U.S. Marines, Airmen participate in Jungle Survival Training during Cobra Gold 2017
U.S. service members, along with their Thai counterparts participated in jungle survival training at Camp Banchan Krem, Feb. 17. The training was part of the annual multi-national military exercise Cobra Gold 2017 in the Kingdom of Thailand.
Members of the 2nd Battalion 5th Marines and Airmen from the 5th Air Support Operations Squadron received instruction from Marines assigned to the Royal Thai Marines’ Reconnaissance Battalion on survival in the jungles of Thailand when facing a variety of challenges including the climate and the lack of water, food and shelter. All of these factors and how the individual reacts can determine the difference between life and death, a lesson repeatedly emphasized throughout the training.
“When you are out there by yourself, you cannot worry about your emotions,” said Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Pairoj Prasansai, a Thai Reconnaissance Marine. “When your life is on the line, you simply have to do what you have to do to survive. You have to value your life.”
The training consisted of two parts: first, Marines and airmen learned about the different vegetation of the Thai jungles. The instructors showcased different herbs and edible roots that can be a source of water and temporary sustenance. The second part consisted of different survival tactics, such as making hunting weapons out of wood, preparing a variety of poultry for human consumption and how to safely and properly consume some of the most vicious, poisonous creatures of the Thai jungle – scorpions, tarantulas and cobras.
“I had the opportunity to learn about different ways to survive off of just plants and animals in a harsh jungle terrain,” said 1st Lt. Clifford Foreman, a weapons company platoon commander. “One of the most valuable aspects about this training is the perspective and experience for our Marines to interact with other marines from partner nations showcasing just how effective they can be. That experience instills confidence when we have to work with one another in future operations.”
The jungle survival training is a key part of Cobra Gold, which puts great emphasis on non-lethal activities, civic action programs, humanitarian aid and enhancing multiple nations’ interoperability. The training opportunities presented here will be utilized in future operations with partner nations all over the Indo-Asia Pacific.
“This training is very important because the U.S. Marines deploy all around the world and will experience most of what we have taught in this training in some of those areas,” said Prasansai. “So it is a good thing when they come to the Asia-Pacific and learn about the dangerous aspects of the jungle and how to survive in it.”
Cobra Gold 17 improves the capabilities of participating nations to plan and conduct combined and joint operations; build relationships among participating nations across the region; and improve interoperability over a range of activities, including enhancing maritime security, preventing and mitigating emerging disease threats, and responding to large-scale natural disasters.