News

Annual 'Cobra Gold' Exercise Commences In Thailand

Feb. 14, 2017 | BY Lisa Ferdinando , DOD News
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Kicking off the annual, multinational Cobra Gold military training exercise in Thailand, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command hailed the event as a way to strengthen regional partnerships and improve readiness and responsiveness among exercise participants.

Navy Seaman Brandon Kase, a builder with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, a Chicago native, spreads cement during the construction of a classroom at Ban Nong Mang School in Rayong, Thailand, during exercise Cobra Gold, Jan. 30, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Wesley Timm
Navy Seaman Brandon Kase, a builder with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, a Chicago native, spreads cement during the construction of a classroom at Ban Nong Mang School in Rayong, Thailand, during exercise Cobra Gold, Jan. 30, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Wesley Timm
Navy Seaman Brandon Kase, a builder with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, a Chicago native, spreads cement during the construction of a classroom at Ban Nong Mang School in Rayong, Thailand, during exercise Cobra Gold, Jan. 30, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Wesley Timm
Building Education Together: Cobra Gold 2017
Navy Seaman Brandon Kase, a builder with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, a Chicago native, spreads cement during the construction of a classroom at Ban Nong Mang School in Rayong, Thailand, during exercise Cobra Gold, Jan. 30, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Wesley Timm
Photo By: Cpl. Wesley Timm
VIRIN: 170130-M-AR450-1016

Now in its 36th iteration, Cobra Gold is the largest theater security cooperation exercise in Asia, Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. told attendees at the opening ceremony today in Sattahip, Thailand.

Nearly 30 nations are taking part in the Thailand-hosted exercise, which runs until Feb. 24, Harris said. Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea are among the nations joining the United States and Thailand in the training.

Military Interoperability

"This high-level participation demonstrates a growing commitment to do the hard work and increase interoperability among our militaries now so that we know what works when crisis strikes," Harris said.

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Mario Rojas, with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, and U.S. Navy Constructionman Elijah Farladansky-Doyle, a steel worker with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, assist in the construction of a classroom at Ban Kok Kee San Toor, Khon Kaen Province, Thailand during the 36th iteration of exercise Cobra Gold, on Feb. 11, 2017.  Similar to last year, Cobra Gold 17 emphasizes coordination on civic action, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, seeking to expand regional cooperation and collaboration in these vital areas.  (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Nathan O. Sotelo)
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Mario Rojas, with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, and U.S. Navy Constructionman Elijah Farladansky-Doyle, a steel worker with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, assist in the construction of a classroom at Ban Kok Kee San Toor, Khon Kaen Province, Thailand during the 36th iteration of exercise Cobra Gold, on Feb. 11, 2017. Similar to last year, Cobra Gold 17 emphasizes coordination on civic action, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, seeking to expand regional cooperation and collaboration in these vital areas. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Nathan O. Sotelo)
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Mario Rojas, with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, and U.S. Navy Constructionman Elijah Farladansky-Doyle, a steel worker with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, assist in the construction of a classroom at Ban Kok Kee San Toor, Khon Kaen Province, Thailand during the 36th iteration of exercise Cobra Gold, on Feb. 11, 2017.  Similar to last year, Cobra Gold 17 emphasizes coordination on civic action, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, seeking to expand regional cooperation and collaboration in these vital areas.  (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Nathan O. Sotelo)
Cobra Gold 17, Ban Kok Kee San Toor, Khon Kaen Province
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Mario Rojas, with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, and U.S. Navy Constructionman Elijah Farladansky-Doyle, a steel worker with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5, assist in the construction of a classroom at Ban Kok Kee San Toor, Khon Kaen Province, Thailand during the 36th iteration of exercise Cobra Gold, on Feb. 11, 2017. Similar to last year, Cobra Gold 17 emphasizes coordination on civic action, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, seeking to expand regional cooperation and collaboration in these vital areas. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Nathan O. Sotelo)
Photo By: Staff Sgt. Nathan Sotelo
VIRIN: 170211-M-ZS579-020

Cobra Gold includes a staff exercise with a senior leader seminar, a field training exercise, and humanitarian civic assistance projects, Harris explained.

Approximately 3,600 U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are involved in the activities, which include shore and afloat training.

"This exercise will test us in realistic and complex ways," Harris said. "Earnest collaboration with open minds throughout our entire time together will allow us to learn with each other and from each other."

Multiple Events

Highlighted events, he said, include an amphibious assault demonstration, noncombatant evacuation operation, humanitarian civic action project site dedication and combined arms live fire exercise.

Students receive Cobra Gold stickers and coloring books from service members at Ban Nong Mee, Buri Ram Province, Thailand, during exercise Cobra Gold, Feb. 3, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Maximiliano Rosas
Students receive Cobra Gold stickers and coloring books from service members at Ban Nong Mee, Buri Ram Province, Thailand, during exercise Cobra Gold, Feb. 3, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Maximiliano Rosas
Students receive Cobra Gold stickers and coloring books from service members at Ban Nong Mee, Buri Ram Province, Thailand, during exercise Cobra Gold, Feb. 3, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Maximiliano Rosas
Delivering Coloring Books
Students receive Cobra Gold stickers and coloring books from service members at Ban Nong Mee, Buri Ram Province, Thailand, during exercise Cobra Gold, Feb. 3, 2017. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Maximiliano Rosas
Photo By: Lance Cpl. Maximiliano Rosas
VIRIN: 170203-M-FB282-001

Harris praised the nations and service members, saying they will learn from each other, improve interoperability, and advance and strengthen relationship that can be called upon in times of crises.

"Your contributions support stability, prosperity and peace in this region and throughout the world," the admiral said.

The exercise, he said is a place to "think creatively" and even make mistakes.

"Learn from those mistakes, and take your training to the next level," he said, adding, "This is how you grow and prosper for future crises. Together we will ensure that our training matches our expectations."

(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)