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  • 2018
Cobra Gold 18: Allied Marines learn jungle survival skills

By Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony, III Marine Expeditionary Force

The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.
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Royal Thai Marine Corps Master Sgt. Pairoj Prasansai, a jungle survival training instructor from Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand, shows Republic of Korea, Royal Thai, U.S. Marines and members of the press, a radiated rat snake during jungle survival training Feb. 19, 2018, in Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand. The training was conducted as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2018. Marines learned how to identify and capture venomous and non-venomous snakes during the training. The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.
The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.
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A cobra is poised to strike during a demonstration on how to safely handle snakes as a part of jungle survival training Feb. 19, 2018, in Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand. The training was conducted as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2018. Marines learned how to identify and capture venomous and non-venomous snakes during the training. The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)
The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.
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U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Christopher Fiffie, a reconnaissance Marine from Edgard, La. assigned to 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, drinks cobra blood during jungle survival training Feb. 19, 2018, in Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand. The training was conducted as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2018. In a survival scenario snake blood can be consumed to keep an individual hydrated while the meat can be used as a source of nutrition. The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)
The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.
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Republic of Korea Marines, Royal Thai Marines and U.S. Marines, listen to Royal Thai Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Chaiwat Lodsin, left, a jungle survival training instructor from Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand, Feb. 19, 2018, during Exercise Cobra Gold 2018, in Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand. Exercise Cobra Gold, in its 37th iteration, is designed to advance regional security and ensure effective responses to regional crises by bringing together a robust multinational force to address shared goals and security commitments in the Indo-Pacific region. The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)
The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.
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Royal Thai Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Chaiwat Lodsin, right, a jungle survival training instructor from Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand, gives Republic of Korea Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Choelryoong Wyang, reconnaissance Marine, celery Feb. 19, 2018, during jungle survival training Feb. 19, 2018, in Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand. The training was conducted as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2018. The training was focused on wilderness survival where Marines learned which foods, animals and insects were safe to eat and how to find potable water. The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)
The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.
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Republic of Korea Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Choelryoong Wyang, a reconnaissance Marine, holds a scorpion while U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Alan Bounyasith, left, 3rd Marine Division, reconnaissance Marine from Marietta, Ga., and U.S.M.C. Sgt. Leo Briseno, a 3rd Marine Division reconnaissance Marine from Corpus Christi, Texas, prepare to eat a scorpion during jungle survival training Feb. 19, 2018, in Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand. The training was conducted as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2018. Insects can be a good source of nutrition in a survival scenario enabling forces to continue the mission. The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.
Cobra Gold 18 is an annual exercise conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.
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Servicemembers from Royal Thai, Republic of Korea, Malaysian, Japanese armed forces and Disaster Assistance Response Team enter a building as a part of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Exercise during Exercise Cobra Gold 2018 at the Disaster Relief Training Center in Chachoengsao province, Kingdom of Thailand on Feb. 22, 2018. Cobra Gold 18 is an annual exercise conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Breanna L. Weisenberger)
Cobra Gold 18 is an annual exercise conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.
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U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Craig Timberlake, commanding general of 3rd Marine Division, observes the operations inside of the Royal Thai Air Force field hospital as a part of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Exercise during Exercise Cobra Gold 2018 at the Disaster Relief Training Center in Chachoengsao province, Kingdom of Thailand on Feb. 22, 2018. Cobra Gold 18 is an annual exercise conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.
The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.
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Royal Thai Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Chaiwat Lodsin, left, a jungle survival training instructor from Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand, offers cooked insects to Republic of Korea, Royal Thai and U.S. Marines during jungle survival training Feb. 19, 2018, in Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand. The training was conducted as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2018. The training taught Marines how to identify edible insects and how to prepare them for consumption. The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)
The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.
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Republic of Korea, Royal Thai and U.S. Marines, prepare to try various types of cooked wildlife during jungle survival training Feb. 19, 2018, in Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand. The training was conducted as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2018. The training was focused on wilderness survival where Marines learned which foods, animals and insects were safe to eat and how to find potable water. The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)
The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.
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Royal Thai Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Chaiwat Lodsin, a jungle survival training instructor from Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand, peels the skin off of a cobra during jungle survival training Feb. 19, 2018, in Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand. The training was conducted as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2018. In a survival scenario snake blood can be consumed to keep an individual hydrated while the meat can be used as a source of nutrition. The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)
The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.
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Royal Thai Marine Corps Master Sgt. Pairoj Prasansai, a jungle survival training instructor from Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand, holds a radiated rat snake during jungle survival training Feb. 19, 2018, in Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand. The training was conducted as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2018. In a survival scenario snake blood can be consumed to keep an individual hydrated while the meat can be used as a source of nutrition. The annual exercise is conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Micaiah Anthony)
Sunlight peeks though the tree tops as a team of Marines make their way through a dense and humid jungle. The last of their rations and water are all gone and there is no opportunity for resupply for several days. Thirst and hunger start to kick in. The mission still needs to continue and it will, because these Marines have had jungle survival training.

Republic of Korea and U.S. Marines acquired jungle survival training from Royal Thai Marines Feb. 19, 2018, in Sattahip, Chonburi province, Thailand.

“Today we're teaching jungle survival to U.S. and Korea's reconnaissance Marines,” said Royal Thai Marine Corps Master Sgt. Pairoj Prasansai, a jungle survival training instructor. “Survival is an important skill for all troops to learn, especially troops who may only have experience in urban combat but not in jungle survival.”

The class taught Marines basic skills to help them survive and thrive in a hot, dangerous environment.

“The course curriculum teaches troops how to find water sources, start fires, the differences in edible and non-edible vegetation and finding vines suitable for consumption and hydrating.” Prasansai added. “They also learn about dangerous animals and insects both venomous and non-venomous that are native to Thailand and are suitable to eat.”

Reconnaissance Marines gather vital intelligence and relay information up to command and control centers enabling leaders to act and react to changes in the battlefield. Often times sending them deep into enemy territory with limited back up.

“We fight at any time and place,” said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Stephen South, a 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, reconnaissance Marine from Goodyear, Ariz. “This training can be used during recon if we find ourselves far away from support options. Knowing what we can and can’t eat is very beneficial.”

Marines were given the opportunity to try some of the fruits, vegetables, herbs, insects and animals that can be found in the jungle and were shown how to safely capture, handle and consume both venomous and non-venomous snakes.

“In the wilderness you can drink the blood of a snake to stay hydrated,” Prasansai told Marines while handling a cobra. “Snakes can provide you with both the food and water you need to survive.”

After preparing the snake, students were given the opportunity to drink the cobra’s blood.

“It tastes like blood with a hint of fish,” U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Christopher Fiffie, a 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, reconnaissance Marine said with a motivated grimace.

Many students enjoyed the new experience and gained valuable knowledge to help them in the field.

“I’ve never done anything like this before and I didn’t know you could eat most of those plants,” said U.S. Marine Corps. Sgt. William Singleton, a 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, reconnaissance Marine from Franklin Ga. “Seeing the different animals that you can eat is pretty mind blowing. It will help us recognize [edible food sources] easier in the wilderness.”

With new skills learned, Marines from the Republic of Korea and the U.S. are now better prepared for when they enter the jungle.

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