Amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8), transport dock ship USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26) and embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) finished operation Cobra Gold 2023 while in Thailand, March 10.
During the exercise, Makin Island, John P. Murtha and 13th MEU, partnered with the Royal Thai, Japanese, Indonesian, Republic of Korea, Singaporean, and Malaysian navies, strengthening these lasting relationships.
“Cobra Gold fosters interoperability and contributes to operational readiness of the Makin Island ARG and all participating nations,” said Captain Tony Chavez, commanding officer of Makin Island. “In its 42nd year, this exercise reinforces the importance of coordination and collaboration in vital areas such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.”
While at sea, Makin Island conducted a casualty evacuation drill (CASEVAC) which consisted of transiting a simulated patient by MH-60S Sea Hawk, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 21, aboard Makin Island for the ship’s intensive care unit to conduct mock x-rays and surgery. Conducting CASEVAC drills ensures medical personnel are trained to receive casualties, a prominent aspect of Makin Island’s medical readiness mission. The ship also embarked liaison officers from both the Royal Thai navy and Republic of Korea navy and hosted a visit with Thai and Korean leaders which included watching flight operations from the upper weather decks followed by a lunch and a photo opportunity.
Exercise Cobra Gold provides a venue for the United States and allied and partner nations to advance interoperability and increase partner capacity in planning and executing complex and realistic combined multinational force operations.
“It has been seven years since I was last home in Thailand,” said Airman Poomrapee Kijrattanakarn, a Thailand native currently assigned to Makin Island. “I am proud to return home and have people from my home country aboard the Makin Island, and proud that I and my counterparts can share my culture with the crew.”
Cobra Gold is one of the largest multilateral theater security cooperation exercises in the Indo-Pacific and reflects the U.S. commitment to allies and partners, providing a continuous and reliable platform to train, prepare, and enhance regional interoperability.
This year’s exercise consisted of three primary events: a command and control exercise, humanitarian civic assistance projects, and a field training exercise that included a variety of training events to enhance interoperability and strengthen regional relationships. Approximately 20 nations and 6,000 U.S. personnel participated either directly or as observers and approximately.
The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, comprised of Makin Island and amphibious transport docks John P. Murtha and USS Anchorage (LPD 23), is operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations with the embarked 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit to enhance interoperability with Allies and partners and serves as a ready-response force to defend peace and maintain stability in the Indo-Pacific region.