Thai, U.S. armies learn jungle survival skills

| February 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

Royal Thai Army soldiers share a variety of food with U.S. Army Soldiers from Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division during jungle training, Feb. 12, 2018, at Camp Friendship in Korat, Kingdom of Thailand. The Soldiers from Delta Company are wearing the Army’s new experimental jungle uniform. Exercise Cobra Gold 18 seeks to increase the cooperation, interoperability and collaboration among partner nations, and demonstrate the commitment of the Kingdom of Thailand and the United States’ long-standing alliance. Cobra Gold 2018 is an annual exercise conducted in Thailand held Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations.(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Silvers)

Army Staff Sgt. Justin Silvers
III Marine Expeditionary Force

KORAT, Thailand — Royal Thai Army soldiers with the 133rd Infantry Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment and U.S. Army Soldiers from 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, gathered to take part in jungle training at Camp Friendship, here, Feb. 12.

During the training, they learned skills to help them survive in the jungle, including how to trap wildlife, how to find sources of water and how to start a fire using their surroundings.

Jungle training is one of many training events during Exercise Cobra Gold 18, which provides a venue for U.S., allied and partner nations to advance interoperability and increase partner capacity in planning and executing complex and realistic multinational force and combined tasks for operations.

U.S. Army Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division stand in formation with their Royal Thai Armed Forces counterparts at the Exercise Cobra Gold 18 opening ceremony on Camp Friendship, Thailand, Feb. 10, 2018. Soldiers from 2IBCT, 25ID are wearing the new experimental jungle uniform. Cobra Gold 18 provides a venue for the United States, allied and partner nations to advance interoperability and increase partner capacity in planning and executing complex and realistic multinational force and combined task force operations. Cobra Gold 18 is an annual exercise conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. David N. Beckstrom)

The training was part instructional and part interactive, with Soldiers first learning the steps and equipment required to carry out each task, then carrying out the task on their own, with support when needed.

The training also helped Soldiers to identify edible vegetation and wildlife that they may encounter in the jungle.

U.S. Army Pfc. Alex Davis, an infantryman with Delta Co., described some of the skills he picked up.

“We learned how to make fire out of bamboo and kindling, we learned how to make traps using banana rope and also learned how to cook a rat,” said Davis. “That was pretty interesting; that’s not something you learn back in the states.”

During the training, Davis also volunteered to be the first Soldier to sample some of the food they might encounter in the jungle.

“I wasn’t nervous trying out the different foods. I’m the kind of guy that volunteers for everything,” said Davis. “When I first tried a plant, it was very bitter and (I) had to spit it out, but I tried a few beans and berries, too, and overall, I ended up with a coconut to wash it all down, so that was the highlight.”

For Davis, learning to build a fire stuck out the most to him, but for U.S. Army Sgt. Dilon Sawyers, a squad leader with Delta Co., learning the various means to get water from their surroundings was the most valuable takeaway.

“We learned how to familiarize ourselves with the wildlife and the local plants and vegetation, but the most beneficial training was learning the various resources for water,” said Sawyers. “We learned how to get water from the banana plant and figured out different ways to get water (from) other than streams and bodies of water.”

Cobra Gold is an annual exercise conducted in Thailand held from Feb. 13-23 with seven full participating nations. Now in its 37th iteration, the exercise is designed to advance regional security and ensure effective responses to regional crises by bringing together a robust multinational force to address shared goals and security commitments in the Indo-Pacific region.

 

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