CHIANG MAI PROVINCE, Kingdom of Thailand --
Today the largest multinational exercise in the Asia-Pacific region came to a close with the dedication of the last of five school additions, a bilateral combined arms live fire exercise and the exercise’s official closing ceremony.
Royal Thai Gen. Worapong Sangnetra, Deputy Chief of Defense Forces, and U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. Terry G. Robling, commander of U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, as well a number of dignitaries attended and observed the bilateral combined arms live fire exercise. Royal Thai Army Maj. Gen. Wittaya Wachirakul, Cobra Gold 2013 exercise deputy director, was also in attendance.
“The U.S. and Thailand have a very strong relationship,” said Wachirakul. “We hope we will have a chance to expand our interoperability and strengthen each other even more in the future.”
During the combined arms live fire exercise, Marines and soldiers from both the Royal Thai Armed Forces and the U.S. military seized a simulated objective. The event began with a barrage from U.S. and Thai howitzer artillery pieces and mortars followed by the maneuver of ground forces. When ground forces had eliminated the notional enemy’s air defense capability, Thai and U.S. fighter jets dropped ordnance, including U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet, Thai F-16 and Thai L-39 aircraft. Finally, the ground forces moved to and seized the objective, completing the demonstration. The event demonstrated the ability of a combined Thai-U.S. force, using both air and ground forces, to rapidly move to an objective and destroy it.
“It's been a good opportunity working with the Royal Thai Armed Forces,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Benjamin J. Vanzytveld, narrator for the combined arms live fire exercise and lead Cobra Gold planner for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. “It's given us the opportunity to get to know them as individuals, understand their culture a little better, and understand how they operate so we can better integrate their efforts with our efforts in the future.”
In Phitsanulok province, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie A. Kenney and the Governor of Phitsanulok Province Preecha Ruangchan attended the dedication ceremony for a new 1,500 square-foot building for the Ban Hua Wang Ta Krang Elementary School. The dedication was the final dedication ceremony for five additions to elementary schools constructed throughout the Kingdom of Thailand.
“Today we see a school that our militaries worked together to build,”
said Kenney. “Today we see exactly that, a beautiful school that shows what we achieve in today’s world when nations work together. It is a great honor and a privilege, as a civilian, to see the work that our armed forces do to help build for our citizens’ better futures, better health, better education, and of course greater safety and security.”
Elsewhere in Thailand, forces conducted a mock tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel operation; Thai and U.S. service members conducted an aircraft rescue and firefighting drill; and U.S. military members volunteered their time to help disabled women by clearing leaves and excess vegetation off of land at their center.
During this year’s Cobra Gold, 13,000 service members from seven nations joined together, teaming their collective experience, knowledge and expertise to discuss responses to crises and natural disasters, give to the local community through engineering and medical projects, and increase interoperability and share best practices during field training exercises.
In its 32nd iteration, CG 13 is designed to advance regional security and ensure effective response to regional crises by exercising a robust multinational force from nations sharing common goals and security commitments in the Asia-Pacific region.
Media interested in finding out more information about the exercise can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
News stories, high-resolution photos and videos covering events and activities during CG 13 are available for download online at the following sites:
- DVIDS page: www.dvidshub.net/feature/CobraGold13
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/ExerciseCobraGold
- Youtube: www.youtube.com/ExerciseCobraGold
- Flickr: www.flickr.com/3mefpao
- Website: www.marforpac.marines.mil/Exercises/CobraGold.aspx