An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | March 9, 2020

31st MEU F-35 Flies Over Thailand for First Time Ever

By 2nd Lt. Jonathan Coronel 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit

SATTAHIP, Kingdom of Thailand -- Exercise Cobra Gold 2020 held its closing ceremony and culminating combined arms live-fire exercise March 6, 2020, successfully concluding the 39th integration of the largest combined military exercise in the Indo-Pacific region. This year the exercise included a brand new participant: the F-35B Lightning II fighter aircraft.

The F-35s, assigned to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 265 (Reinforced), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, made their first appearance during the Thai-U.S. Amphibious Exercise at Hat Yao Beach, Chonburi Province, February 28, 2020. During the initial phases of the beach seizure, two F-35s provided coverage of the landing craft and aerial assault aircraft, prior to providing a show of force across the beach in support of the landing force.

At Ban Dan Lan Hoi training area in Sukhothai Province, the F-35, launching from the flight deck of amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6), provided support to the Thai-U.S. Fire Support Coordination Exercise throughout the week, providing close air support with GBU-12 500 lb. laser-guided bombs. During this and other live-fire evolutions, four GBU-12s were expended at night for the first time ever, with the coordination of fires being provided by both Thai and U.S. Joint Terminal Attack Controllers.

In addition to the Thai-U.S. coordination during close air support drills, F-35s also supported five air to air events with both Thai F-16s and U.S. aircraft performing simulated aerial combat. Three of these events were large force exercises (LFEs) with 14 or more aircraft participating in the fight.

According to Maj. Casey Jenkins, the 31st MEU’s F-35 Detachment officer-in-charge, the chance to integrate with Thai partners was the most valuable takeaway from the F-35’s first appearance in Thailand.

“The integration with Thai air traffic controllers and tactical controllers has been hugely beneficial and this entire exercise greatly increased the F-35 detachment's long range mission planning and employment skills. The F-35 detachment received invaluable training by being able to participate in Cobra Gold 20.”

Exercise Cobra Gold demonstrates the commitment of the Kingdom of Thailand and the United States to our long- standing alliance, promotes regional partnerships and advances security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.


Like Us
Follow Us



USINDOPACOM Statement on DPRK Missile Launch
Sept. 24, 2022 - We are aware of the ballistic missile launch and are consulting closely with our allies and partners. While we have assessed that this event does not pose an immediate threat to U.S. personnel or territory, or to our allies,...

USS Ronald Reagan Arrives in Busan for First Time Since 2017
Sailors man the rails on the flight deck of the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), as the ship pulls in to Busan, Republic of Korea for a routine port visit. Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the United States, and supports alliances, partnerships and collective maritime interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
Sept. 23, 2022 - BUSAN, Republic of Korea -- The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier and the flagship for Carrier Strike Group 5 (CSG 5), USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), along with USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and USS Barry (DDG...

Joint Region Marianas Commander Reaffirms Guam’s Vital Role in the Defense of the Indo-Pacific Region
Joint Region Marianas Commander Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicholson receives a comment from Chief Justice Sir Gibuma Gibbs Salika of Papua New Guinea during the Biennial Pacific Judicial Council Meeting in Tumon, Sept. 20. Nicholson discussed overarching impacts of the law in defense operations and potential challenges to security in the Indo-Pacific.
Sept. 23, 2022 - GUAM -- Commander, Joint Region Marianas, Rear Adm. Benjamin Nicholson addressed the Joint Annual District Court of Guam and Biennial Pacific Judicial Council Conference, Sept. 20, and reaffirmed Guam’s vital role in regional...

CNO Meets with Chief of Royal Australian Navy; Discusses Increased Operations and Partnership
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday meets with Royal Australian Navy’s Chief of Navy Vice Adm. Mark Hammond at the Pentagon, Sept. 22. The two leaders focused on interoperability and their ongoing work to expand and strengthen maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region.
Sept. 23, 2022 - WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday hosted the Royal Australian Navy’s Chief of Navy Vice Adm. Mark Hammond at the Pentagon, Sept. 22.During the visit, the two leaders focused on...

Alaska National Guardsmen, Naval Militia and State Defense Force Deploy Across Western Alaska for Operation Merbok Response
Members of Joint Task Force – Alaska off load equipment and supplies after arriving in Bethel for disaster relief response Sept. 21, 2022, via a HC-130J Combat King II aircraft from the 176th Wing’s 211th Rescue Squadron. Approximately 100 service members from the Alaska National Guard, Alaska State Defense Force and Alaska Naval Militia were activated following a disaster declaration issued Sept. 17 after the remnants of Typhoon Merbok caused dramatic flooding across more than 1,000 miles of Alaskan coastline. A JTF in Nome is standing up concurrently as part of Operation Merbok Response
Sept. 23, 2022 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- More than 100 members of Joint Task Force Alaska deployed to the hub communities of Bethel and Nome today, as part of Operation Merbok Response, to support recovery efforts across...