CAMP PHRAMAHA CHEDSADHARAJCHAO, Kingdom of Thailand --
Royal Thai Navy and Marine Corps officials welcomed visiting military forces, including members of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, during an icebreaker event held for the purpose of introducing multi-national service members participating in Exercise Cobra 2012.
The event brought U.S. Navy and Marine Corps service members, Republic of Korea Marines, and Singaporean Navy officers together with their hosting Thai military officials for an evening of camaraderie.
“We all want to build more understanding between our forces and continue our long lasting friendships,” said Royal Thai Navy Rear Adm. Gra-tes Chorchat, the official host of the event. “We hope for a successful exercise, and we also hope all our visiting forces are able to enjoy their time in Thailand.”
As the evening began, and official remarks were exchanged, the visiting military forces were treated to a spread of Thai food.
“This 31st Cobra Gold event has proven the importance of this region for all the participating forces,” said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Scott Jones, commander, Combined Task Force 76. “This greatly enhances our interoperability and readiness.”
Once night fell, visiting the visiting forces were treated to a cultural Thai dance exhibition.
“Singapore forces view Cobra Gold as a strategic exercise for us. Individually all our navies are strong, but collectively we can be stronger,” said Singaporean Navy Col. Sam Abey. “It is important that we make new friends and strengthen old relationships.”
In that spirit of strengthening multi-lateral friendships, Marines and Sailors from the four nations represented shared stories and looked toward the coming exercise with expectation.
“Looking around this evening you see Marine and Navy forces from four different countries all getting to know each other,” said Lt. Col. Brian Hawkins, operations officer, 31st MEU. “Just as we grow friendships here at this cultural event, we will also learn from each other during the exercise. That enables us to develop our relationships now so that if the situation dictates, we can conduct a real-world operation together already knowing and trusting our allies who are with us tonight.”
Cobra Gold 2012 demonstrates the resolve of the U.S. and participating nations to increase interoperability and promote security and peace throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
The 31st MEU, one of the many participants in the exercise, is the U.S. expeditionary force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.