Bi-Lateral Breach Training
CHIANG MAI, Thailand (Feb. 3, 2009) -- A Marine with the Special Mission Branch, 3rd Special Operations Training Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, out of Okinawa, Japan, observes Thai Special Forces soldiers as they detonate a linear charge during Dynamic Entry training at Camp Khuwnian in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The live exercise was the culmination of five days of training as part of Cobra Gold 2009.

CHIANG MAI, Thailand (Feb. 3, 2008) - Five days of bilateral Dynamic Entry training culminated with a live exercise at the Thai 5th Special Forces Regiment training compound at Camp Khuwnian today, during which Thai special operations soldiers built and detonated interior and exterior linear charges as part of exercise Cobra Gold 2009.

"They went through a classroom portion, and they were taught a linear charge, another type of breach - interior and exterior," said Marine Capt. Zaher Bouza, the branch chief for the Special Mission Branch of the III Marine Expeditionary Force's 3rd Special Operations Training Group out of Okinawa, Japan. "Then they went into the building of the charge under the tutelage of my instructors, did a practical application, and they rehearsed the whole process, then they went into a live breach."

This is the first time the unit has conducted this type of training as part of Cobra Gold. It's also the first time some of the Thai soldiers have had the opportunity to participate in this type of training.

"This is a new experience for my unit," said Thai Army 1st Lt. Komsan Gomolapisak, of the Thai Special Forces. "We already knew some of the basic fundamentals from the U.S. doctrine, but the training here gave us even more new techniques."

Breaching techniques are used as part of search and seizure operations for high value targets, Bouza said. They also play a significant part in anti-piracy operations throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

While the exercise gave the Thai special operations forces an opportunity to learn more advanced breaching techniques, it also allowed both the Thai and U.S. forces to develop a more cohesive relationship for possible contingency operations.

Going to different countries throughout the Pacific Command area of operations to conduct this type of training provides enhanced capabilities on both sides and enhanced security throughout the region, said Master Sgt. Larry Ward, the operations non-commissioned officer and exercise planner for Special Operations Command - Pacific, which is the lead component for these types of training exercises.

"This type of training keeps us engaged in host-nation countries we're involved with and provides training to our military counterparts, which increases their security posture and their ability to fight terrorism or any other contingency that may arise in the region," Ward said. "It also provides us with regional expertise ... if we go into a country, that if there is a crisis we can go in and be familiar with the AOR."

In a contingency operation, this understanding can increase the ease with which nations come together to accomplish a common mission, Ward said.

The more the U.S. and its allies in the region conduct bilateral and multilateral training exercises, the better prepared the region will be to handle possible real-world operations.

"If a contingency broke out, it would be an easier transition to work together," Bouza said. "They would understand our standing operating procedures, and we would understand what their procedures are. It would just help make it into a more fluid bilateral, joint contingency operation."

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