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American Forces Press Service

Annual 'Cobra Gold' Exercise Commences In Thailand

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 2017 – Kicking off the annual, multinational Cobra Gold military training exercise in Thailand, the commander of U.S. Pacific Command hailed the event as a way to strengthen regional partnerships and improve readiness and responsiveness among exercise participants.

Now in its 36th iteration, Cobra Gold is the largest theater security cooperation exercise in Asia, Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr. told attendees at the opening ceremony today in Sattahip, Thailand.

Nearly 30 nations are taking part in the Thailand-hosted exercise, which runs until Feb. 24, Harris said. Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea are among the nations joining the United States and Thailand in the training.

Military Interoperability

"This high-level participation demonstrates a growing commitment to do the hard work and increase interoperability among our militaries now so that we know what works when crisis strikes," Harris said.

Cobra Gold includes a staff exercise with a senior leader seminar, a field training exercise, and humanitarian civic assistance projects, Harris explained.

Approximately 3,600 U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are involved in the activities, which include shore and afloat training.

"This exercise will test us in realistic and complex ways," Harris said. "Earnest collaboration with open minds throughout our entire time together will allow us to learn with each other and from each other."

Multiple Events

Highlighted events, he said, include an amphibious assault demonstration, noncombatant evacuation operation, humanitarian civic action project site dedication and combined arms live fire exercise.

Harris praised the nations and service members, saying they will learn from each other, improve interoperability, and advance and strengthen relationship that can be called upon in times of crises.

"Your contributions support stability, prosperity and peace in this region and throughout the world," the admiral said.

The exercise, he said is a place to "think creatively" and even make mistakes.

"Learn from those mistakes, and take your training to the next level," he said, adding, "This is how you grow and prosper for future crises. Together we will ensure that our training matches our expectations."

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