Story by Petty Officer 1st Class Alex Smedegard.
Naval Special Warfare forces deployed in support of U.S. Special Operations Command Pacific concluded a joint combined training exercise with Royal Thai Navy Special Warfare Command on Feb. 22.
The three-week exchange built upon the two forces’ long-standing relationships and cooperation within the Indo-Pacific region.
“We value our relationship with the Royal Thai Navy Special Warfare Command, and it is continued trainings like this that sharpen our tactics,” said the senior team leader of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare unit.
The exercise began with tactical training with weapons, close-quarter combat drills, tactical combat casualty care, explosive breaching, and maritime boat operations.
“Once we were able to share, establish and execute standard procedures, our two forces developed real-world special operations scenarios,” added the senior U.S. team lead. “This training enhanced our forces’ readiness and interoperability to successfully plan and execute modern-day missions.”
The realistic scenarios served as a capstone to the forces’ engagement and included maritime interdiction operations and visit, board, search and seizure rehearsals.
Personnel from U.S. Naval Special Warfare and Royal Thai Navy Special Warfare Command also exchanged culture history, traditions and customs.
“The bonds we formed while learning and understanding one another’s culture cemented the friendships during the training,” said the senior U.S. team lead. “Whether it was a traditional Thai BBQ one week or a traditional American dish the next, or Muay Thai training sessions together, and even the exchanging of patches, memorabilia and sharing the history of each other’s units and cultures – those deep personal connections are strengthened and forge a stronger shared interest of community.”
U.S. Naval Special Warfare is the nation’s elite maritime special operations force, uniquely positioned to extend the Fleet’s reach.
U.S. Special Operations Forces provide flexible response to contingencies in the Indo-Pacific. Integral to this capability is a forward-deployed posture and continuous engagement with partner and ally forces, heightening mutual interoperability and regional expertise.
“We have a strong, forward-looking U.S.-Thai defense alliance, rooted in history, which helps foster a region where all countries enjoy prosperity and peace,” said the senior U.S. team lead. “Our command remains committed to maintaining our enduring friendship with Thailand and the Thai people.”
The United States and Thailand have nearly two centuries of diplomatic relations and have been security treaty allies for over 65 years.
On Feb. 27, the two nations will participate in Cobra Gold 2023, a two-week-long multinational military exercise with thousands of service members and partners from across the Indo-Pacific.
This annual event increases the capability, capacity, and interoperability of partnered nations while simultaneously reinforcing their commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
The upcoming Cobra Gold 2023 exercise is the 42nd iteration and is set for a full-scale revival since the pandemic. The Thailand and U.S. co-sponsored exercise is conducted annually in the Kingdom of Thailand and will be held from Feb. 27 – Mar. 10, 2023, with seven full participants (Thailand, U.S., Japan, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Malaysia), three limited participants (Australia, India, China) and ten Multinational Planning Augment Team participants
This article by Petty Officer 1st Class Alex Smedegard was originally published on February 23, 2023 by the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service. DIVIDS content is in the public domain.
Photo: U.S. Naval Special Warfare and Royal Thai Navy Special Warfare operators conduct maritime interdiction operations during FLASH TORCH 2023-1, a joint combined training exercise built upon the two forces’ long-standing relationships and interoperability in the Indo-Pacific. (Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Alex Smedegard, Naval Special Warfare Group One, Sattahip, Thailand, 16 Feb 2023.)