225th BSB supports Cobra Gold ‘14

| February 19, 2014 | 0 Comments
PHITSANULOK PROVINCE, Thailand — Spc. Jacob Bennett and Spc. Zackery Geller, weapons mechanics; Capt. Seung Seo, a force protection officer; and Pvt. Benjamin Marshburn, a generator mechanic, all with the 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Stryker Bde. Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, serve the first hot meal of the day to eagerly awaiting Soldiers, here, Feb. 7, during Exercise Cobra Gold 2014. Exercise Cobra Gold is a recurring multinational and multiservice exercise that takes place annually in the Kingdom of Thailand and was developed by the Thai and U.S. militaries. (Courtesy of 25th Infantry Division)

PHITSANULOK PROVINCE, Thailand — Spc. Jacob Bennett and Spc. Zackery Geller, weapons mechanics; Capt. Seung Seo, a force protection officer; and Pvt. Benjamin Marshburn, a generator mechanic, all with the 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Stryker Bde. Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, serve the first hot meal of the day to eagerly awaiting Soldiers, here, Feb. 7, during Exercise Cobra Gold 2014. Exercise Cobra Gold is a recurring multinational and multiservice exercise that takes place annually in the Kingdom of Thailand and was developed by the Thai and U.S. militaries. (Courtesy of 25th Infantry Division)

Sgt. Daniel Johnson, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

PHITSANULOK, Thailand — Soldiers of the 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Stryker Bde. Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, are supporting during Exercise Cobra Gold (CG 14) throughout the month of February in the Kingdom of Thailand.

The 225th BSB will support 1st Bn., 21st Inf. Regt., 2nd SBCT. The battalion will provide medical care, field-feeding teams and essential health and welfare recommendations for commanders on the ground.

“Our mission is to support 1-21st during Cobra Gold,” said Staff Sgt. Jeff Turner, noncommissioned officer in charge of 225th BSB operations in Cobra Gold. “We provide food service, preventive medicine, medical care, weapons maintenance and generator repair.”

Supporting more than 400 Soldiers is no simple feat. Feeding that many people alone is a monumental task.

PHITSANULOK PROVINCE, Thailand — Sgt. Sarah Neira, a cook with 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Stryker Bde. Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, prepares cranberry sauce for the dinner meal, here, Feb. 7, as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2014. Exercise Cobra Gold is a recurring multinational and multiservice exercise that takes place annually in the Kingdom of Thailand and was developed by the Thai and U.S. militaries. (Courtesy of 25th Infantry Division)

PHITSANULOK PROVINCE, Thailand — Sgt. Sarah Neira, a cook with 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Stryker Bde. Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, prepares cranberry sauce for the dinner meal, here, Feb. 7, as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2014. Exercise Cobra Gold is a recurring multinational and multiservice exercise that takes place annually in the Kingdom of Thailand and was developed by the Thai and U.S. militaries. (Courtesy of 25th Infantry Division)

“There is no off time,” said Turner. “We start around (3 a.m.) and begin preparing breakfast. Once it is served, we need to break everything down and clean it. Then, we have a couple of hours for personal hygiene and physical training before we start preparing for dinner. The dinner service and cleanup after can run until 10-11 p.m.”

Feeding Soldiers in the field isn’t as simple as driving to the grocery store and buying ingredients.

“When you go to a foreign country, on average, 30-40 percent of people will get sick from food or water-related illnesses,” said Capt. Seung Seo, 225th BSB officer in charge during CG 14. “We try to mitigate those risk factors so that the Soldiers can do their jobs without getting sick.”

Water is tested for chlorine and samples are taken to incubate and test for e-coli and other pathogens.

“The food has temperature checks from the supplier up to when it is delivered to us. We also ensure proper sanitation and cooking methods,” explained Seo.

Some of the most dangerous factors to deal with are the high heat and humidity levels in the region.

“We monitor the heat and humidity levels to provide a heat category to the commanders and recommended work and rest cycles. Water consumption is a critical factor in keeping the Soldiers healthy,” said Seo.

PHITSANULOK PROVINCE, Thailand — Capt. Seung Seo, officer in charge of the 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Stryker Bde. Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division during Cobra Gold, gathers a local tap water sample for testing, here, Feb. 6, during Cobra Gold 2014. Exercise Cobra Gold is a recurring multinational and multiservice exercise that takes place annually in the Kingdom of Thailand and was developed by the Thai and U.S. militaries. (Courtesy of 25th Infantry Division)

PHITSANULOK PROVINCE, Thailand — Capt. Seung Seo, officer in charge of the 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Stryker Bde. Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division during Cobra Gold, gathers a local tap water sample for testing, here, Feb. 6, during Cobra Gold 2014. Exercise Cobra Gold is a recurring multinational and multiservice exercise that takes place annually in the Kingdom of Thailand and was developed by the Thai and U.S. militaries. (Courtesy of 25th Infantry Division)

“We bring in about 500 five-gallon bottles of water and a little over 12,000 bottles of water every four days,” said Turner.

Vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, are also a concern in the region. Seo, who is also the Force Health Protection officer, joined with Maj. Michael O’Leary, 225th BSB’s physician assistant, to provide a tactic to mitigate the diseases.

“For vector-borne diseases, such as malaria, we prescribe a prophylactic antibiotic. We also gather insect samples to see what types of insects are in the area,” said Seo. “This gives us a good indication as to what possible diseases could be a threat.”

“The other aspect of ensuring the success of the antibiotic is enforcing its use along with other measures, such as mosquito nets,” added O’Leary.

All of the preparation and support of 1-21st during CG 14 gives real-world experience for Soldiers in the 225th.

“Being able to conduct these types of tests in an austere environment is real-world practice for future operations in the National Training Center and other contingency missions,” said Seo.

The experience the Soldiers of the 225th are gaining here will help ensure they have the ability to proficiently perform future missions.

• Cobra Gold

The exercise is designed to advance regional security and ensure effective response to regional crises. It’s a recurring multinational, multi-service exercise developed by Thai and U.S. militaries taking place annually in the Kingdom of Thailand.

CG 14 will consist of a command post exercise, humanitarian and civic assistance projects and a field training exercise. 2014 marks its 33rd iteration.

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Category: Deployed Forces, Exercises, News, Training

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