US Navy amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) pulled into Laem Chabang, Thailand, on Feb. 11, where its sailors and marines are to participate in exercise Cobra Gold 2018 (CG18).
The CG 18 opening ceremony took place February 13, marking the beginning of one of the Indo-Pacific region’s largest multinational exercises.
Co-hosted by the Kingdom of Thailand and the United States, CG18 is an annual exercise designed to advance regional security and ensure effective response to regional crisis by exercising a robust multinational force from nations sharing common goals and security commitments in the region.
“We look forward to again working with our Thai and regional allies during this year’s exercise, as well as some well-deserved liberty for the crew in Thailand” said Capt. Larry McCullen, commanding officer of Bonhomme Richard. “It’s been a few years since Bonhomme Richard has participated in Cobra Gold, so it’s good to be back in the area, and working with our Indo-Pacific partners and allies, training to ensure we keep our skills sharp and can accomplish or nations’ goals together.
CG18 is the 37th iteration of the exercise and will focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Among participating nations are the Kingdom of Thailand, the United States of America, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore and Indonesia.
Bonhomme Richard’s participation in CG18 will include working alongside Royal Thai Navy ships and conducting a range of amphibious operations that will enhance tactical expertise of participants and practice combined capabilities to respond to contingencies.
Prior to Bonhomme Richard’s arrival to Laem Chabang, equipment and vehicles, of the 3rd Marine Division (MARDIV), debarked in preparation for CG18. The AH-1Z Vipers and UH-1Y Hueys, attached to the “Gunfighters” of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron (HMLA) 369, CH-53E Super Stallions, assigned to the “Wolfpack” of Heavy Marine Helicopter Squadron (HMH) 466 and amphibious assault vehicles (AAV), assigned to the 3rd Amphibious Assault Battalion, which all operate under the 3rd MARDIV, will play a key role in the upcoming exercises.
Bonhomme Richard is on regularly scheduled patrol in the Indo-Pacific supporting security and stability in the region.