Marine aircraft wing provides assets in Cobra Gold
By Cpl. William Hester, III Marine Expeditionary Force
UTAPAO, Thailand -- Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 167 is among one of the squadrons aiding in the air-ground capabilities. HMLA 167 is currently supporting Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force in Thailand during Cobra Gold 16 as part of the unit deployment program.
Cobra Gold is a multi-national exercise designed to increase interoperability and cooperation through training events that are meant to advance solution solving skills between the participating nations. The goal of this exercise is to preserve and promote peace in the Asia-Pacific region.
“We’re proud to be part of this exercise as we participate with the Thais and other partner nations here,” said Capt. Ryan R. Morrison. “We’re expanding our influence in the region, learning from them, hopefully showing them some ways we do things and building relationships.”
Throughout this Cobra Gold, this year’s being the 35th iteration, HMLA has been able to exercise this trait in an atmosphere foreign than the traditional training areas in the United States.
“Generally speaking, HMLA will be responsible for going in and conducting reconnaissance of landing sites and objective areas and ensuring any threats are attrite before (other aircraft) come,” said Morrison.
HMLA is home to the UH-1Y Huey and the AH-1 Cobra. The two caveat off each other with the Huey providing highly capable sensors and a “God’s eye view” and the Cobra bringing longer distance weapon capabilities.
“HMLA really does provide a lot of noncombatant opportunities,” said Morrison. “We’ve already seen a lot of that in Nepal and in other humanitarian disaster relief situations where we are able to provide access to zones a lot of larger aircraft such as MV-22 Ospreys and CH-53E Super Stallions aren’t able to get into.”
HMLA is capable of bringing in supplies, limited CASEVAC and troop transportation assets during these humanitarian type situations.