HAT YAO, Kingdom of Thailand --
An amphibious assault defines Marines worldwide. The transition from sea to land; the explosions of sand as Marines aggressively force their way to the objective; imposing fear into the enemy; fearless in their actions. In this same way, Marines captured the beaches of Guantanamo Bay in 1898 and claimed the island of Iwo Jima during World War II.
Marines today demonstrate that same capability with partnering nations as they charge the beach during the multilateral amphibious assault, a part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2012 here Feb. 10.
The exercise is an annual multi-national combined joint training exercise held throughout the Kingdom of Thailand. It is the United States' largest multilateral exercise in the Asia Pacific region and offers more than 20 participating countries critical training opportunities improving interoperability in conducting multinational operations. Participating Marines knew beforehand the training would be different than single unit events they had done previously. It required coordination between large elements from several countries.
“We're not [focusing today’s] training on tactics or command and control or how to deploy weapon systems. [Right now] we're out here to work together to see if we can execute a 3-company-wide operation onto a [simulated] hostile beach,” said 2nd Lt. Jacob Crokett, a platoon commander with Battalion Landing Team (BLT), 1st Marine Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
The event demonstrated the increased sea-to-land capabilities the Marine Corps have, which other military branches are too limited to conduct. “The amphibious assault shows the versatility of our assets,” said Lance Cpl. Steven D .Kellogg, a squad leader with the BLT. “After linking up all of our assets from the air, land and sea, [the assault] demonstrates the Marine Corps’ versatility compared to other branches.”
Sgt. Joseph Kim, an interpreter with the Republic of Korea Marine Corps, described the training with other participating Marine Corps as an especially valuable learning tool.
“Exercise Cobra Gold has been very important to my military life and this year it was a larger scale exercise than last year,” said Kim, during his second time at the exercise. “I can take this experience back to Korea and share it with the new Marines.”
Kellogg understood the importance of training with foreign nations after experiencing first-hand when he deployed to Jordan with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit for real world operations.
“I think it’s good for us to train with other militaries because there are situations where we would have to work with these other countries,” said Kellogg. “It’s good to train on a common basis. That way we can learn each other’s methods and know what each other is capable of. It creates better unity among us.”
Kim considers the unity among his Royal Thai and U.S. Marine counterparts very important.
“No matter what country we are from, if we are all Marines, then we know what to do,” said Kim, referring to the amphibious assault.
While the amphibious assault demonstrated the roots of Marine Corps fighting tradition, the enthusiasm of Marines conducting the amphibious assault was visible in all who participated, said Kellogg.
“As far as I’ve seen while working with the ROK and Thai Marines, they hold their standards high just as we do,” said Kellogg. “You’ll see it when we train with them; they show just as much passion in their job as we do in ours.”