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Photo Information

Marines and Sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, disembark a Landing Craft Utility Feb. 8, to participate in exercise Cobra Gold 2011. For three decades, Thailand has hosted Cobra Gold, one of the largest land-based, joint, combined military training exercises in the world.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Garry J. Welch

Tip of the spear in Thailand: 31st MEU arrives for Cobra Gold 2011

8 Feb 2011 | Cpl. Michael A. Bianco

Marines and sailors of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived in the Kingdom of Thailand Feb. 7 in preparation for the MEU’s participation in exercise Cobra Gold 2011, Feb. 7-18.

In the early morning hours, service members left the well deck of USS Essex (LHD 2) via landing craft utility and landing craft air cushioned. Vehicles, artillery equipment and other gear were also a part of the off-load.

The MEU will participate in several training events including a mechanized amphibious assault and helicopter raids. Along with the training evolutions, the Marines and sailors will also conduct engineering, medical and dental civil assistance projects and community relation events.

Logistics Marines, along with sailors of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group, have been working around the clock to ensure a smooth transition from ship to shore.

“It’s been a long process, but we are making excellent time and everything is running efficiently,” said Pfc. Aaron Gudex, a landing support specialist with Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st MEU. “This is my first time in Thailand and it’s all ready been a great experienced just to be able to help coordinate the movement of troops.”

For three decades, Thailand has hosted Cobra Gold and has made it one of the largest land-based, joint, combined military training exercises in the world. Cobra Gold originally was a bilateral exercise between Thailand and the U.S., but has grown to include Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea as full participants, as well as dozens of other countries as official observers.

This training evolution also ensures the region is adequately prepared for humanitarian disasters, such as the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami or Cyclone Nargis in May 2008.

The U.S. and Thailand enjoy a long and successful history of cooperation across a large number of issues including security, law enforcement, public health, and trade and investment. Thailand and the United States’ friendship dates back to March 20, 1833 when the Treaty of Amity and Commerce was signed.

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit