Two Military Sealift Command ships delivered hundreds of pieces of U.S. Marine Corps equipment and containerized supplies to Thai ports in late January as preparations ramped up for Exercise Cobra Gold 2009, the major multi-national exercise scheduled for Feb. 4 – 17 in Thailand.
‘Cobra Gold is a regularly scheduled joint and coalition multinational exercise hosted annually by the Kingdom of Thailand. Armed forces from Singapore, Japan, Indonesia and the United States are participating. Training will consist of computer-simulated command post exercise, field training exercises and humanitarian and civic assistance projects. USNS MAJ Stephen W. Pless, a U.S. government-owned ship used to preposition U.S. Marine Corps cargo at sea for rapid delivery ashore, offloaded 100 pieces of cargo in support of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force. Cargo included military assault vehicles, Humvees, trucks and other military vehicles, which were driven down the ship’s massive stern ramp to the port of Laem Chabang. Prior to Pless’ delivery, MV Cape Howe, a cargo ship under charter to MSC, delivered 248 pieces of rolling stock and 30 containers of supplies to Chuk Samet, Thailand, Jan. 23. A complex evolution, Pless’ offload required close coordination between the ship’s 28-person civilian crew who work for a private company under contract to MSC and Marines embarked on the ship.