RECON CAMP, Kingdom of Thailand --
From the tropical jungles of Vietnam, the scorching deserts of Iraq, to the frozen Chosin of Korea, Marines are famous for their ability to “fight in any clime or place.”
In order to stay ready to uphold that reputation, Royal Thai and U.S. Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, participated in bilateral jungle survival training Feb. 14, during exercise Cobra Gold 2011.
“Your survival is based on your ability to find the resources your body needs to function,” said Sub Lt. Pranom “Mikey” Yodrud, an instructor of ten years with the jungle survival course, Royal Thai Marine Corps. “You will need to be able to find water and food. If you cannot, you will not survive. During my class I will teach you basic skills to do this.”
These words were the opening lines of the class. This drew the attention of both the Royal Thai and U.S. Marines in attendance.
The class taught U.S. Marines some of the plants and animals that are edible in Thailand, and ways of finding water in the dense jungle. It even taught the Marines ways of killing small game without using weapons.
“This class was pretty good,” said Lance Cpl. Lemoyne C. Spencer, a fire team leader with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st MEU. “We learned a lot of stuff that would definitely help us if we were to fight in this type of environment. They ended it in a cool way too by showing us a few cobras, it was really fun.”
Although the class may have been fun for the Marines, it did a lot more than just educate and entertain them.
“This kind of thing is a huge upper for morale after being on ship for so long,” said 2nd Lt. Carl F. Dietz, a platoon commander with Echo Company, Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st MEU. “Also, any experience like this on a military level helps build relationships worldwide. It allows our Thai allies to see that Americans are good-willed people that share many of their values, and are easy to get along with.”
In the end, all who participated during the course seemed more then satisfied with the experience.
“This course was awesome,” said Sgt. Ernest K. Hannah, a platoon sergeant with 2nd Bt. 5th Marines, 31st MEU. “It showed us a lot of stuff most haven’t even heard of before, and pretty much all of it was hands on training. I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who has the chance to do it.”
The Kingdom of Thailand is the United Sates’ oldest friend and ally in Asia, and that partnership has helped keep the Asia-Pacific region secure and stable.