Alaska-based Paratroopers Head to Thailand for Cobra Gold
From a U.S. Army Alaska News Release
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska, Feb. 14, 2014 Paratroopers from U.S. Army Alaska’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, are preparing to trade Alaska’s winter weather for the warmth of Thailand – for a few days at least – when they take part in exercise Cobra Gold 2014.
Paratroopers from U.S. Army Alaska’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, jump from an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transport during an exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Feb. 6, 2014. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jason Epperson
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Cobra Gold officially kicked off Feb. 11, but the Spartan Brigade paratroopers will join in by flying nonstop today on five Air Force and Air National Guard C-17 Globemaster III transports to complete a strategic airborne insertion at Lop Buri Airfield, Thailand, to assist with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief portions of the training.
Once on the ground, the soldiers will conduct combined ground operations with partner forces.
"What 4-25 brings to the table is unmatched throughout the Asia-Pacific region. We can quickly mass a large force to accomplish any mission that requires decisive action, from combat with a near-peer threat to humanitarian aid and disaster relief,” said Army Col. Matthew McFarlane, the brigade commander, who will jump into Thailand with his unit. “That this brigade can be wheels-up within mere hours to respond to a humanitarian crisis now versus later is a testament to the strategic reach that 4-25 gives to the [U.S. Pacific Command] commander."
Cobra Gold is an annual multinational and multiservice exercise developed by the Thai and U.S. militaries. Cobra Gold 14 will consist of a command post exercise, humanitarian and civil assistance projects and a field training exercise. Now in its 33rd iteration, 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.
The command post exercise and senior leader engagements will sustain and reinforce the foundation and framework for a multinational force to respond rapidly and effectively to regional crises, officials said.
The CPX will combine service members from Thailand, the United States, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia in a multinational-force planning team that will develop an operations plan to be executed in response to a simulated regional crisis.
During the field training exercise, forces from Thailand, the United States and the South Korea will conduct training designed to enhance interoperability and strengthen regional relationships.
“By partnering with service members from the Royal Thai Armed Forces, it's an acknowledgement to the Kingdom of Thailand that the United States is and will continue to be one of its steadfast allies,” McFarlane said.
Elsewhere in Thailand, Thai military personnel along with those from the United States, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and China will participate in humanitarian and civic assistance projects designed to improve the quality of life and local infrastructure for the Thai people as well as to share medical best practices with the local population, officials said.
U.S. Army Alaska has hosted about 20 Thai soldiers, sailors and airmen here for the past two weeks, conducting preparatory airborne operations and offering community interaction through local hockey games, tours and a potluck dinner at the Asian-Alaskan Cultural Center in Anchorage.
After their participation in the exercise, the paratroopers will fly nonstop from Thailand and parachute into Malemute Drop Zone here Feb. 17.