News: Marines conduct mock helo-raid during Cobra Gold 2011
Story by Staff Sgt. Leo Salinas
SAMESAN, Thailand - U.S. and Royal Thai Marines were inserted by CH-46E Sea Knights and CH-53E Super Stallions to conduct a mock helicopter raid here Feb. 11, during Exercise Cobra Gold 2011.
Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade Forward, III Marine Expeditionary Force, trained alongside the Royal Thai Marines securing the landing zone, assaulting through an objective and securing the perimeter during the training evolution designed to simulate operations in an urban terrain.
The helicopters made their approach to their landing zone approximately 200 meters to the simulated enemy objective to give the
Marines the element of surprise. The Marines made a “hard-hit landing” securing and establishing a safe landing zone that would provide the maximum force available over the objective. Once at the building objective site, simulated casualty and mock enemy gunfire from Marines with Special Operations Training Group, III MEF, acted as mock enemy combatants and fired blank ammunition. However, the Marines tactically assaulted the objective and dispatched the 25 mock enemy combatants.
“The biggest challenge for this type of operation is getting off the [helicopters] quickly, getting everything established so you can push on the objective,” said Maj. Darren Crow, operations officer for SOTG, III MEG.
Both countries worked in tandem, using hand and arm signals to communicate when the language barrier came into effect.
“It is a good experience to get any type of bilateral training because you have a chance to showcase each other's strengths,” said Sgt. Richard Elsie, squad leader with 2nd Bn., 5th Mar., Reg., 31st MEU, 3rd MEB FWD, III MEF. “We communicate really effectively with hand and arm signals. That didn't negate us to do our mission.”
The opportunity to work with each other provided a benefit to both countries Marines during the bilateral operation, said Crow.
“Working with the Thai Marine Corps, I'll tell you, they are very good,” he said. “With our Marines and the Thai Marines, we learn just as much as they learn from us. They have a great amount of discipline.”
Cobra Gold 2011 is a regularly scheduled multi-national training exercise designed to showcase the Marine fighting forces of the participating nations, work on partner nation interoperability and train for multi-national responses to future regional crisis.
For more information about Cobr Gold 2011, visit www.marines.mil/cobragold2011 or www.facebook.com/exercisecobragold.