BAN CHAN KREM, Kingdom of Thailand – Royal Thai and U.S. Marines conducted aerial-insertions and jungle patrol training Feb. 12 at Ban Chan Krem, Kingdom of Thailand during Exercise Cobra Gold 2014.
The purpose of the training was to further familiarize the Royal Thai Marines and U.S. Marines with the basic tactics, techniques and procedures of jungle warfare.
“Today a platoon of (Royal) Thai Marines and a platoon of (U.S.) Marines assembled at a landing zone where they were picked up by two (MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft) and inserted at another landing zone to conduct jungle patrolling training,” said U.S. Marine Capt. Mike F. Clevenger, the company commander for Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment.
The battalion is attached to 4th Marines, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force, as part of the Marine Corps’ unit deployment program.
“The (Royal Thai) Marines know the jungle well and we’ve done our fair share of jungle training, but this training evolution is particularly important because we can teach what we know and they can teach us what they know,” said Clevenger. “Most, if not all, of the (Royal Thai) Marines have never flown in an Osprey before today, which is a good, new experience for them to add to their training. And aside from bilateral training, (one of the U.S. Marine Corps’s) purposes here is to build relationships with our Thai counterparts, so both sides will take away valuable training experiences (during Cobra Gold).”
Exercise Cobra Gold is a multinational and multiservice exercise, which takes place annually in the Kingdom of Thailand and was developed by the Thai and U.S. militaries.
“We are interested in learning about the (U.S.) Marines’ technology and techniques,” said Royal Thai Marine Capt. Jirapan Sukpimai, the company commander of 3rd Small Arms Company, 7th Battalion, 3rd Regiment, of the Marine Division. “We know how to do what we do well, but we are always happy to learn new things because it might help us get better at doing it. There’s no one better to teach us these tactics, techniques and procedures than the (U.S. Marines) because they know it so well.”
In its 33rd iteration, Exercise Cobra Gold demonstrates the U.S. and the Kingdom of Thailand’s commitment to a long-standing alliance and regional partnership, prosperity and security in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Working with the Thais has been a fun and interesting experience so far,” said Lance Cpl. Beto A. Chavarria, a rifleman with Lima Company. “I was really impressed with (their work ethic) and it was interesting to see how much we have in common when it comes to patrolling.”
Thailand and the United States are committed to working together in areas of common interest for the betterment of regional security. Working together, the alliance conducts joint and multinational training that is vital to maintaining the readiness and interoperability of the Thai, U.S. and other participating military forces.
“Building these relationships is incredibly vital for us, especially with the U.S. military’s focus (on assisting in) the Asia-Pacific region,” said Clevenger. “I know both sides will walk away from this experience with a better appreciation for and understanding of each other’s culture.”