PEACE KEEPING OPERATION TRAINING BASE, Kingdom of Cambodia --
A mixture of laughter and yells filled the area as Royal Cambodian service members played Marines and Sailors with Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, in soccer and volleyball during a sports day, March 1.
Sports day was conducted after the conclusion of bilateral training during the between Cambodian and U.S. service members during the Cambodian Maritime Exercise.
“I had a really good time,” said Sgt. Jackie F. Damico, a squad leader with BLT 2/5. “The Cambodians are really good people, and it was a lot of fun to play sports with them, and be able to interact with them like we have.”
During the event, the Marines and Sailors were able to interact with the Cambodians on a one-on-one basis, in a more relaxed setting then when they were training.
“This was a great culminating point after all the training we have done over the past few days,” said Capt. Ben Middendorf, the company commander of Company G, BLT 2/5. “We all spent many hours in the hot sun training, and this was a great way to get together and have fun, and foster relationships between our two countries.”
Throughout the time spent in Cambodia, service members on both sides were able to get good training, but they were also able to make new friends.
“There were a few guys I trained with, and a few guys I was playing sports with today that I am pretty good friends with now,” said Damico. “They all wanted to talk to us and were very interested in what we could teach each other. Even today they wanted to interact with us and it just made it all a really fun time.”
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.