U.S. Army Maj. Gen. William G. Beard, left, deputy commanding general of United States Army Pacific, Royal Thai Army Lt. Gen. Thawatchai Samutsakorn, middle, commanding general of 2nd Army Area, and Payakaphut Pokeaw, right, provincial governor, cut the ceremonial ribbon during the dedication ceremony for the multipurpose building at the Ban Wang Nam Khiao School here Feb. 16. The Royal Thai Army and U.S. Army with 176th Engineer Company constructed the multipurpose building over the course of one month during Exercise Cobra Gold 2012. The exercise improves the capability to plan and conduct combined joint operations, building relationships between partnering nations and improving interoperability across the Asia-Pacific region.

NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand - Service members of the U.S. and the Royal Thai Armed Forces attended a dedication ceremony with members of the local community to commemorate a new school building here, Feb 16.

Soldiers from the 176th Engineer Company, Washington Army National Guard, constructed the new building over the last few weeks, with their Royal Thai counterparts from the 2nd Development Division, Royal Thai Army, as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2012.

"No matter where in the world each of us is from, we all share a common desire: to ensure the quality of our children's future," said Maj. Gen. Gary Beard of U.S. Army Pacific.

The multipurpose building is slated to be used as a secondary school for the Ban Wang Nam Khiao School, and is one of six humanitarian action projects built during Exercise Cobra Gold.

"Our armies' combined efforts to provide an appropriate venue for learning to prosper is a down-payment on the future, as these young students advance the United States -- Thailand relationship into the next generation," said Beard.

Beard said Exercise Cobra Gold is vital for increasing joint military cohesion in preparation for disaster response and other future missions in the region.

A medical civic action project was held in conjunction with the dedication ceremony. Service members from 3rd Medical Battalion, U.S. Navy, and 65th Medical Brigade, U.S. Army, provided general medical and dental care; pediatric and optometry services, alongside medical personnel from the Royal Thai Armed Forces. Service members from Japan, the Republic of Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia also provided medical care.

Cobra Gold 2012 is the thirty-first iteration of the joint, multinational exercise held to increase interoperability with participating nations and to advance security throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Cobra Gold 2012 is scheduled to conclude on Feb 17.

Page last updated Fri February 17th, 2012 at 20:14