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    Cobra Gold 2020: A Return to Familiar Scenes for 31st MEU Marines in Thailand

    Cobra Gold 20: 31st MEU MRF, Royal Thai Marines conduct R&S insert

    Photo By Sgt. Isaac Cantrell | U.S. Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit’s Maritime Raid Force and Royal...... read more read more

    For two arduous weeks in early spring, the Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit took to the dense, humid jungles of the Kingdom of Thailand to work hand-in-hand with the United States’ oldest ally in Southeast Asia to participate in Cobra Gold 2020 -- a multinational exercise focused on advancing regional security by bringing together different nations’ forces to address shared goals and security commitments in the Indo-Pacific region. Throughout the exercise, Royal Thai forces worked alongside the Marines and Sailors of the MEU to teach them jungle survival, exchange tactics and conduct various other military training operations.
    For many Marines and Sailors, this venture into Thailand was a new experience. But for Marines like Cpl. Kyle Madden, this expedition was as informative as it was familiar. Madden, the primary parachute safety officer with the 31st MEU’s Force Reconnaissance Platoon, attended Cobra Gold 19 last year with 3rd Marine Logistics Group’s Air Delivery Platoon. For the duration of his last stay, Madden’s focus was teaching the Thai forces his unit’s methods of packing parachutes and aerial resupply.
    “Acting as a subject matter expert last year was a very cool and unique experience,” Madden said. “This year I’m here with the Maritime Raid Force, so I’m no longer the SME but I’ve been able to learn a lot working alongside the Royal Thai Marines.”
    During this iteration of Cobra Gold, Madden was attached to the MEU’s Maritime Raid Force, which consists of a Force Reconnaissance Platoon, an Amphibious Reconnaissance Platoon and a Security Platoon from Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. Throughout Cobra Gold, the MRF conducted shooting packages, parachute jumps, helocast inserts, which involve low level jumps from helicopters into water, and close quarters tactics packages alongside Royal Thai Reconnaissance Marines. For Madden, a lot of these events were prime opportunities to learn from his South-East Asian brethren.
    “This has overall been a very positive experience for me,” Madden said, “but my favorite part this far has been working hand-in-hand with the Thai Marines.”
    Mirroring Madden’s sentiment, Staff Sgt. Paul Machicao, a team leader with the 31st MEU’s ARP and another Cobra Gold veteran, also expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to train alongside the Royal Marines, mentioning an integrated night-time reconnaissance mission with them.
    “Being able to patrol and train alongside the Thai Marines in preparation for amphibious exercises and integrate with them on a more personal basis has been my favorite part of the exercise,” Machicao explained.
    Machicao, who participated in last year’s Cobra Gold with the 31st MEU as well, explained that this evolution had an added level of focus on unit-level training when compared to previous iterations, but that this focus has been chiefly advantageous in accomplishing the MEU’s mission of partnership and lethality.
    “Cobra Gold has been very beneficial for the MEU and [the Navy’s Expeditionary Strike Group 7] as a whole because it’s helped strengthen relations with our allies and partners from different services across the world,” Machicao said. “Being able to not only train with them but eat, sleep and breathe with them has definitely helped build cohesion and the overall efforts of the MEU.”
    Exercise Cobra Gold 20 is the largest Theater Security Cooperation exercise in the Indo-Pacific region and is an integral part of the U.S. Commitment to strengthen engagement in the region .



    Date Taken: 03.06.2020
    Date Posted: 03.17.2020 10:10
    Story ID: 365334
    Location: TH

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