PEACE KEEPING OPERATION TRAINING BASE, Kingdom of Cambodia --
Marines and Sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit successfully ended training exercises with the Cambodian military during a ceremony held March 1.
The ceremony, run by Cambodian service members, included traditional Cambodian music, food, and a gift for every Marine and Sailor present.
While the time spent in Cambodia training was short, the Marines accomplished their mission of sharing knowledge with Cambodian service members.
“It was fun training with the Cambodian military,” said Lance Cpl. Jeremiah F. Thain, with Company F, Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st MEU. “The language barrier was hard, but we were still able to share a lot of valuable skills.”
During the training, the Cambodians were taught about crew-served weapons, small arms, improvised explosive device and mine detection, combat life saving skills, the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program and mortar systems.
“The training the Marines were able to do with the Cambodian forces is extremely important on two levels,” said 1st Lt. Walker Huey, the executive officer for Headquarters and Service Company, BLT 2/5. “The first is this training helps everyone become more proficient as riflemen. The second is it’s important at a strategic level to ensure that we continue to foster and develop cooperation between our two nations.”
As the training wound down and the celebration of a successful exercise began, it was clear that Cambodian and the U.S. forces had become closer.
“We’ve built upon the foundation laid by earlier bilateral missions,” said Huey. “Because of this, Cambodia and the United States will continue to foster mutual friendship.”
In the end, when the training and ceremony had concluded, friends had been made by both sides.
“I have really enjoyed my time here in Cambodia,” said Thain. “I made a lot of good friends, and I hope I can come back sometime and teach them even more.”
The 31st MEU visited and conducted bilateral training as part of the U.S. Pacific Command’s Theater Security Cooperation program with the Kingdom of Cambodia. The program provides a unique and dynamic opportunity for cooperation between the U.S. and Cambodian military, while also promoting relationship-building between militaries and local communities.