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31st MEU learns jungle tricks from Thais Cpl. Codey Underwood

A Marine with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit drinks the blood of a king cobra during a jungle survival class taught by Royal Thai Marines as a part of Cobra Gold 2013 here, Feb. 20. Drinking of the cobra blood is a survival technique used to maintain hydration and replenish nutrients while in the hot jungle. Cobra Gold demonstrates the resolve of the U.S. and participating nations to increase interoperability, and promote security and peace throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.

HAT YAO, Thailand - Surrounded by thick jungle as far as the eye can see, a Marine separated from his unit must come to the realization that survival requires effort. Finding food, water and shelter is the difference between life and death. From the leaves on the trees to the bugs crawling across the ground, anything around you can either harm you or help you.

Royal Thai Marines instructed their U.S. counterparts from the Maritime Raid Force, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, on jungle survival techniques during a class as part of exercise Cobra Gold 2013 here, Feb. 20.

In the 32nd iteration of exercise Cobra Gold, a multilateral training event where numerous countries in the Asia-Pacific region work side-by-side, the jungle survival portion placed the Royal Thai Marines in the definitive role of instructor while the MEU Marines were the pupils.

“This is the Thai’s home, it is the environment they were raised in,” said Sgt. Robert Dominguez, a squad leader with the MRF Platoon, 31st MEU, and a native of Selma, Calif. “Most of the Marines here are accustomed to the desert environment with hardly any knowledge on how to live off of the jungle.”

Chief Petty Officer First Class Veing Pimsorn, a Royal Thai reconnaissance Marine, provided lessons in obtaining shelter and water, identifying edible plants and fruits found in the Thai jungles, and how to properly prepare and eat each item.

The attentive class of about 90 students was able to sample the various delicacies of the jungle as the training progressed. The group passed around various leaves and roots, exotic fruit, and fried insects to experience the flavors of the jungle.

The Royal Thai Marine instructor also trained the troops in the capture, handling, preparation and ingestion of a king cobra snake. The training involved a handling demonstration with three snakes, practical application by the MRF, followed by killing and preparing the snakes. Marines had the opportunity to voluntarily drink the nutritionally-packed cobra blood.

“Drinking the blood of the King Cobra is a survival technique used to maintain hydration deep in the jungle,” said Pimsorn. “With all of these techniques combined, an isolated U.S. or Thai Marine could survive off the jungle.”

The training ended with U.S. and Thai Marines sharing a bounty of fruit, insects and snake under a crop of trees. Although a fun experience for all, the real gain for the MRF was familiarity with another region of the world.

“They were born and raised here and know the jungle a lot better than we do,” said Sgt. Robert A. Cole, a squad leader with the MRF, 31st MEU, and a native of Klamath Falls, Oreg. “This training
will broaden our horizons, so we can fight anywhere.”

Cobra Gold 2013 demonstrates the resolve of the U.S. and participating nations to increase interoperability, and promote security and peace throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.


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Public Domain Mark
This work, 31st MEU learns jungle tricks from Thais, by Cpl Codey Underwood, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.

Date Taken:02.20.2013

Date Posted:02.20.2013 11:31

Location:HAT YAO, THGlobe

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  • "You have to think you will survive," said Master Sgt. Samraeung Kachanton, the Thai Army lead instructor for jungle survival training at Fort Surasee, Thailand, during Exercise Cobra Gold 2010.
  • “In any clime and place,” is a well-known saying throughout the U.S. Marine Corps. The motto refers to Marines and their resiliency to finish the mission no matter where it is. From time to time, those missions can place them in “sunny tropic scenes.” To better prepare for a jungle environment, the Royal Thai Marines held a class on jungle survival training as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2014.
  • Elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived in the Kingdom of Thailand to participate in the 31st iteration of Exercise Cobra Gold, Feb. 8.
  • Nineteen Marines from Ground Sensor Platoon, 3rd Intelligence Battalion, III Marine Expeditionary Force, proved that they can survive the jungle when they completed the Jungle Survival skills course, Nov. 19, and Jungle Skills course, Nov. 21, at Camp Gonsalves.

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