Photo Credit: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew R. White
Boatswains Mate 3rd Class Jarrett Hal acts as signalman while landing craft air cushion (LCAC) 63 assigned to assault craft unit (ACU) 5 enters the well-deck of the forward-deployed landing dock ship USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49) during exercise Cobra Gold 2009. Harpers Ferry is 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.