstrates the U.S. and the Kingdom of Thailand’s commitment to a long-standing alliance and regional partnership, prosperity and security in the Asia-Pacific region. The Marines are with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment currently assigned to 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force under the unit deployment program. (U.S. Marine photo by Lance Cpl. Stephen D. Himes/Released) (Photo by Lance Cpl. Stephen D. Himes)


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BAN CHAN KREM, Kingdom of Thailand – Marines pass along a piece of bamboo holding cooked frogs during a jungle survival class Feb. 14 at Ban Chan Krem, Kingdom of Thailand during Exercise Cobra Gold. The jungle survival class teaches U.S. Marines basic survival skills that can be used in environments similar to the jungles of Thailand. The course includes knowledge on edible vegetation, water collection, and venomous animal handling. The Marines are with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment currently assigned to 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force under the unit deployment program. (U.S. Marine photo by Lance Cpl. Stephen D. Himes/Released)

BAN CHAN KREM, Kingdom of Thailand – Marines pass along a piece of bamboo holding cooked frogs during a jungle survival class Feb. 14 at Ban Chan Krem, Kingdom of Thailand during Exercise Cobra Gold. The jungle survival class teaches U.S. Marines basic survival skills that can be used in environments similar to the jungles of Thailand. The course includes knowledge on edible vegetation, water collection, and venomous animal handling. The Marines are with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment currently assigned to 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force under the unit deployment program. (U.S. Marine photo by Lance Cpl. Stephen D. Himes/Released) (Photo by Stephen D. Himes)


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Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Pairoj Prasansai waits to start his jungle survival course Feb. 14 at Ban Chan Krem, Kingdom of Thailand during Exercise Cobra Gold. Prasansai showed U.S. Marines how to identify various vegetation, collect water and manage various venomous wildlife. Pransansai is a survival instructor for Reconnaissance Division, Royal Thai Marine Corps. The Marines are with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment currently assigned to 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force under the unit deployment program.

Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Pairoj Prasansai waits to start his jungle survival course Feb. 14 at Ban Chan Krem, Kingdom of Thailand during Exercise Cobra Gold. Prasansai showed U.S. Marines how to identify various vegetation, collect water and manage various venomous wildlife. Pransansai is a survival instructor for Reconnaissance Division, Royal Thai Marine Corps. The Marines are with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment currently assigned to 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force under the unit deployment program. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Stephen D. Himes)


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BAN CHAN KREM, Kingdom of Thailand -- Marines gathered closely as Pairoj Prasansai, affectionately known as “the snake man”, pulled two venomous Thai cobras out of a crate with his bare hands.

“The snake man” dropped the cobras at his feet to start his famous snake charming demonstration during a jungle survival class given to U.S. Marines at Exercise Cobra Gold.

The class begins with Royal Thai Reconnaissance Marines teaching U.S. Marines about the various plants and vegetation available in the jungles of Thailand. U.S. Marines are taught which plants are edible, what medicinal properties they may possess and which plants to avoid.

“This class is designed to assist our U.S. allies and counterparts,” said Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Pairoj Prasansai, survival instructor with Reconnaissance Division, Royal Thai Marine Corps. “This information will be critical to their survival if they ever have to perform missions in the jungles of Thailand.”

Assisted by fellow Thai RECON Marines, Prasansai and his team presented various methods to collect water as well as capture wild animals.

“This is a unique chance for new (U.S.) Marines,” said 1st Sgt. Josue Ayala, first sergeant for Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment currently assigned to 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force under the unit deployment program. “There is always a preparation phase before deploying, but training like this is unique and invaluable.”

Parsansai went on to introduce the U.S. Marines to various venomous creatures that inhabit the local region.

While some of the indigenous wildlife may adversely affect a person’s emotions, it is very important to stay calm, according to Parsansai. When it comes to survival, one of the key focuses is to remember to stay calm and be brave enough to do what is necessary to survive.

The first example of doing what is necessary to survive included defanging a palm-sized tarantula, which removed its deadly poison, and then eating it while it was still alive.

“Seeing him eat the spider was intense,” said Lance Cpl. Stevan Melendez, an artilleryman with Charlie Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. “I’ve never been in a position to have to eat anything that was still alive, let alone anything that is venomous.”

A demonstration which involved removing the stingers of and eating giant forest scorpions was also given before the snake handling portion began.

“Survival is a trademark of Cobra Gold,” said Parsansai, who has been teaching this class for 13 years. “It’s important that these combatants understand they will have to do things they have never thought of doing before in order to survive.”

It’s vital that young U.S. Marines experience the culture of different nations, according to Ayala. There may come a day when these Marines are working, fighting or living side-by-side with their counterparts from various nations. At that moment, these kinds of experiences will improve their ability to integrate with each other.

Parsansai saved the best for last. As the Thai Cobras hit the ground, they raised their heads, flared their hoods and hissed as they lunged forward to attack. Despite the inherent danger, he maintained his composure and was still able to pick up each cobra, kissing their heads.

The final act of understanding the true depth of what it sometimes takes to survive involved the U.S. Marines lining up to have cobra blood poured into their mouths. This served as an example of how an issue like dehydration can be overcome with the proper training and mindset.

“I look forward to this exercise every year,” said Parsansai. “The U.S. Marines are so enthusiastic. It’s pure pleasure to have the opportunity to work with them every year.”
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