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U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific

In Any Clime and Place

Three nations’ armies improve local Thai school

By Staff Sgt. Jose O. Nava | III MEF/MCIPAC Consolidated Public Affairs Office | February 2, 2016

Royal Thai Army, U.S. Army and Indian Army soldiers worked alongside one another to construct a one-room multi-purpose educational building Jan. 30 at Ban Raj Bum Roong, Lamsonthi, Kuttaphet, Thailand, before the start of Exercise Cobra Gold 2016.

The construction at Ban Raj Bum Roong is one of six humanitarian civic action sites in which the Thai, U.S. and partner nation’s militaries will work together on civic programs to support security and humanitarian interests of friends and partner nations.

Working with partner nations in a joint environment has been the most rewarding experience I’ve had in the Army so far,” said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Breawna Davis, site officer-in-charge, HCA Site 4, Combined Joint Civil Military Operations Task Force. “We’ve learned from each other so much already, our counterparts showed us how to use what we have around us and it’s been an eye-opening experience culturally and with tools” said the Tampa, Florida native.

Cobra Gold, in its 35th iteration, is the largest multinational exercise in Asia and is an integral part of the U.S. commitment to strengthen engagement in the region.

This year, Cobra Gold will emphasize coordination on civic action, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, with the aim of expanding regional cooperation and collaboration in these vital areas with partner nations and allies.

Firstly, you get to learn from each other and how each partner nation works. Secondly, we get to learn how each different unit functions and also about their home country, said Indian Army Maj. Kuldeet Gautam, Bengal Engineering Group and Center, Corps of Engineers, Indian Army.

The HCA programs will improve the quality of life, as well as the general health and welfare of civilian residents in the exercise areas.

“The people around here are happy to have us because we make the school better for their children. Some (of the people) give us food or make us some food, so that means this project is very important to the people in this area to make (their) life better life and a better community,” said Royal Thai Army Lt. Manon Wongprado, with 52nd Engineer Battalion, 1st Engineer Regiment, RTA.

Each of the three different engineer groups participating in the construction at Ban Raj Bum Roong learned much from each other. Some were even grateful for the opportunity to work alongside other nations.

On behalf of the people back home, I thank you so much, both the Americans as well as the Thais, in that we have learned about Lop Buri and the ability to contribute to what you know as well as learning from the Americans and Thais, said Gautam.