HAD KLOD, Thailand (Feb. 9, 2009) - Yok Suntaraponton, a 10-year old Thai citizen looks on as Amphibious Assault Vehicles with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, return to the Essex Amphibious Ready Group during Exercise Cobra Gold 2009. According to Lt. Col. Stuart Lockhart, the executive officer of the 31st MEU, the purpose of the assault was to prepare for the upcoming bilateral amphibious assault and mechanized raid training that will be conducted alongside the Royal Thai Marines Feb. 13.
"The assaults allow us to work together and approach problems during operations from a different perspective. We can work together and learn from them as the Royal Thai Marines demonstrate how they conduct AAV operations."
Cobra Gold '09 is a bilateral exercise focusing on military interoperability training and strengthening the long-standing partnership between the Royal Thai and U.S. Armed Forces.