By Sgt. Ricky Gomez, 3rd Marine Division
WHITE BEACH, OKINAWA, Japan -- U.S. Marines embarked on an amphibious assault ship headed to the Kingdom of Thailand Feb. 1, 2018.
3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division loaded onto the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) in route to the Kingdom of Thailand to participate in Exercise Cobra Gold 18.
“Cobra Gold is giving us the opportunity to rehearse a wide range of amphibious operations” Said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Evan Ota, a Kealakekua, Hawaii Native and battalion operations officer. “It is not every day you an opportunity to refine ship-to-shore movements.”
The Marines completed an extensive pre-deployment training program, focusing on live-fire maneuvers, vertical envelopment, infantry tactics, and military operations in urban terrain. However, this will be the first time most Marines will participate in a multination amphibious exercise.
“My squad and I prepared for this exercise by going over standard operating procedures and working on our small unit [tactics],” said U.S. Marine Sgt. Jace Pido, a Seabrook, Texas native and squad leader for Lima Company, 3rd Bn., 3rd Marines. “We also went through the combat life savers course and did some training on radio operations.”
Exercise Cobra Gold 2018 is an annual exercise conducted in the kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with up to 29 nations participating. Cobra Gold 18 increases cooperation, interoperability and collaboration among partner nations in order to achieve effective solutions to common challenges.
The Hawaii-based battalion is currently forward-deployed to Okinawa, Japan as part of the unit deployment program.