The skies over this air base in central Thailand are filled with the sounds of fighter jets screaming on take-off and landing as Exercise Cope Tiger 2007 gets underway. This is the 13th year for Cope Tiger, a multilateral, joint Thai/U.S. sponsored exercise between the nations of Thailand, Singapore and the United States. Approximately 600 service members from the United States and 600 combined from Singapore and Thailand are expected to participate in the two-week exercise.
"The partners of Thailand, Singapore and the United States have a history of working together and we want to continue that relationship," said Col. Vincent Ferrell, the Air Force exercise director. "This exercise allows us to work from the tactical level up through the command and control pieces as well." U.
S., Thai and Singaporean forces will spend the exercise conducting close-air support operations, air refueling missions, search and rescue operations and common unit procedures such as mission planning. "The key point here is that aircrafts are able to share data and work together to achieve a common objective, whether it is search and rescue in a combat environment or air to air employment against an adversary," Colonel Ferrell said. Humanitarian relief will also play a large role during Cope Tiger.
Medical and dental teams from Thailand and Singapore will join U.S. units from Japan, Okinawa and Hawaii providing basic medical and dental care to residents of the communities surrounding Udon Thani and Korat. Medical members expect to see and treat approximately 2,000 patients during the two-week exercise. Exercise Cope Tiger 2007 runs from Jan. 29 through Feb.
9 at air bases at Korat and Udon Thani. Exercises are held annually and provide training that is beneficial to all militarys concerned. Usually referred to as "war games" in the local media, they provide more humanitarian services than war preparation. These exercises strengthen friendships among countries and provide opportunities to work together in austere environments. This is another example of countries working together to provide medical services in remote areas of Thailand and display the spirit of friendship while providing peace keeping operations to thwart the war on terror.
Larry Westfall is a frequent traveler to Bangkok - the City of Angels - and owner of Bangkok Accommodations
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