DVIDS – News – Cobra Gold 2022 Connects Allies Across Oceans

Ban Khao Ta-in School is located in the remote village of Chum Saeng, Rayong Province, Thailand. The thick jungle and unforgiving terrain of remote parts of Thailand make schools like this essential for the people of this small village. As part of this year’s iteration of Cobra Gold, the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand has partnered with the United States and other allies to make infrastructure improvements to this essential school.

The 871st Engineer Vertical Construction Company (EVCC) of the 9th Mission Support Command, based in Hilo, HI, crossed 17 time zones and over 6,000 miles of high seas to bring their skills and expertise to the remote village of Chum Saeng. While time, distance and culture can separate the two towns, the soldiers of the 871st share distinct and specific similarities with the people of Chum Saeng.

“I was born and raised in Rayong province. My own primary school is just under an hour away,” said 1st Lt. Apisit Meejaiyen, platoon leader of the 871st EVCC and officer in charge of the Ban Khao Ta-in school construction project. “This mission is a dream come true, I’m back in my hometown and giving back to the community I grew up in.”

Executing a construction project in a foreign country, between allies from different nations, has brought its own set of challenges.

“The different construction techniques, the type of equipment used and the materials used for construction are all completely different from what my soldiers are used to. However, the work ethic, determination and generosity of our allies are simply amazing and the sharing of knowledge between my soldiers and our allied colleagues involved in this project will only enhance their skills for future missions,” Meejaiyen said.

Mobilizing a platoon of soldiers and transporting those soldiers over 6,000 miles to execute a construction project in the age of COVID-19 added an extra layer of complexity to this already complex mission.

“The ever-changing travel restrictions and additional requirements have been a constant challenge during the planning process for this mission,” Meejaiyen said. “It was only with the help of our allies and officials from the Kingdom of Thailand government that we were able to come here and execute this mission.”

For the 871st Soldiers, this mission is more than just a construction project.

Meejaiyen also said, “In our increasingly globalized world and diverse workforce, cultural sensitivity is extremely important. Cobra Gold 2022 helps increase the cultural sensitivity of soldiers by allowing them to operate in a multicultural and multinational environment.

For the 9th MSC and the U.S. Army Reserve, missions like this continue to foster stronger relationships with our allies through a common purpose. This ensures the stability and prosperity of communities in the Pacific and Southeast Asian regions.

Date taken: 03.04.2022
Date posted: 03.09.2022 20:16
Story ID: 416147

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