BAN PHROMNIMIT, Thailand -- As people settle into their seats, the dedication ceremony for a one-room multi-purpose educational building began Feb. 16 at Ban Phromnimit, Sakaeo, Thailand. The ceremony brought a close to the work and effort of the Thai, U.S. and Indonesian military engineering teams during Exercise Cobra Gold 16.
Cobra Gold, in its 35th iteration, is the largest multinational exercise in Asia and is an integral part of the U.S. commitment to strengthen engagement and partnerships in the region.
The ceremony included performances from local school children, comments from distinguished visitors, the planting of trees in front of the new building and the handing off of the building to the school. The distinguished visitors that presided over the dedication ceremony were Royal Thai Army Brig. Gen. Kriengsak Mheethong, Indonesian Col. Made Trika, U.S. Army 1st Lt. Quintin Duenas and Mr. Patratorn Tienchai.
“We have to cooperate with foreign counterparts and this (Cobra Gold 16) gives us a better understanding of their background and where they come from,” said Duenas, officer in charge, humanitarian civic action Site 6, Combined Joint Civil Military Operations Task Force. “The dedication ceremony was to show that there was a cohesive unit working to construct a building and to give back to the school. This (the HCA work) is actually one of the experiences that I wanted when I joined the military, was to give back to people,” said the Guam native.
The construction at Ban Phromnimit was one of six humanitarian civic action projects in which Indo-Asian Pacific nation’s militaries worked together on the construction of vertical buildings and other civic programs to support security and humanitarian interests of friends and partner nations.
The Cobra Gold exercise is not only for the military, but it is also to help people and establish peace, said Mheethong, deputy chief of command, Foreign Development Command. I would like to thank all of you that made this project possible and show that this is a symbol of harmony, said Mheethong.
This year, Cobra Gold emphasized coordination on civic action, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, with the aim of expanding regional cooperation and collaboration in these vital areas with partner nations and allies.
The HCA programs helped to improve the quality of life, as well as the general health and welfare of civilian residents in the exercise areas. Community engagement and medical activities conducted during the exercise helped to support the needs and humanitarian interests of civilian populations around the region.
During the ceremony, members of the Mobile Dental Unit, Fort Surasinghanart Hospital, 19th Military Circle, Royal Thai Army, provided dental services to the local civilians and children.
Once the ceremony concluded, food was offered to all the people and children that attend. The stalls were arranged like an open-air market, have many smells mix in air making mouths water as there was a variety of choices.
The residents of Sakaeo were grateful for the efforts of the multi-national team and their commitment to help better the community.
This community has many people living here, and the school did not have enough room for the students so I am honored to receive this building from the Cobra Gold team, said Mr. Patratorn Tienchai, governor of Sakaeo Province.
This project for will help the people and students of Ban Phromnimit, and I hope that in the future people around here will appreciate the military more, said Tienchai.