PHITSANULOK PROVINCE, Thailand -- The Chief of Defence Forces of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, Gen. Pornpipat Benyasri, Chargé d’affaires Mr. Peter Haymond, U.S. Embassy in Thailand and Lt. Gen. Gary J. Volesky, commander, U.S. Army First Corps representing U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, led the opening ceremony for exercise Cobra Gold 20119 at the Akathotsarot Camp, Phitsanulok Province, Feb. 12.
They were joined by the ambassadors of Japan and the Republic of Korea and representatives from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore along with many other dignitaries and national leaders representing numerous other participating nations.
This year the exercise takes place from Feb. 12-22 and focuses on three major components; a military field training exercise (FTX), humanitarian civic assistance (HCA) to communities and a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise.
“It is fitting that Thailand and the United States co-chair this longest running international military exercise in the world, since our nations also share such a long and close partnership in our history,” Haymond said.
This is the 38th iteration of Cobra Gold.
It is an honor for U.S. troops to be participating in the Cobra Gold exercise, Volesky said. “Thailand is one of the strongest allies [the United States] has.”
The exercise enhances security cooperation and advanced interoperability to increase partner capacity in planning and executing complex and realistic multinational force and combined task force operations. The exercise also represents the longstanding friendship between the Thai and the American people and increases the trust and confidence of the people in the region.
“We have witnessed that this Thai, American initiative has become a significant milestone of military collaboration that has expanded to the regional level,” Benyasri. “I believe that not only has Cobra Gold served as a platform for understanding and working together in the region, but has now become beneficial for our other strategic partners.”
Cobra Gold seeks to improve the capabilities of participating nations to plan and conduct combined and joint operations; build relationships among participating nations across the region; and improve interoperability over a range of activities, including enhancing maritime security and responding to large-scale natural disasters.
“Today's world poses diverse challenges that cannot be solved by any country alone; it is essential that we are able to cooperate and collaborate,” Haymond said.
This year, exercise Cobra Gold has nine participating nations, including Thailand, the United States, Singapore, Japan, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea.
Approximately 4,500 U.S. personnel are taking part, including the amphibious transport dock ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20), the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and U.S. Navy Seabees.