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Royal Thai, US service members participate in annual friendship jump

By U.S. Army Pfc. Ryan Scott | | February 15, 2012

Members of the Royal Thai Army and service members from the U.S. Special Operations Command, Pacific excited from a C-130 Hercules at the airfield landing zone on Wing 1 Royal Thai Air Force Base Feb. 15.

The bilateral, joint airdrop known as “Friendship Jump,” is a tradition repeated each year during Exercise Cobra Gold. The joint team of service members has been working alongside their Royal Thai counterparts during this years’ Cobra Gold.

“Working with the Thais is great,” said Spc. Vasili S. Ivanov, an automated data team chief with the 112th Signal Detachment, SOCPAC. “We are very different in a lot of ways, but our jobs are almost exactly the same.”

This year’s Friendship Jump was graced by perfect weather and mostly clear skies.

“Jumping here in Thailand was perfect,” Ivanov said. “We had no winds, a great view of the airfield, and a soft landing. It was a perfect jump.”

After the jump, Royal Thai and U.S. servicemembers held a ceremony in which they exchanged a set of their parachutists’ badges, commonly known as “jump wings” with their counterparts.

“It’s pretty cool to get a set of Thai jump wings for my dress uniform,” said Ivanov. The U.S. and Royal Thai service members are training together here in support of Exercise Cobra Gold.

Cobra Gold 2012 is the 31st iteration of the joint, multinational exercise held to increase interoperability with participating nations and to advance security throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

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