CHANTABURI PROVINCE, Thailand (Jan. 28, 2010) -- Cobra Gold officially begins three weeks of training for six countries Feb. 1, but already U.S. and Thai troops are working together on engineering civil-assistance projects.

For instance, Royal Thai Soldiers and U.S. forces are working to build a multi-purpose building at the Bann Radar School in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, about 68 miles from Bangkok. U.S. Marine and Royal Thai combat engineers are also working on a building for the Nan Jek Sroi School in the Chantaburi province.

The exercise will include a total of five engineering civil-assistance projects and also seven medical civil-assistance projects.

Cobra Gold is considered the the largest multinational exercise in the world and this year, it's 29th, participants will include Thailand, U.S., Singapore, Indonesia, Japan and Republic of Korea forces.

"Thailand is one of our closest friends and partners in Asia, as well as being our oldest ally in Asia," said Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Mixon, commander, U.S. Army, Pacific.

Sponsored by U.S. Pacific Command and the Royal Thai Supreme Command, the three-week exercise includes a command post exercise, a series of medical and engineering civic action projects, and joint and combined field training.

The Command Post exercise will focus on training a Thai, U.S., Singaporean, Indonesian, and Republic of Korean coalition task force. The exercise also includes Japan participating within a U.N. Force staff.

A team of representatives from Brunei, Chile, China, Germany, Laos, Mongolia, New Zealand, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Vietnam will observe the command post exercise at the invitation of Thailand.

The engineering-civil assistance projects are designed to build and strengthen U.S. and Thai Army relations to support future man-made or natural disaster contingency operations and regional security and humanitarian situations, officials said.