A CH-46E from the Dragons of HMM-265 prepares to liftoff the flight deck of USS Harpers Ferry
Gulf of Thailand (Feb. 07, 2009) - A CH-46E from the Dragons of HMM-265 prepares to liftoff the flight deck of USS Harpers Ferry while a landing craft air cushion (LCAC) assigned to assault craft unit (ACU) 5 transports Marines and there equipment from USS Essex (LHD 2) ashore during Exercise Cobra Gold 2009.

Gulf of Thailand (Feb. 07, 2009) - A CH-46E from the Dragons of HMM-265 prepares to liftoff the flight deck of USS Harpers Ferry while a landing craft air cushion (LCAC) assigned to assault craft unit (ACU) 5 transports Marines and there equipment from USS Essex (LHD 2) ashore during Exercise Cobra Gold 2009. Harpers Ferry and the 31st MEU are taking part in Exercise Cobra Gold 2009. Cobra Gold is an annual Kingdom of Thailand and U.S. co-sponsored military exercise designed to train U.S. and partner Asian-pacific forces. The exercise will include humanitarian projects with participants from Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and the U.S. The U.S. will also engage with Thai military forces in a field training exercise to promote familiarity with and cohesion between these partner nations' military forces. CG 09 provides a multinational environment to strengthen the bonds between the Thai community and partner militaries. Essex, commanded by Capt. Brent Canady, is the lead ship of the only forward-deployed U.S. Expeditionary Strike Group and serves as the flagship for CTF 76, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force commander. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan with a detachment in Sasebo, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew R. White/Released)

The ships of Expeditionary Strike Group Seven participated in a Replenishment At Sea, or RAS, with the USNS Rappahannock (T-AO 204) off the coast of Thailand on 6 Feb just prior to arriving for participation in Exercise Cobra Gold 2009.

Ships practice RAS evolutions in order to maintain the skill sets required to receive fuel and stores from another ship while steaming at sea. The Essex ESG participating in CG09 is composed of the amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2), amphibious dock landing ships USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) and guided-missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63). The group is coordinated by Amphibious Squadron 11 embarked aboard USS Essex. During CG09, the group will participate in numerous amphibious and naval operations with their Thai counterparts in the Royal Thai Navy and Marine Corps.

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Page last updated Sat February 7th, 2009 at 16:16