SAMAESAN, Thailand (Feb. 12, 2009) Aca,!" As the rear hatch of the CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter opens, the Marines and sailors from different countries begin a fast paced assault with precision accuracy and continue relentlessly for the next hour. With little room for error, they Aca,!A"fastropeAca,!A? out of the helicopter, secure the landing zone perimeter, and form up in teams to push inland toward the target, a reinforced mock terrorist stronghold.
Royal Thai Marines with 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division and U.S. Marines and sailors with 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, trained alongside by conducting helicopter raid training during Exercise Cobra Gold 2009, Feb. 11.
Aca,!A"The purpose of Cobra Gold as a whole is to work together during operations and critique each other and show our strong suits,Aca,!A? said Lt. Col. Stuart Lockhart, the executive officer of the 31st MEU. Aca,!A"It allows us to work together. We can learn, and they can teach us their tactics.Aca,!A?
Throughout Cobra Gold Aca,!Eoe09, three companies with 3/5 are conducting separate mock raids, from Lima (boat) company, India (track) company as well as Kilo company with the Aca,!A"heloAca,!A? raid. Each specific event involved intricate planning and execution corroborated by both Royal Thai and U.S forces.
Aca,!A"The importance of this bilateral training is huge for both sides. The cross-pollination and expertise the Royal Thai Marines have in this environment is very helpful and good for training,Aca,!A? said 2nd Lt. Jonathan Liang, the 3rd platoon commander, Co. I. Aca,!A"We share expertise with each other, as well as tactics, techniques and procedures.Aca,!A?
The mission was simple, close in on the mock enemy stronghold and Aca,!A"eliminateAca,!A? the terrorists. The effort required to execute the mission was another story.
Aca,!A"The Marines know how to raid and take down the enemy in a building; thatAca,!a,,cs what they are use to. ItAca,!a,,cs getting to the target here thatAca,!a,,cs tough,Aca,!A? said Sgt. Mark Hamett, a squad leader with Co I. and opposition forces platoon sergeant. Aca,!A"Jungle maneuvering and jungle tactics is what the Thai Marines excel at, and they helped the (U.S.) Marines with that every step of the way.Aca,!A?
Once the Royal Thai Marines helped the Marines and sailors of the MEU push toward the objective through heavy vegetation to clear the stronghold, the U.S. Marines displayed their knowledge and experience.
Aca,!A"The Marines with 3/5 are proficient in clearing buildings because of previous deployments to Iraq, so we can teach the Thai Marines some tactics with that, as they teach us jungle tactics,Aca,!A? said Hamett, a San Diego native.
As Cobra Gold Aca,!a,,c09 progresses, the Royal Thai Marines will continue to work with and teach the Marines and sailors of the 31st MEU various tactics for use in a jungle environment Aca,!" something many Marines havenAca,!a,,ct had the opportunity to practice or experience. Cobra Gold Aca,!a,,c09 is a bilateral exercise focusing on military interoperability training and strengthening the long-standing partnership between the Royal Thai and U.S. Armed Forces.