By Lt. j.g. Jonathan Kim, NMCB 5
Photos by Lt. j.g. Jonathan Kim
Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 are working alongside the Royal Thai Air Force in Chiang Mai, Thailand, as part of Exercise Cobra Gold 2013, to build a schoolhouse at the Ban Piang Rat School.
Exercise Cobra Gold is an annual joint multinational exercise conducted in the Kingdom of Thailand that is designed to improve joint and multinational operations, including humanitarian civic assistance events.
One of the byproducts of the Chiang Mai school project is that the Seabees learn more about the Thai culture and build relationships with the local people.
“It is super important to me to get to know them and know their culture,” said Builder Constructionman Brittany Barlow. “I am looking forward to making a difference in the community and leaving something behind for them to remember.”
In addition to Seabees from NMCB 5 and the Royal Thai Air Force, Malaysian Army Construction Engineers and Tentara Nasional Indonesia will take part in the exercise. Through this collaboration, the Seabees will continue to build relationships with their Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian equivalents through various construction projects and cultural interaction.
“I look forward to working with Thai counterparts and strengthening interoperability between our forces,” said Chief Steelworker Mike Bonifer, detachment assistant officer in charge, NMCB 5. “We welcome the opportunity to experience the Thai culture.”