Cobra Gold 07
Ships, units and accompanying personnel of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force 76 and the Royal Thai Navy finalized details and plans for training, the start of the 26th iteration of Cobra Gold was made official with a ceremony and briefing 8 May 2007. The exercise went through May 18.
Participating countries included Thailand, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and the United States. A host of other nations were involved in the planning and a number of others were observers during the exercise. Australia, Brunei, South Korea, Canada, United Kingdom, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Mongolia were invited to be observers during the different phases of the exercise. Featured activities included a United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping computer-simulated staff exercise, field-training exercises throughout Thailand and several humanitarian, civic action projects. Guardian and RTN mine hunter Tha Din Daeng (MHC 634) demonstrated joint interoperability in simultaneously detecting and neutralizing simulated mines. The mine hunting exercises, also involved the deployment of Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5, Detachment (Det.) 51.
Two Military Sealift Command-chartered ships delivered thousands of square feet of cargo and hundreds of U.S. Marines to Thailand On April 22 and 23, Integrated Tug Barge Strong American off-loaded more than 110 pieces of cargo at Thailand's Thung Prong and Chuk Samet ports. Humvees, 7-ton trucks, aviation trailers, ammunition and other supplies delivered, supported U.S. Marine Corps field training exercises with Thai forces. Military Sealift Command supported this exercise in all previous years by delivering cargo necessary to conduct the exercise.
Field training for the Navy Forces (NAVFOR) took place in the mission areas of mine countermeasures, security/force protection, explosive ordnance disposal and diving. Involved assets included the USS Guardian (MCM 5) and embarked Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 5 Detachment 51, and Guam-based units Mobile Mine Assembly Unit 10, EODMU 5 dive personnel and Mobile Security Squadron 7. Also contributing to the exercise was an estimated 50 Reservists from ESG 7 Reserve Detachment 218 from St. Louis, who annually support Cobra Gold as part of their active training.
The command post staff exercise was conducted from a U.N. peacekeeping scenario, whereby two neighboring countries deploy military force in relation to a disputed country. Cobra Gold participants worked together, across all services, to get the fictionalized nations to draw down their forces and allow for the insertion of U.N. peacekeepers.
140 Okinawa-based Marines got hands-on training with 12-gauge shotguns that fired bean-bag projectiles, a high-tech, semi-automatic paintball gun, a Taser gun that fires electrified darts to stun and immobilize a person, and a 40mm Foam Rubber Baton - a roughly 1.5-inch-long cylindrical piece of lightweight foam fired from an M-203 40mm grenade launcher, at Thailand's Ban Chan Krem Training Area May 12. The bean-bag projectile each Marine fired was one of several nonlethal rounds in the U.S. military's arsenal that the Marines and dozens of their Thai counterparts became more familiar with during the day of nonlethal weapons training.
While the MPAT and UN planning cell contributed to the overall training during Cobra Gold, there were three major parts to the exercise: A peace support operations-based staff exercise involving a Thai led UN authorized multinational combined task force, a series of humanitarian civic action projects, and several field training exercises involving U.S. and Thai forces.
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