Photo above: A team of soldiers from 5th Battalion-20th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division and the Royal Thai Army conduct military operations in urban terrain (MOUT) training for Cobra Gold 2019, Feb. 13, 2019, Phitsanulok, Kingdom of Thailand. Exercise Cobra Gold is the largest Theater Security Cooperation Exercise in the Indo-Pacific and is an integral part of the U.S. commitment to strengthen engagement in the region. (Photo Credit: Sgt. Alvin Reeves)
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By Staff Sgt. Samuel Northrup, U.S. Army
CAMP BAROMMATRAILOKKANAT, Thailand -- Soldiers of the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, and the Royal Thai Army learned jungle survival skills, basic rifle marksmanship and room clearing procedures Feb. 13, 2019, at Camp Barommatrailokkanat, Thailand, during Exercise Cobra Gold.
The training was an exchange of skills between the two armies. U.S. Soldiers would demonstrate their tactics and techniques, conduct practical exercises and the RTA soldier would do the same.
"This training increases interoperability by having us understand each army's tactics better," said Sgt. John Drayton, a team leader with 5-20th Inf. "We will be ready if we ever had to operate with each other in the future."
This training helps build a common picture between the U.S. Army and the Royal Thai Army, said Sgt. 1st Class Derrick Dritchas, the first sergeant for B Company, 5-20th Inf. The U.S. Soldiers learned the Thai tactics, standard operating procedures, and shared their knowledge on the subject with the RTA.
"Being in Thailand is a new experience for most people here," Drayton said. "Just training and operating in this environment teaches Soldiers how be better prepared for missions in this region."
They don't know what missions may come down in the future, said Dritchas. The jungle training gave these Soldiers the ability to find edible plants, wildlife and where to find water. Having those skills to survive off of the land in the jungle is invaluable.
The Thais taught them things he never knew such as ants can be a signal of where to find water, said Spc. Louis Smith, a Soldier with B Co. 5-20th Inf. He now knows how find those food and water sources in the jungle if something were to happen to him in the future.
"I want my Soldiers to fully experience the cultural of Thailand and understand the training value of going to another country," Dritchas said. "Understanding this culture and how their army operates is a valuable skill for Soldiers to have."
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