South Koreans take larger role in Cobra Gold 2011

Thursday, 17 February 2011 From Issue Vol. XIX No. 7 By  Patcharapol Panrak

A beefed-up South Korean contingent was among 9,536 armed forces from six countries participating when Cobra Gold 2011 kicked off this month in Sattahip.

Fresh off armed conflict with North Korea, the south sent 304 marines to train alongside forces from the United States, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. Observers from nine other nations also attended. The war games began Feb. 8 and run through Feb. 18.

A beefed-up South Korean contingent was among 9,536 armed forces from six countries participating when Cobra Gold 2011 kicked off this Feb 8. A beefed-up South Korean contingent was among 9,536 armed forces from six countries participating when Cobra Gold 2011 kicked off this Feb 8.

Most of this year’s activities are based in Chiang Mai, but marine and amphibious exercises took place, as usual, off the Sattahip coast. The U.S. Navy this year contributed 5,900 personnel.

South Korean representatives said that country’s increased presence at Cobra Gold was to enhance tactics related to international cooperation in amphibious assault and humanitarian assistance missions.

The first of those amphibious exercises kicked off with vessels ranging from full-size warships to rubber zodiacs Feb. 10 at Had Yao Beach. The Royal Thai Navy contributed the HTMS Surin and Mannok while the U.S. brought in three ships, the USS Germantown, Essex and Denver.

The training assault was to test ship-to-shore operations. Amphibious assault vehicles, landing craft, and aircraft all took part in the mission, supported by 250 personnel. Forces used a rubber boat to remove and destroy explosives along the coast. After securing the beachfront, two air squadrons with eight helicopters carried troops to shore. There was also an air patrol and destruction of heavy weapons with 16 AAVs carrying troops to the beach.

Adm. Wanlop Kerdpol, deputy commander of Navy forces, said such tactics can be employed in difference scenarios around the world, such as the Navy’s recent mission off Somalia.

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