Cobra Gold 18: From fishing boats and pontoons to amphibious assault ships
Many Marines forget the Marine Corps is an amphibious fighting force by nature and being on ship is a reminder of their legacy. One particular Marine who spent many summers on fresh water, is now earning his coveted navy sea-legs.
Growing up, Lance Cpl. Jeremiah Cunningham would cruise the Delaware River with friends on a small, 25-foot fishing boat which held no more than 10 people on board. Today, he finds himself aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), an 844-foot amphibious assault ship which holds thousands of Marines and sailors.
“Being on a fishing boat with my friends is great, but I feel like there is a sense of purpose being aboard a naval vessel,” said Cunningham. “I am excited to be on an amphibious assault ship and do what Marines do.”
Cunningham, 20, is a Parkersburg, West Virginia native who enlisted at Recruiting Sub-Station Parkersburg June 13, 2016.
“I [joined] the Marine Corps because I felt like it was my civic duty to earn my keep as a U.S. citizen and give my time serving for those who cannot,” said Cunningham.
Cunningham serves as an infantry fire team leader, assigned to Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. His Hawaii-based unit is underway, heading to the Kingdom of Thailand for the large-scale multinational exercise Cobra Gold 2018.
“I am excited to show other militaries things that I have learned and making a stronger connection with the U.S. and our allies,” said Cunningham.
Exercise Cobra Gold 2018 is an annual exercise conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations. It is the largest exercise in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
The mission of 3/3 is to train and conduct theater security cooperation across the U.S. Pacific Command area of responsibility to ensure access, build capacity with regional allies and partners and rapidly respond to any emerging crisis in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.
3/3 has been forward-deployed to Okinawa, Japan as part of the unit deployment program since December.
U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Jerimiah Cunningham sits in front of his rack aboard the amphibious assault ship U.S.S. Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6), at sea, Feb. 6, 2018, heading towards the Kingdom of Thailand to participate in Exercise Cobra Gold 18. Cunningham, a Parkersburg, West Virginia native, serves as a team leader with Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division. Cobra Gold 18 is an annual exercise conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with up to seven nations participating.