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NEWS | Feb. 26, 2024

Elements of the 15th MEU, USS Somerset Begin Exercise Cobra Gold 2024

By 1st Lt. Robert Nanna, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit

Elements of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived Feb. 23 in Chonburi province aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) to participate in Exercise Cobra Gold 2024.

Hundreds of 15th MEU Marines and Sailors will support Cobra Gold 2024, the 43rd iteration of the annual theater security cooperation event that takes place Feb. 26 through March 8. 2024, in the Kingdom of Thailand.

Cobra Gold 2024 demonstrates the U.S. commitment to the region by building interoperability, multilateral cooperative arrangements, advancing common interests and a commitment to our Allies and partners in ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

The 15th MEU offloaded critical equipment and resources from Somerset that will be necessary for participation in the annual multilateral exercise via surface and air connectors. The surface connectors included landing craft, air cushion assigned to Assault Craft Unit 5, and air connectors include CH-53E Super Stallions attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 165 (Reinforced).

During the Thai-led exercise, Marines and Sailors of the 15th MEU and the Somerset will focus on field training to enhance interoperability and strengthen regional relationships.

“It’s an honor to be here in the Kingdom of Thailand, along with the 29 other nations participating in the 43rd iteration of Exercise Cobra Gold,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Lindsay Mathwick, commanding officer of Combat Logistics Battalion 15 and commander of troops aboard Somerset. “This exercise is a longstanding symbol of the U.S.-Thai defense alliance and is a valuable opportunity for us to increase our multilateral cooperation with the other participating nations.”

Key 15th MEU training events will include an amphibious assault exercise (AMPHIBEX), combined arms live-fire exercise (CALFEX), non-combatant evacuation operation (NEO) exercise, as well as combined unit-level training events across three training sites.

Cobra Gold 2024 will be the first exercise for 15th MEU Marines during their scheduled deployment aboard Somerset. They will conduct various operations to allow for a broader U.S. presence in the region and support additional training events and exercises with ally and partner nations throughout their deployment.

Somerset and the embarked elements of the 15th MEU are part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and 15th MEU team. The Boxer ARG and 15th MEU team will operate in a disaggregated construct during parts of its deployment. Somerset and embarked elements of the 15th MEU are under the command and control of Task Force 76/3, employed by U.S. 7th Fleet to operate with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Task Force 76/3 is an operational command based out of Okinawa and is responsible for conducting expeditionary warfare operations to support a full range of U.S. 7th Fleet theater contingencies, ranging from humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to full combat operations.

For more information, photos and stories about Joint Exercise Cobra Gold, including past iterations, visit the Joint Exercise Cobra Gold public web page: www.dvidshub.net/feature/CobraGold, follow on Twitter @ExerciseCG, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ExerciseCobraGold. Additional photos and videos are available at www.dvidshub.net/units/15thMEUpa.

Media queries can be directed to the Cobra Gold 2024 Combined Joint Information Bureau at cobragold.uspao@gmail.com.

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