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Photo Information

February 14, 2011, U.S. Marines with the Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear high-yield Explosive (CBRNE) detachment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB), observe two Royal Thai Navy Sailors conduct a mock chemical contamination drill in Samesan, Kingdom of Thailand, for 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. A successful Cobra Gold 2011 results in increased operational readiness of U.S. and Thai forces and matured military to military relations between the two countries.

Photo by Lance Cpl Brennan O'Lowney

Thai, U.S. forces share knowledge in CBRNE training

14 Feb 2011 | Lance Cpl. Garry J. Welch

Marines are trained to have the ability to react to any scenario that may come upon them, to adapt and overcome. The Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, have been training to do just that.

Members of the Royal Thai Navy and Air Force, as well as U.S. forces, gathered together to conduct chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosive training during exercise Cobra Gold 2011, Feb. 14.

During the bilateral training exercise, both Royal Thai and U.S. forces responded to simulated casualties, practicing different scenarios as the day went on.

“During the training, we all worked together so we could observe how we each do things,” said Capt. Taewa Sucharitwongsanont, Staff officer of the Naval Department, Royal Thai Navy. “The processes we use are very similar, we just use slightly different equipment.”

Due to the teamwork throughout the day, both sides were able to learn something from each other.

“I believe this was an eye-opener for all the forces involved,” said Sgt. Bradley Mowery, the CBRNE chief with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. “We were able to take little pieces of knowledge from them and in turn give little pieces back. This year we taught three days of classes for them, and they enjoyed every bit of it from the basic level all the way to the advanced hazardous material response.”

During this years training event, the partner nation forces trained shoulder-to-shoulder, and next year there are plans for an even more integrated approach.

“Next year we hope to have each branch take on a different section of responsibility,” said Sucharitwongsanont. “We hope to set it up so the Royal Thai Marines work one station, then the U.S. Marines the next, then Thai Royal Air Force, and Royal Thai Navy. It will still be a team effort, but each branch will have one piece of the responsibility.”

This years training was viewed as a success by all who participated.

“We got a lot of positive feedback from this,” said Mowery. “It was a great learning experience for them and for us as we watched them. They were very impressed by the gear we brought and we look forward to working with them again next year.”

This bilateral training ensures the region is adequately prepared for potential CBRNE disasters, and builds upon a partnership that has helped keep the region secure and stable.

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit