News: Squadrons touch down in Thailand
Story by Lance Cpl. Cayce Nevers
IWAKUNI, Japan - Military personnel of Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadrons 242, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 115, Marine Air Control Squadron 4 Detachment B and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 arrived here Sunday to support Exercise Cobra Gold 2012.
Exercise Cobra Gold is an annual, multi-national exercise to allow military personnel to conduct bilateral and unit level training with the Thai Armed Forces, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and 5th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company.
During the first week here, the squadrons are scheduled to set up and prepare for Exercise Cobra Gold 2012, which is scheduled to kick-off early next week.
Setup includes prepping gear, maintaining the aircraft and pilots performing familiarization flights.
Throughout the training evolution, squadrons will work to become proficient in air-to surface exercises, daytime close air support and air interdiction.
This year marks the 31st exercise where units from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni have been participants in Cobra Gold.
“Cobra Gold is a way for us to build and strengthen the alliance between the U.S. and Thailand,” said Maj. John M. Baseel, Cobra
Gold 2012 action officer.
The exercise is approximately a monthlong training deployment allowing units to become fully operational.
“Cobra Gold is held annually to exercise our ability to deploy to a key strategic region and test our interoperability with a long-term allied nation,” said Baseel.
Furthermore, Exercise Cobra Gold 2012 will give pilots an opportunity to complete semiannual training requirements.
While the U.S. works mainly with its Thai counterparts during the exercise, many nations contribute to make this exercise run smoothly.
“Multiple units from the United States and other nations work together to make this exercise a success,” said Lt. Col. Richard E. Petersen, VMFA (AW )-242 commanding officer. “The nations involved are the United States, the Kingdom of Thailand, Japan, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia.”
While here the Marines have many opportunities to experience Thai culture. They will have the chance to participate in nearly a dozen community-relations events.
“Humanitarian assistance and community relations activities enable our military forces to break cultural barriers, train together and improve interoperability while providing vital services to areas in need,” said Petersen.
In addition to the community relations events, the Single Marine Program has planned two overnight trips for military personnel.