By Cpl. Andrew S. AvittFebruary 5, 2009
BASE KHUN NEN, CHIANG MAI, Thailand- A detachment of seven U.S. Marines and 26 servicemembers with the Thai Special Forces commemorated the beginning of their combined training here Jan. 31 as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2009.
The U.S. Marine detachment from Special Operations Training Group, Special Missions Branch, III Marine Expeditionary Force is here to share their expertise in Dynamic Entry tactics with the Royal Thai Marine, Navy and Army Special Forces.
Dynamic Entry is often used during military operations in urban terrain, which requires military forces to enter hostile or unknown buildings.
"This is a good opportunity for Thai Special Forces to train with U.S. Marines. [They will] train and learn from one another, and this will be beneficial to future operations," said Thai Army Lt. Col. Ussawin Inthanont, commander of 1st Bn. Special Forces.
The curriculum teaches a variety of breaching techniques to offer the raiding force flexibility, such as mechanical, explosive and ballistic breaching techniques. Each method has pros and cons, which can be used to the raiding force's advantage.
"Any monkey can get explosives and destroy a door, but to use it efficiently, breaching is more like an art," said Staff Sgt. Mark Frease, an SOTG instructor.
Frease and the two other instructors for this course have routinely taught Dynamic Entry for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit Maritime Raid Force.
"This is a great opportunity for my instructors to work with the Thai Special Forces community and to build relationships and interoperability for future evolutions," said Capt. Zaher Bouza, commander of SOTG.
During the first three days here, the U.S. and Thai servicemembers worked together to prepare a condemned building for training by installing heavy doors and new windows - hardware that is destined for destruction during the practical application portion of the exercise.
The U.S. Marines enjoyed working with their Thai counterparts because they shared interesting and inventive techniques, according to Lance Cpl. Nathan M. Grose, a combat engineer with SOTG.
Throughout their work on the building, the multinational working party could be seen joking with one another as they found ways to work around problems, a sense of teamwork that is sure to grow throughout the exercise.
Cobra Gold is a regularly scheduled joint/coalition multinational exercise hosted annually by the Kingdom of Thailand, and it is focused on improving military-to-military relationships among its participants.