PHITSANULOK, Thailand (Feb. 21, 2013) -- Soldiers from the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team have traded in their usual frozen mountain training ranges in South Korea for the balmy jungles of Thailand, during Cobra Gold 2013.

The Soldiers in the South Korea-based 2nd Battalion "Manchus," 9th Infantry Regiment, are participating in the exercise, Feb. 11-21.

So far, U.S. Soldiers have trained with Royal Thai Army troops on marksmanship, demolitions and Muay Thai fighting. They have also conducted mock raids.

Service members from the U.S., South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Indonesia and Malaysia are training with Thai military forces during the 32nd iteration of the combined and joint exercise.

Exercise Cobra Gold is designed to protect the peace and prosperity of the region, according to Adm. Samuel J. Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command.

The Manchus are part of the South Korea-based 2nd Infantry Division's 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team. The battalion earned its Manchu title during the Boxer Rebellion.

Commanded by Lt. Col. Shawn Creamer, the 2-9th Infantry is a combined arms battalion that employs Abrahams Main Battle Tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles.

Eighth Army defends freedom on the Korean Peninsula and provides stability in the region. To maintain their readiness, Soldiers from the storied combat formation participate in exercises like Cobra Gold in Thailand, Balikatan in the Philippines and Yama Sakura in Japan.

Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson said the U.S. Army's premier combat formation on mainland Asia is focused on building relationships that bolster regional security as the U.S. military shifts its focus to the Asia Pacific region.

"As we rebalance toward the Pacific, we've got to get the best use of the resources we have there to reach out, make contact and build relationships in the theater," said Johnson during an Asia Pacific Panel last October in Washington, D.C. "Korea has been involved in that as well."