Cobra Gold 14 allies build classrooms for Thai elementary school
February 12, 2014
BAN CHAN KREM, Kingdom of Thailand --
U.S. service members joined forces with Royal Thai and Republic of Korea Marines Feb. 10 to build new classrooms for Wut Khun Song school near Ban Chan Krem, Kingdom of Thailand.
The community relations program started Jan. 25 and is expected to be completed Feb. 20. The program is part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2014, which is a recurring multinational and multiservice exercise that takes place annually in the Kingdom of Thailand and was developed by the Thai and U.S. militaries.
“The purpose of this community relations project is to build interoperability and relationships between the U.S. forces, (the Royal Thai Marines and Republic of Korea Marines),” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Daniel L. Moore, the officer-in-charge of the Seabees and airmen working under Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 3, 1st Naval Construction Group headquartered in Port Hueneme, Calif.
Moore is a member of 555th Engineer Brigade which participates in a program with NMCB 3 that allows the exchange of service members between the two units so they can share knowledge, expand on work techniques, and learn about fellow service members in similar job fields, according to Moore.
“Aside from building better relationships between (U.S. forces, Royal Thai Marines and ROK Marines), the school children and community are the ones who really benefit from this project,” said Moore.
Cobra Gold 2014, in its 33rd iteration, is designed to advance regional security by exercising a robust multinational force from nations sharing common goals and security commitments in the Asia-Pacific region and consists of a command post exercise, humanitarian and civic assistance projects and a field training exercise.
“This project is good for the school because the buildings they have now are (older) and through the (expertise of the Seabees) we are able to ensure our children are learning in a safe environment,” said 1st Lt. Panya Mayooso, the officer-in-charge of the Royal Thai Marine combat engineers participating in the project. “This really shows the level of commitment of our allies and helps to build a better relationship between our countries.”
Through this project, the school will be able to increase its enrollment of students to better support the needs of the community, according to Mayooso.
“I enjoy this kind of work because I know it is for people who will really appreciate it,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Kesley M. Olise, a builder with NMCB 3, 1st Naval Construction Group. “It’s also a great opportunity to be able to work with other countries’ militaries because we can teach each other about our different cultures.”
Through units like the Seabees, in addition to the continued coordination with allies, the U.S. is providing outreach to communities that have not received as much assistance in previous years, according to Moore.
“We are the Navy’s force to reach beyond the littorals and increase relationships beyond the shores,” said Moore.
Exercise Cobra Gold 2014 is scheduled to be held in various areas throughout the Kingdom of Thailand Feb. 11-21.
U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific
Cpl. Adam Miller