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Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit unload their gear and equipment off of a Navy landing craft here, Feb. 8. The Marines aboard the landing craft were some of the first elements of the 31st MEU to arrive in Thailand for Exercise Cobra Gold 2012. The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward deployed MEU and remains the nations’ force-in-readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.

Photo by Cpl. Garry J. Welch

31st MEU arrives in Kingdom of Thailand for 31st Cobra Gold

8 Feb 2012 | Cpl. Garry J. Welch

Elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived in the Kingdom of Thailand to participate in the 31st iteration of Exercise Cobra Gold, Feb. 8.

Exercise Cobra Gold is an annual event that includes multiple bilateral exercises ranging from amphibious assaults to evacuation exercises aimed at improving interoperability between the United States, Kingdom of Thailand, and many other participating countries.

In total, more than 800 Marines and Sailors with the 31st MEU are slated to participate in CG12 with Thai, Singaporean, Indonesian, Japanese, Republic of Korea, and Malaysian service members.

According to Capt. Mathison Ghall, the commanding officer of Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 31st MEU, Marines have been training for months to prepare for this deployment, and for many of the Marines within the BLT this is their first deployment to the Asia-Pacific region.

“I think the part the Marines are looking forward to the most is training with our Thai counterparts,” said Ghall. “We get to compare how we do things and how they do things and we are going to be able to train each other.”

The training not only improves interoperability between the participating nation’s militaries, but also the overall relations they share.

“The 31st MEU’s participation in Cobra Gold allows us the opportunity to train with our longstanding allies, including Thai, South Korean, Japanese, Singaporean, Malaysian and Indonesian forces,” said Lt. Col. Brian Hawkins, the operations officer of the 31st MEU. “The more we practice and learn from each other, the more we understand each other and the better our interoperability becomes. We make friends along the way, build relationships, and we all share a common goal of enhancing peace and security in the Asian-Pacific region.”

CG 12 demonstrates U.S. commitment to its long-standing ally Thailand, and enhances regional partnership, prosperity, and security in the Asia-Pacific region.

The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward deployed MEU and remains the nations’ force-in-readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit