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NEWS | Feb. 4, 2016

Cobra Gold participants Help Build Better Community

By Staff Sgt. Jose O. Nava

BAN PHROMNIMIT - Members of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, U.S. Army and Indonesian National Armed Forces worked beside one another to construct a one-room multi-purpose educational building Feb. 2, at Ban Phromnimit, Sakaeo, Thailand, before the start of Exercise Cobra Gold 2016.

The construction at Ban Phromnimit is one of six humanitarian civic action sites in which the Thai, U.S. and partner nation’s militaries will work together on civic programs to support security and humanitarian interests of friends and partner nations.

“It feels good just to learn different building styles, how they (the Thais and Indonesians) build compared to the U.S. A lot of them (the Thais and Indonesians) are very technically sound,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Camat, site chief, HCA Site 6, Combined Joint Civil Military Operations Task Force. “This is not our everyday job as reservists, to get to come out here and build a building is pretty awesome,” said the native of Guam.

Cobra Gold, in its 35th iteration, is the largest multinational exercise in Asia and is an integral part of the U.S. commitment to strengthen engagement in the region.

The HCA programs will improve the quality of life, as well as the general health and welfare of civilian residents in the exercise areas.

“There are still more kids out there that are not going to school because the buildings aren’t (big) enough to accommodate everybody,” said U.S. Army Spc. Pradarlanne McNamara , combat engineer with 797th Engineer Company, Vertical, U.S. Army Reserve Center Barrigada, Guam. “I’m pretty sure that not only the kids but their parents are really appreciative of the effort we are putting on (for them),” said the Guam native.

This year, Cobra Gold will emphasize coordination on civic action, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, with the aim of expanding regional cooperation and collaboration in these vital areas with partner nations and allies.

“This is my first time joining an international project and I feel very honored,” said Royal Thai Air Force Flight Lieutenant Somngarm Funtha, with Mobile Development 12, Royal Thai Armed forces Headquarters. “I’m so proud to work with the U.S. and Indonesia. We always cooperate and solve problems together,” said Funtha.

Each of the three different engineer groups participating in the construction at Ban Phromnimit learned much from each other. Along with sharing their building knowledge, the Americans even got to interact with the school staff and children.

This is a good project in that we can meet members of the U.S. Army. They are so friendly and say “hello” to us in Thai, it’s nice, said Mr. Wanchart Phetsri, computer teacher, Ban Phromnimit, Sakaeo, Thailand. Thank you all for building us a building that will be useful to us and I would like to say thank you on behalf of the principle and this community to the Cobra Gold participants, said Phetsri.

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