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UTAPAO, Thailand - Service members from the Kingdom of Thailand, Republic of Korea, Singapore and U.S. based at Utapao Naval Air Base, successfully completed the Command Post Exercise (CPX) portion of Exercise Cobra Gold 2012 here Feb. 16.
CPX is based on possible scenarios described under the Global Peace Operations Initiative. As participating nations worked together to solve complex problems, the CPX increased interoperability among the four nations participating, an essential part of Exercise Cobra Gold.
"Exercises like the CPX are essential to building and maintaining relationships with our partners in the Asia Pacific Region," said Rear Adm. Scott Jones, Commander, U.S. Navy Force for Exercise Cobra Gold 2012 and Commander, Task Force (CTF) 76. "This multinational naval staff training, along with the fleet exercise events, supports our combined ability to respond across a range of operations."
For the exercise, the U.S., Royal Thai, Republic of Korea and Singapore staffs formed the Combined Naval Force (CNF). Together, the CNF staff planned all aspects for a range of realistic operational scenarios. The CNF engaged a variety of Naval and Marine Forces, employing over sixty ships and submarines along with embarked aircraft through a series of amphibious assaults, undersea warfare, and strike operations.
While the scenarios presented may be notional, CNF participants say that it is not about the particulars of the simulation but rather training with their counterparts from other nations that is important.
"Training our young staff officers together is essential." said Senior Lt. Col. Sam Abey of the Singapore Navy. "In 15-20 years, these lieutenants today will be the admirals of our navies."
Military service members from each of the nations also shared similar thoughts on the benefits of multinational training.
"Even if hypothetical," said Lt. j.g. Tae Hyeong Xavier of the Republic of Korea Navy, "what we learn here can be used in a real world situation."
"Exercises like the CPX are good for joining our nations together and shows cooperation," said Lt. Cmdr. Saksit Tachapong Parcert of the Royal Thai Navy. "There will be less problems when we have to work together in actual operations."
Although the CPX is just a simulation, tangible progress is made during the seven day long exercise. Challenges such as language barriers were quickly overcome and goals were soon met with coordinated effort. Sailors from four nations working side by side has led to lasting friendships as U.S., Royal Thai, Republic of Korea and Singapore counterparts shake each other's hands and exchange contact information at the conclusion of the simulated operation.