News: Alaska soldiers train with Thai army
Story by Staff Sgt. Matthew Winstead
CAMP ERAWAN, Thailand - The U.S. and Thai forces spent the day drilling on the American M4 rifle and the Thai TAVOR-21, both of which are 5.56-caliber weapons. Once they established a basic level of understanding they were able to use both at a live-fire range.
Soldiers with the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, spent the day, Feb. 10, cross-training on weapons and tactics here with members of the Royal Thai Army's 3-31st Infantry Regiment, King's Guard.
The training allows the paratroopers from both nations to experience the methods and drills of the other and get some hands-on experience with their weapons systems.
"A lot of what we do is very similar," Staff Sgt. Alex Janey, a squad leader in A Companhy, 3-509th said. "But there are some differences. For instance, we use body armor that dictates how we stand when we engage a target, so that we ensure the most out of our ballistic protection."
The U.S. and Thai forces spent the day drilling on the American M4 rifle and the Thai TAVOR-21, both of which are 5.56-caliber weapons. Once they established a basic level of understanding they were able to use both at a live-fire range.
The Thai and U.S. soldiers discovered a few weapons systems and tactics in common.
"We both use the M240 Bravo machine gun," said Staff Sgt. Seth De Kam, weapons squad leader with 1st Platoon, A Company, 3-509th. "There are actually very little differences in how we employ them."
The similarities were obvious during drills in which Pfc. Herb Hernandez and his assistant gunner Pvt. Brandon Mosley almost perfectly mirrored their Thai counterparts.
"These guys are good," Mosley said breathlessly, a heavy roll of sweat on his brow. "These guys can keep up with us in a gun drill. They're very well trained."
In addition to the reflexive fire drills and weapons training, the Thai and U.S. forces also traded squad level movement tactics and military operations in urban terrain, or MOUT, techniques involving methods of entering and clearing buildings.
Cobra Gold 2011 is a regularly scheduled joint/coalition multinational exercise and is the latest in the continuing series of U.S.-Thai military exercises designed to ensure regional peace and stability. The exercise also strengthens the Thai government's self-defense abilities and its capability to respond to regional contingencies.