Thai, U.S. Aircraft Rescue Firefighters compete in Crash Crew Rodeo

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U.S. Marine and Royal Thai Air Force Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Specialists race during a Crash Crew Rodeo competition, Feb. 20.
U.S. Marine and Royal Thai Air Force Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Specialists race during a Crash Crew Rodeo competition, Feb. 20.

Thai, U.S. Aircraft Rescue Firefighters compete in Crash Crew Rodeo

by: Lance Cpl. Mandaline Hatch, III MEF/MCIPAC Consolidated Public Affairs Office | .
U.S. Marine Corps | .
published: March 07, 2015

ROYAL THAI AIR FORCE BASE KORAT, Kingdom of Thailand -- Mixed teams of U.S. Marine and Royal Thai Aircraft Rescue Firefighting specialists competed in a Crash Crew Rodeo, Feb. 20. The competition celebrated the conclusion of Exercise Cobra Gold 2015 and the friendships between the Marine and Thai firefighters.

CG 15 increased cooperation, interoperability and collaboration among partner nations to achieve effective solutions to common challenges.

“We are a family, and we take care of each other,” said Royal Thai Air Force Rescue and Firefighting Station Captain, Flight Sergeant 3rd Class Thinnapat Sakmassarht, with Wing 1, RTAF. “So when we work, we can work together.”

The U.S. Marine ARF are not particularly familiar with the RTAF’s aircraft, nor are the RTAF ARF with Marine aircraft. They had to learn how to work together to perform crash crew responsibilities in the unfortunate incident where an aircraft- U.S. or Thai- goes down unexpectedly.

Despite all the differences in the two countries, including culture dissimilarities, a language barrier, and different firefighting methods, U.S. Marines and the Thai ARF learned to work competently together to complete their tasks. This was shown in the teamwork they used to compete in the Crash Crew Rodeo.

“It was fun hanging out with the Thais one last time, doing what we do, and having a competition,” said Cpl. Isaac Ross, an ARF specialist with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.

Instead of having U.S. Marines against the RTAF, the teams were inter-mixed to boost camaraderie between the two militaries.

“There was a lot of camaraderie coming from it, they taught us stuff, we taught them stuff,” said Ross, from Grand Rapids, Michigan. “It was good working together with them, teaching each other, and having it all go smoothly.”

The Crash Crew Rodeo had a variety of firefighter events such as forcible entry practice, a hose lay, and a bunker gear drill. They also threw in some more entertaining events like a Dizzy Izzy, a twelve-legged race, and a Thai eating contest.

“Of course they’re really good at their activities, and we’re good at ours,” said Joshua Burch, an ARF specialist with Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force from Chester, Virginia. “It was fun.”

The Crash Crew Rodeo was the perfect way to wrap-up four weeks of bilateral operations between U.S. and Thai militaries.

The 34th iteration of CG 15 demonstrated the commitment of the Kingdom of Thailand and the United States to their long-standing alliance and regional partnership to advance prosperity and security in the Asia-Pacific region. For more information on exercise Cobra Gold, please visit the official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ExerciseCobraGold.