Ships from the America Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) arrived with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) for port visits to Thailand in preparation for exercise Cobra Gold 2020, Feb. 22.
Cobra Gold is a Thailand and United States co-sponsored Combined Joint Task Force and joint theater security cooperation exercise annually conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand. CG 20 will be held Feb. 25 to March 6.
“Working with our Thai partners during exercise Cobra Gold is a superb opportunity for us to hone our amphibious and expeditionary combat skills,” said Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 7. “In this 39th iteration of this exercise, we are truly demonstrating what the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps team and the power of partnership offer this extraordinarily vital part of the world.”
The amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA 6) arrived in Laem Chabang and dock landing ship USS Green Bay (LPD 20) in Chuck Samet. Members of the Royal Thai Armed Forces welcomed America and Green Bay presenting Phuang Malai, or Thai flower garlands, to the commanding officers of both ships.
While in Thailand, Sailors and Marines will interact with their Royal Thai Armed Forces counterparts and engage in planning and interoperability events including ship tours, capability briefs, and exercises designed to give both teams a clear understanding of each other’s processes.
This year’s exercise will consist of three primary events: a command post exercise, humanitarian civic assistance projects, and a field training exercise that includes a variety of training events to enhance interoperability and strengthen regional relationships. There will be up to 29 nations either directly participating in or observing CG 20, with approximately 4,200 U.S. personnel directly participating both ashore and afloat.
Cobra Gold is designed to improve participating nations’ capability to plan and conduct combined and joint operations; build relationships among participating nations across the region; and improve interoperability over a range of activities, enhancing maritime security, and responding to large-scale natural disasters.
The Sailors and Marines will also have the opportunity to participate in service events including a sports day, community relations events, and morale welfare and recreation tours that will allow them to experience culture and build camaraderie with their counterparts in the Thai armed forces.
Operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, the America ESG, 31st MEU team is comprised of America, Green Bay, USS Germantown (LSD 42) and a Marine air-ground task force with a combined total of 4,500 Sailors and Marines who can conduct missions across the full spectrum of military operations.
By MC3 Vincent E. Zline, USS America