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Seabees Depart for Exercise Cobra Gold

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050412-11
Release Date: 4/13/2005 3:00:00 AM

By Journalist 2nd Class Barbara Silkwood, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 40 Public Affairs

OKINAWA, Japan (NNS) -- A group of 75 Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 40 departed in April for Deployment-for-Training (DFT) Cobra Gold in Thailand, an annual joint exercise involving U.S. Armed Forces, as well as the Japanese, Royal Thai and Indian military services.

One of the largest U.S. military peacetime exercises in the Asia-Pacific region, Cobra Gold is designed to build ties within each of the participating nations, as well as promote interoperability between the nations' military components.

The Seabees will be dispersed among three different geographical locations throughout Thailand.

"The original scope of the exercise was to have projects in the north part of Thailand, but after the tsunami hit the region in December, the number of engineering projects was expanded to include an additional site in the Phuket area, and also a community relations project up in the Rayong Province," explained Lt. Joseph Pope, the officer-in-charge of the DFT in the southern region.

A group of 50 Seabees in the north will be working on three different projects - a bridge replacement, reconstructing a school and finishing up an assembly hall.

"This project [the Wat Koung Waree Assembly Hall] originally began during a previous Cobra Gold exercise, so we are going to complete the project. It should only last about two weeks," Pope said.

The largest project is the Wat Non Taroung School. The crew will demolish everything in place except for a few concrete columns and the slab, and they will rebuild the roof structure and the walls, and put in all the electrical components.

"It is a pretty large building, and since the crew is doing almost a full renovation, they will have a fairly tight construction schedule," Pope said.

The community relation school pavilion replacement project in the Rayong Province will have five Seabees serving mostly as technical advisors and project managers for 20 Thai Seabees building a small cafeteria there.

A group of 20 Seabees and 10 Marines, along with 15 Thai Marines, will also be building a water tower and a resource center for a community that was hit by the tsunami in the southern region of Thailand

"The main purpose of the project is just to support the community to let them know they are being taken care of by the international community," Pope said. "But this project, as well as the other Cobra Gold projects serve the purpose of building up the relationship between the U.S. and Thai military, as well as developing good community relations amongst the U.S. with the actual communities there."

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