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31st Marine Expeditionary Unit


31st Marine Expeditionary Unit

Ready - Partnered - Lethal

Okinawa, Japan
U.S., Thai Marines end Cobra Gold 2012 with soccer match

By Cpl. Garry Welch | | February 16, 2012

U.S. Marines aggressively attacked the Royal Thai Marine defenses again and again, but to no avail. On this battlefield, they were outmatched and would not find victory.

A team of U.S. Marines from Company B, Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, squared off against their Royal Thai Marine counterparts in a friendly game of soccer here, Feb. 16.

“The Thais definitely know what they are doing,” said Cpl. Taylor Perry, a team leader with Company B., BLT 1/4, 31st MEU. “They have a better passing game and a great defense, which makes it hard to stop them, and hard for us to score.”

By the end of the first half, the Royal Thai Marines were leading the game with five goals, to the U.S. Marines score of zero. The U.S. Marines started a comeback in the second half with a more aggressive attack, scoring three goals, but ran out of time to take the lead. The final score was Thai Marines over U.S. Marines 7-3.

Despite the lopsided loss, the Marines of BLT 1/4 still enjoyed the opportunity to bond with their Royal Thai Marine counterparts outside of a training area.

“We decided to play them in soccer since that’s their national sport,” said Sgt. Jesse Johnson, the assistant maintenance chief for the Amphibious Assault Vehicle Platoon, Company B., BLT 1/4, 31st MEU. “We didn’t get much time to interact personally with them since we’ve been here, we’ve strictly been doing training with the Thai Marines and this gave us a more personal aspect of them.”

When the game was over, the Marines of both nations went to the Royal Thai Marines’ officers club to enjoy a Thai barbecue, a Muay Thai kickboxing demonstration, a Marine Corps Martial Arts demonstration and each other’s company.

“This was a good ending to an outstanding exercise we’ve had out here with the Royal Thai Marines,” said Johnson.

CG 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 U.S.’s expeditionary force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.