Bonhomme Richard ARG Completes Cobra Gold 2013 
By MC3(SW) Amanda S. Kitchner, Amphibious Squadron 11 Public Affairs  
GULF OF THAILAND – Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) completed their part in the U.S.-Thai co-sponsored multinational, joint exercise Cobra Gold 2013 (CG 13), Feb. 22.

CG 13 is the 32nd iteration of Cobra Gold and was designed to advance regional security by exercising a robust multilateral force from nations sharing common goals and security commitments in the Asia-Pacific region.

Participants from the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps totaling more than 9,500 personnel, worked together with service members from the Kingdom of Thailand, Singapore, Japan, Republic of Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia during the exercise.

“During CG 13, we conducted training vital to maintaining the readiness and cooperation of the U.S. and our allies,” said Lt. Emily Royse, operations officer, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) ELEVEN. “The ability to work hand-in-hand with our partner nations is paramount to ensure effective response to regional crises, should they occur.”

CG 13 was a multi-faceted exercise, which included a staff exercise bringing together a multinational force planning team to plan the response to a complex problem.

Other events included a senior leader seminar and senior enlisted team building event, both allowing information sharing and relationship building between key leaders from partner nations; six humanitarian and civil assistance projects, including engineering civic action programs, cooperative health engagement events and a medical symposium.

The 31st MEU participated alongside joint and multinational service members in a variety of field training exercises that included an amphibious assault, a small boat raid, a helicopter raid, a non-combatant evacuation operation, and a combined arms live fire exercise in addition to numerous other unit level training.

Bonhomme Richard ARG, comprised of the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), and forward-deployed amphibious dock landing ships USS Germantown (LSD 42) and USS Tortuga (LSD 46) worked alongside Naval Beach Unit 7 and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25 to provide sea and air support to the troops on land.

“The training that we have both received and shared with our counterparts strengthens our understanding of each others’ unique tactics and techniques,” said Capt. Ben Van Zytveld, 31st MEU lead Cobra Gold planner. “Our working relationship with partner nations during CG 13 and its previous iterations will go a long way in ensuring that we are well prepared to assist in our allies in the region when needed.”
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