AAV CAMP, HAT KLAD, Kingdom of Thailand --
More than 140 Marines with Company B., Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, executed a mock mechanized raid with more than 50 of their Royal Thai Marine counterparts here, Feb. 11.
The bilateral raid was conducted during Exercise Cobra Gold 2012, and designed to improve interoperability between U.S. and Royal Thai Marines.
During the raid, Marines of the 31st MEU took a supporting role, by providing suppressive fire on the target area from the Royal Thai Marines left flank.
Doing so allowed Royal Thai Marines the chance to demonstrate and even teach the U.S. Marines their own tactics employed during a mechanized raid as they assaulted the objective.
“Everything went really well,” said Cpl. 2nd Class Teerasak Grearam, a fireteam leader with the Royal Thai Marine Corps. “This is the first time training with U.S. Marines for a lot of us, and I think we were able to learn a lot about how they operate, and show them how we operate. I consider being able to train with our U.S. brothers a valuable experience.”
According to Cpl. Tyler T. Wildeman, a squad leader with Company B, BLT 1/4, 31st MEU, the purpose of the exercise was to instill confidence in the participating Marines, which helps improve interoperability between the two countries. The exercise was not easy though, as there were still challenges to overcome in order to complete the mission successfully.
“The language barrier was hard to get past,” said Grearam. “But we did it and the rest of the training was good. Being able to get past the language barrier was beneficial because it allowed us to work together more effectively.”
Although the Marines of the 31st MEU were not the attacking force, many believed being able to see their Royal Thai Marine counterparts in action was beneficial.
“My Marines benefit from this bilateral training because they see a different side to it,” said Wildeman. “Rather than just living in our small circle of training, it opens them up to a wide variety and wide field of view to the training.”
Wildeman went on to say that training so closely with the Royal Thai Marines allows them to get to know one another better, and understand what each side is capable of.
“We’ve all got our attributes and our downsides,” said Wildeman. “So we can always learn a little bit from them and they can do the same from us. I’m very confident in our abilities to take this training and apply it to a real world situation, and whether they’re U.S., Royal Thai, or Republic of Korea Marines, I feel very comfortable working alongside them.”
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 is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and remains the nation’s force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.