AAV CAMP, Kingdom of Thailand --
Throughout its history, the Marine Corps has been known for its ability to strike from the sea anywhere in the world in a moment’s notice. In order to uphold that expectation, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit trains for mechanized raids, amphibious landings and a variety of other missions throughout the world to ensure its readiness.
The 31st MEU, using amphibious assault vehicles, conducted a mechanized raid with Royal Thai Marine counterparts during exercise Cobra Gold 2011, Feb.11.
As the raid began, multiple AAV’s disembarked the USS Denver and began moving towards their objective, a small compound believed to be holding hostile forces.
As the sound of gunfire and troops yelling echoed through the air, Marines from both the Thai and U.S. Marine Corps began methodically clearing buildings they were taking fire from and setting up security around the perimeter.
As the Marines entered one building, they began pushing up a narrow stairwell and took fire from their side and from above. Although the language barrier made communication challenging, the Thai and U.S. Marines continued to push forward together and moments later declared the building secure.
As the raid concluded, the Marines had eliminated or detained all hostile forces that were in the area, and had been able to work through the language barrier to accomplish their mission.
“This raid was very similar to what we are used to doing,” said Royal Thai Marine Lt. Komet Pinitmontree, a company commander with 7th Battalion. “The hardest part about the raid for us was the language barrier. In a normal situation, everybody knows their part and everything goes pretty well. But when we started taking fire, we yelled in our native languages first, because that’s what we’re used to doing. Then we would have to yell our orders again in English so the U.S. Marines knew what we were saying, so it really added to the chaos.”
Even though communication was hard at times, all the Marines that participated in the raid benefited from the training.
“We all were able to build onto the skills we have developed, and got to learn more about how each side operated in a stressful environment,” said Pinitmontree. “If the Thai and U.S. Marines ever go out into combat together, this training helps refresh the skills we have developed and will help both sides in these situations.”
For most of the U.S. Marines participating in the raid, it was their first time working with the Royal Thai Marines.
“It was a really great experience,” said Lance Cpl. Noel Miranda, a rifleman with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st MEU. “We got to see how they operated, and we benefited from that because we were able to see any flaws we had, and what we have to work on together, and that helps both sides.”
The 31st MEU will continue to cross train with its close ally, Thailand, and build upon the skills and friendship they have developed, enabling them to be ready to respond to any situation in a moment’s notice. Thailand is one of the United States’ five major non-NATO treaty allies in the region, and the partnership has helped keep this region secure and stable.