PHITSANOLUK, Thailand-- Soldiers of the New York National GuardAca,!a,,cs 2-108 Infantry Battalion and 2-23 Infantry Regiment (Stryker) from Fort Lewis, Wash., conducted joint training with their Thai counterparts during Exercise Cobra Gold 09, sharing their expertise in areas such as mortar fire, land navigation, squad movement and weapons training.

Aca,!A"I am impressed with the motivation of the Thai Soldiers. Although itAca,!a,,cs hot out here, they have kept their spirits up and are taking in the feedback we give them,Aca,!A? said Pvt. 1st Class Philip Binnette.

American Soldiers have found working with the Thai Army to be a rewarding experience, as it prepares allies to work on strengthening their relationship, promoting stability and cooperation around the world.

Aca,!A"I have really been enjoying this experience,Aca,!A? said Sgt. James Clark, an infantryman with 2-23 Recon Platoon. Aca,!A"I am impressed with how disciplined the Thai Soldiers are and their level of morale. They are putting in 100 percent to get everything they can out of the training.Aca,!A?

Although an inevitable language barrier exists between the Soldiers, it has not stopped them from sharing their knowledge.

Aca,!A"I thought it would be difficult to communicate with the Thais before we got here, but it hasnAca,!a,,ct been at all. There are a lot of Thai Soldiers who speak English and some military language is universal,Aca,!A? said Sgt. Ulysses Cullares, mortar man with HHC 2-108.

In addition to sharing military skills and tactics, they have been able to share with each other their distinct cultures. American Soldiers have enjoyed experiencing a country much different than their own and widening their global perspectives.

Aca,!A"The Thai people have been very receptive to us and we have been very open to sharing experiences with them,Aca,!A? said Clark. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs a completely different world and their culture is so different and interesting.Aca,!A?

Cobra Gold is an essential tool to strengthen international relations and keep allies prepared to work together in future conflicts and peacekeeping operations. It also gives service members a chance to learn new skills they can take with them and apply to their own tactics and procedures.

Aca,!A"We are not here to change the way things are done, but to see how other armies do business and see what we can do to improve our own practices,Aca,!A? said Capt. Frank Washburn, safety officer for 2-108.

For the Soldiers, the experience has given them an opportunity to strengthen bonds within their units while sharpening the skills they need to keep them prepared for combat. For the New York guardsmen, CG09 has been an especially unique experience.

Aca,!A"So far we have seen great camaraderie among our guys. As a National Guard unit, this is an opportunity that is hard to come by. I am really proud of my guys for how well they have responded to this training,Aca,!A? said Washburn.

In order to ensure success for this yearAca,!a,,cs Cobra Gold exercise, the Soldiers will continue to work on improving U.S. relations with more than 20 countries involved and ensure military readiness.

Aca,!A"Every little bit of effort helps improve our world. With each small step we take, we create stronger international ties,Aca,!A? said Washburn. Aca,!A"In the end it makes all of us better and keeps us prepared to work with our allies whenever necessary.Aca,!A?

Page last updated Tue February 10th, 2009 at 15:10