News: Opening ceremony marks official start of Cobra Gold 2014
Story by Spc. Tyler Meister
PHITSANULOK, Thailand - Dignitaries with the Kingdom of Thailand, U.S. and numerous partner nations attended an opening ceremony held Feb. 11 to mark the official start of Exercise Cobra Gold 2014 at Camp Akatosorot in Phitsanulok province, Kingdom of Thailand.
Cobra Gold, in its 33rd iteration, is a Thai-U.S. co-sponsored multinational, joint theater security cooperation exercise conducted annually in the Kingdom of Thailand.
The exercise will improve the capability to plan and conduct combined-joint operations, build relationships between partner nations, and improve interoperability across the range of military operations.
“Cobra Gold is not only an annual multilateral exercise, but also a key event for coordinating and strengthening friendships among the participating and coordinating nations,” said Royal Thai Army Maj. Gen. Wittaya Wachirakul, the director of the exercise planning office, directorate of joint operations, currently serving as the deputy director of CG14. “The main purpose of this exercise is to provide open opportunity to develop military relationships and a training ground for joint and combined training exercises.”
The exercise demonstrates the U.S. and the Kingdom of Thailand’s commitment to the long-standing alliance and regional partnership, prosperity and security in the Asia-Pacific region.
U.S. Army forces attended Cobra Gold 2014 in support of U.S. Army Pacific.
“This year, we again see why Cobra Gold is the world’s largest, and I would say most successful, multilateral military exercise,” said Kristie Kenney, the U.S. ambassador to Thailand. “These exercises mean a great deal to our nations. It means we learn to work together, we practice and drill together. And when our services are needed to act together, we can do so.”
Full participating nations include the Kingdom of Thailand, U.S., Singapore, Japan, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, and Malaysia. The People’s Republic of China, as an observer-plus nation, will participate for the first time in a Cobra Gold iteration with a humanitarian civic assistance team.
“Thailand is the U.S.’s oldest ally,” said U.S. Navy Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command. “We are entering into the 181st year of this alliance. We have expanded our regional partnership to focus on challenges that include disaster relief and other global security contributions. Events like Cobra Gold allow us to work together multilaterally to exercise those commitments.”
The exercise 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.
“Cobra Gold is one of the greatest [points of] pride for the Royal Thai Armed Forces,” said Royal Thai Navy Adm. Amorntep Na Bangchang, the deputy chief of defense forces for Thailand. This exercise has been with us for more than 33 years. It truly is 33 years of success, close relationships, mutual understanding and great cooperation.
CG 14 includes a command post exercise bringing together a team to execute the response to a complex problem; a senior leader seminar to facilitate information sharing and relationship building between key leaders from partner nations; humanitarian civic assistance projects, including four engineering civic assistance projects; cooperative health engagement events, as well as a medical symposium; and a field training exercise, which will include a combined arms live-fire exercise, amphibious landing exercises, strategic air drop, and multinational events in diverse terrain.
“Cobra Gold truly replicates the dynamic security environment we find ourselves in today and will face in the future,” said Locklear.
“We must continue to build on the rich history of cooperation that events like Cobra Gold provide for us. Together, we can build a common view on security interests. Through our bilateral and multilateral engagements we will improve shared understanding and enhance trust [across the region].”