News: U.S., Thai aircraft together in static display during Exercise Cobra Gold 2014
Story by Cpl. James Smith
NAKON RATCHASIMA, Thailand - Royal Thai Air Force members and U.S. service members welcomed Thai students and local media outlets for a community relations event aboard Wing One Royal Thai Air Force Base, Nakhon Ratchasima, Kingdom of Thailand, Feb. 20 during Exercise Cobra Gold 2014.
CG 14 is a joint, multinational exercise conducted annually in the Kingdom of Thailand aimed at enhancing and increasing multinational interoperability.
The event was a static display, featuring an F-16 from Squadron 103, Wing One, Royal Thai Air Force, and an FA-18D Hornet from Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242, 1st Marine Air Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and an MV-22B Osprey with Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st MAW, III MEF.
“The students were very happy to be able to come and see U.S. Marines and their aircraft up close,” said Ponlawat Intarawised, deputy commander for Wing One, Royal Thai Air Force. “It was beneficial for the children to be able to talk with pilots and see what they do out here.”
This is the first time a static display involving these three aircraft has been done aboard Wing One Royal Thai Air Force Base.
Student, photographers and journalists gathered around the aircraft taking photos, talking to the pilots about the aircraft and exploring the inside of each aircraft. Marines from VMM-262 set up a display inside the Osprey with photos of their relief efforts in the Philippines for everyone to see.
Other activities took place during the community relations event including a display from medical personnel allowing children to wear flak jackets and Kevlar helmets, and examine their medical equipment. Aircraft rescue firefighters also provided a display where students had the opportunity to try on the bunker gear they wear and used a low power fire hose.
Pilots participated in the event as well by dressing students up in their flight suit and explaining the nomenclature of the suit.
For some students, this was their first time interacting with U.S. service members and spent time to ask U.S. service members general questions to enhance their English skills during the community relations event.
“This is last day that we get to work together and fly with U.S. Marines,” said Intarawised. “It’s good to enjoy these last few moments with not just fellow military members, but with the children of Thailand.”
The community relations event was the last for CG 14, but would help to strengthen the resilient bond between the two nations.