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  1. #1
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    Thai-US Military Cobra Gold 8-18 May 2007

    THAI-US MILITARY COLLABORATION STILL STRONG AS COBRA GOLD CONTINUES

    Although Thailand has recently been through the throes of political turmoil, continuing unrest in the South and now has a military-backed government, the martial ties between the US and Thailand remain strong.
    Certain hiccups, such as the suspension of US military aid and Thailand’s recent dismissal of US military aid to quell the South weren’t enough to interrupt the annual live-fire war games – Cobra Gold – which are concentrating on multi-national peacekeeping operations this year.

    Other joint programmes were left in place by the US, though, notably in the field of counter terrorism, where Thailand is making a small, but significant contribution in the war-on-terror and the Al-Qaeda menace. Alexander Arvizu, the Deputy Chief Of Mission at the US embassy, did remark, though, that ”the US position regarding September's coup is very clear, that it is very disappointed and (was) a setback for Thailand and (bilateral) relations."

    Nevertheless, the military collaboration is considered far too important to allow any hiatus in the strong US-Thai relations, especially with the US being so finely stretched in Iraq and Afghanistan and the currently polarized Senate attitude towards the Iraq morass. Cobra Gold, the largest US war games in Asia, albeit scaled-down this year because of US troop commitments, are scheduled to take place from May 8 to 18th.

    Originally, Cobra Gold was limited to the US and Thai forces, but for the first time in 26 years, other participants are sending token forces to take part, namely Japan, Singapore and Indonesia. This reflects, no doubt, heightened anxiety in the region over the recalcitrance of North Korea on the nuclear issue and the recent rise in piracy in the Malacca Straits. The overall troop numbers will be 3,090 Thai forces, 2,000 US forces, 47 troops from Japan, 70 from Singapore and 27 from Indonesia. The 3 newcomers, however, will only participate peripherally in the war games, becoming involved in computer simulations and the observation of humanitarian projects.

    Other national observers from Australia, Philippines, France, Germany, China and South Korea will witness Cobra Gold this year

    Pattaya Daily News

  2. #2
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    10-day war games set to start

    10-day war games set to start
    BangkokPost.com, Agencies

    Thailand and the United States are to kick off their annual live-fire Cobra Gold war games this afternoon. They are the largest US war games in Asia, and will last through May 18, mostly in eastern Thailand.
    This year, it has a focus on multinational peacekeeping operations. Troops from Japan, Singapore and Indonesia will participate directly, while many other countries will observe the action, both in the field and during computer simulations.

    The war games come amid an intensifying insurgency in the South, and eight months after the military ousted elected prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a bloodless coup.

    Last month, Bangkok rejected a US offer to help train Thai military forces to quell the insurgency in Muslim-majority provinces, where more than 2,100 people have been killed over the last three years.

    The United States suspended $24 million in military aid to Thailand after the coup.

    "The US position regarding September's coup is very clear, that it is very disappointed and (was) a setback for Thailand and (bilateral) relations," said Alexander Arvizu, the deputy chief of mission at the US embassy.

    "For the exercise itself is a mutual interest of the US, Thailand, and other participants from Japan, Singapore and Indonesia to understand and train with each other," he told reporters.

    The United States considers Thailand a non-NATO ally -- the closest US designation a foreign military not a member of the Western alliance can enjoy.

    The war games were launched 26 years ago and originally limited to US and Thai troops.

    This year, 3,090 personnel from Thailand would take part along with 2,000 US forces. Japan will send 47 troops, with 70 from Singapore and 27 from Indonesia. Forces from those three nations will only participate in computer simulations and observe humanitarian projects.

    In earlier years, some 20,000 personnel participated in the war games, but the scale has gone down considerably in recent years.

    Arvizu said the decrease was a result of US military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, but was unrelated to the coup.

    Bangkok Post

  3. #3
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    Cobra Gold Concerned At Safety Of Us Sailors In Pattaya

    COBRA GOLD CONCERNED AT SAFETY OF US SAILORS IN PATTAYA

    High ranking officers of the US Navy and embassy officials recently requested co-operation from Pattaya City Hall, concerned at the safety of their 2,000 sailors when they come ashore at the conclusion of the current Cobra Gold 2007 military exercises from May 18th.

    Following the navy request, Mr. Niran Watanasartsathorn, the Mayor of Pattaya City and his deputy Mr. Ronnakit Akasing, had the pleasure of inviting Mr. Scot M. Burnet, Chief Navy Safety Officer of the American Military Safety Defence Division of Thailand and Mr. Kevin L. Wagoner, officer of the American Navy Crime Investigation Division of Singapore with their team to a joint safety meeting at Pattaya City Hall.
    Prior to meeting the mayor, US Embassy officials met Pol.Col. Suthin Sappueng, South Pattaya, and Pol.Col. Nopadol Sorasamran, Banglamung, to co-ordinate safety measures.

