2/24/2012 By Army Pfc. Ryan Scott , Marine Corps Bases Japan
CAMP SURANAREE, Korat, Kingdom of Thailand — Kingdom of Thailand — The U.S. ambassador to Thailand and the Royal Thai Air Force’s Deputy Chief of the Defense Forces praised the efforts of those who took part in Exercise Cobra Gold 2012 during a ceremony at the Royal Thai Air Force Wing 1 headquarters here Feb. 17.
U.S. Ambassador Kristie A. Kenney and Air Chief Marshal Boonyarit Kerdsuk, along with representatives from seven participating nations, celebrated the relationships built and interoperability developed during CG 12.
CG 12, which began Feb. 7, was the 31st iteration of the annual exercise hosted by the Kingdom of Thailand. CG 12 is designed to advance regional security and stability by strengthening relationships and developing greater interoperability between all participating nations.
“Cobra Gold is a very important exercise and is regularly conducted,” said Kerdsuk. “It is a testament to planners at all levels, and the cooperation of every man and woman. We built a valuable foundation for future cooperation.”
“Our work will have a direct benefit for local people,” he added. “It will stand as a symbol of cooperation and friendship long remembered. I would like to declare Exercise Cobra Gold 2012 closed.”
Since the exercise began Feb. 7, approximately 10,000 service members from participating nations have been engaging in training events spanning the spectrum of military operations, including field training exercises, a command post exercise, humanitarian and civic assistance projects, and several senior leader seminars.
The exercise required extensive coordination from each participating nation during the preceding year.
“Our Thai hosts have been really superior, and the support that they have provided has been truly outstanding throughout this entire exercise,” said Lt. Gen. Kenneth J. Glueck Jr., deputy commander of the exercise and commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“Since this is the largest multinational exercise that we have in Asia today, it is a real credit to the Thai government,” he added.
Field training exercises took place throughout the country during CG 12. FTXs included a combined-arms live-fire exercise, involving close air support provided by Thai and U.S. militaries, artillery fire and infantry maneuvers. Other field training events included an amphibious assault demonstration, a noncombatant evacuation operation and jungle-warfare training.
Over the course of CG 12, thousands of rounds were expended, including approximately 600 mortar rounds, 500 artillery shells and 200 bombs or rockets fired from aircraft.
“This (was) another opportunity to come together and work on our tactics, techniques and procedures and to work as a coalition,” said Brig. Gen. Craig C. Crenshaw, commander of the Coalition Marine Force during the exercise. “We have been doing Cobra Gold now for over 31 years, and it really brings together all the nations that contributed.”
Additionally, 10 humanitarian and civic assistance projects were conducted, including projects to directly help areas affected by flooding from monsoon rains during 2011. During HCA projects, service members from the Kingdom of Thailand, United States, Republic of Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore built facilities for six schools, provided medical or dental treatment to approximately 1,200 Thai community members and provided veterinary care to more than 300 animals.
“Today is a special and important day in this beautiful and historic province. We are witnessing what happens when we work together,” said Kenney. “Cobra Gold is not only a partnership between U.S. and Thailand, but a partnership with many Asian nations.
“I am deeply honored to be here to see what our militaries have accomplished together,” she added.
In Korat, a multinational headquarters, comprised participants from 17 nations, was established to combat a simulated aggressive military force from “Arcadia” during a command post exercise. During the CPX, the multinational force shared knowledge and experience and developed an effective strategy which reinstituted peace and stability in the simulated region of “Pacifica.”
Several senior leader engagements took place throughout Thailand. Leaders from every participating nation shared expertise and lessons learned from real-world contingencies, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts during Operation Tomadachi and flood relief conducted in Thailand last year. Elsewhere, a group of senior enlisted leadership toured the addition to a school constructed by a multinational team of military engineers from the Kingdom of Thailand and the United States.
“(We had) a good opportunity to not only intermingle amongst the different countries, but also to see some of the positive things that can happen during an exercise like this,” said Sgt. Maj. Steven Morefield, III MEF sergeant major, during a tour of a building project.
CG 12, designed to enhance regional peace and security and prepare participating nations for the next crisis, has officially ended.
“Our mission is accomplished; we exceeded all expectations. A job well done to all,” said Glueck. “The legacy of Cobra Gold 12 will be long remembered. We have proven that we are ready for today’s crisis today.”