An annual multinational exercise, codenamed Cobra Gold 2013, opened in Thailand on Monday with the participating of an estimated 13,000 servicemen from the United States, the host country Thailand and several other Asian nations.
Thai Deputy Supreme Commander Adm. Yuthana Fakpon-ngarm and U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney jointly presided over the opening ceremony of the annual exercise in the Thai northern city of Chiang Mai. Cobra Gold 2013 is scheduled to be held in varied provinces of Thailand from Monday until Feb. 21.
The multinational military exercise, the biggest of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region, were held in the northern provinces of Pitsanulok and Sukhothai, the eastern seaboard provinces of Chonburi and Chantaburi and the central province of Lopburi.
The army, navy, marine and air force servicemen from Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, the United States and Thailand are participating in varied training programs during the 32nd annual exercise, including computer-aided, command-post operations, staff and commanding officers engagements, field training operations and humanitarian and civic assistance programs.
A variety of weapon systems are being used during the 11-day exercise, including fighter jets, bombers, attack helicopters, amphibious assault and landing craft, among other armaments. The exercise was primarily designed to keep servicemen of the participating nations well versed with military interoperability, joint combat maneuverability, and concerted management in logistics and supplies.
Military officers from several other countries are viewing the exercise as observers, including those from China, Brunei, the United Arab Emirates, Laos and Russia.
"Cobra Gold is an excellent opportunity to develop effective solutions to common challenges, advance military-to-military relationships, and build upon international partner relationships while exercising the diverse capabilities of U.S. Pacific Command forces." said Brig. Gen. Richard Simcock, the deputy commander of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces in the Pacific.