    The US Navy currently has a frigate with a crew of between 1500-2000 men, berthed in Juke-Samed Harbour, near Sattahip Navy Base.
    After Cobra Gold finishes on May 18th, the men are normally allowed shore leave and they descend on Pattaya in droves to stay at local hotels and indulge themselves in the entertainment venues of Fun City.
    Normally, apart from the odd deserter there have rarely been problems from the matelots, but due to threats against American interests worldwide, the officials are particularly concerned about the safety of their sailors, this year.

    To reassure the navy personnel that all necessary measures are being taken to ensure the visiting sailors’ safety, Pattaya City Hall showed them a Call Centre capable of monitoring tourist problems and providing useful information by hotline 1337.
    Another Control Room is equipped with CCTV to monitor 85 cameras and more cameras are due to be installed to ramp up the Pattaya coverage. The US Navy and Embassy also offered technical help and safety equipment in the event it was required.

    Pattaya Daily News

  4. #4
    ding ding ding
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    I saw some of these yank grunts in action around the bars in Udon Thani.
    They were one the whole the biggest bunch of cnuts u ever did have the mispleasure of meeting.
    Total disrespect of anything that was not American.
    They hardly had a braincell between them, no wonder uncle sam send them to get blown up in far away countries.

  5. #5
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    singapore is full of US navy sailors at the moment - you can see them everywhere - short hair, big necks, t-shirt and jeans wearing - always in groups of 3 or 4.

    some are ok, some are arseholes.

    but none of them can drink beer to an acceptable standard.

    and their presence pushes up the hookers prices too

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat Boon Mee's Avatar
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    Thai-US Military Cobra Gold 8-18 May 2007

    I've always thought Sattahip was a lot more 'livelier' when U-Tapao was filled with patriotic Yanks!

  7. #7
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    The annual invasion is on in Korat as well...

    The shops over here are normally happy to see them come ( or cum...)

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat
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    The real games happen in Pattaya.
    The rest is just classic Freudian penis envy.

  9. #9
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    Phetchaburi - American and Thai soldiers build a new school building

    COBRA GOLD TROOPS REACH OUT TO COMMUNITY

    American and Thai soldiers build a new school building for a needy Phetchaburi village
    Story by ANJIRA ASSAVANONDA

    First Lt Michael Bennon of the US army was all smiles as he talked about the mission he had just completed as part of this year's Cobra Gold military exercises. The ''mission'' he referred to, however, was not a field exercise with live weapons or any kind of military training for combat situations.

    Instead, it was the construction of a multi-purpose building for Ban Nong Kha Nang School in Phetchaburi's Tha Yang district.

    ''We chose this school not only because they are so in need of the structure, but also because the school director and the local community were very open,'' said First Lt Bennon, platoon leader for the group of 25 US soldiers who worked with 12 Thai soldiers on the project.

    ''They let the US soldiers live in the classroom, and the local community was very helpful and generous.''

    The new building will serve as a community centre, meeting hall and classroom.

    The construction was part of Cobra Gold's Humanitarian and Civic Assistance Project, which includes the Engineering Civic Action Project (Encap) and the Medical Civic Action Project (Medcap).

    Launched in 1956 as part of Thai and US military cooperation, the Cobra Gold exercises this year focussed on multinational peacekeeping operations.

    A total of 3,089 Thai personnel took part in the exercises this year, along with 2,091 US soldiers, 70 from Singapore, 47 from Japan, and 27 from Indonesia.

    But away from one of the largest multilateral military exercises in the region, troops were also focussing on other areas where the military feel they can be of help _ in communities.

    First Lt Bennon said the construction of the multi-purpose school building went well, with only minor problems, not least of which was the sweltering temperatures.

    ''The heat is my problem,'' he said, pointing to his thick-fabric uniform, which he said was not really suitable for Thailand's hot weather.

    And when it wasn't the heat, rain also tested the soldiers' perseverance. He said it poured down for six of the last seven days in April, forcing the soldiers to halt construction for a while.

    He also said the language barrier was a problem sometimes, but nothing that the troops couldn't overcome.

    ''Many things get lost in translation. Sometimes we said we'd like to do this, but they said they'd like to put it over there. Even though we had interpreters on site, it's still difficult to communicate about complex construction, order and tasks,'' he said.

    The only way to deal with the problem sometimes was to stop operations, and get out a pad and pen and write it down.

    It took the Thai and US troops more than a month, from April 8 to May 13, to finish the construction.

    Although aware of how much it would help the school, First Lt Bennon said such an operation was not only of benefit to the local community, but was also good for the soldiers who could learn a great deal from such missions.

    ''This very important mission is all about helping the Thai community, but the most important thing we take from something like this is that we learn more about each other's culture and we work together,'' he said. ''This relationship is going to last for a very long time.''

    Em-orn Thepthong, a teacher at the school, said the new building, which was officially handed to the school on May 15, was a delight to all the teachers and students. As well as serving as a functional classroom, the school plans to use the space for meetings, recreational activities and sports.

    ''We have wanted such a building for so long but have never had the money,'' she said.
    ''We felt so lucky that these soldiers came. They are nice, kind and friendly. The villagers often drank and danced with them in the evening after their work was over for the day.'

    Bangkok Post

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