W. Patrick Murphy, Chargé d’affaires, a.i.
Embassy of the United States of America in Thailand
Governor Thanakom, Principal Paisaan, thank you for the warm welcome. General Sommai, Maj Gen Pasquarette, Maj Gen Su: I’m honored you could join us today to represent the service members of our three nations. It’s a pleasure to be in Lopburi and welcome you to this dedication ceremony.
We are nearing the end of Cobra Gold 2015, the Asia-Pacific region’s marquee multilateral military event, with 24 participating nations. The U.S. commitment to Cobra Gold reflects our broader commitment to peace, prosperity, and our many partners in the region.
Cobra Gold strengthens regional cooperation and advances our collective security interests. This is a particular benefit in meeting the growing challenges posed by natural disasters and international terrorism. As Thailand manages its return to elected, civilian-led government, we have in fact refocused Cobra Gold to emphasize disaster response capabilities and humanitarian assistance.
One concrete result, and an example why Cobra Gold matters, is right here: this multipurpose room will serve generations of students at Baan Nong Plong, giving them a safe and comfortable place in which to learn. The people of Tambon Koh Rung can also use it for a variety of other civic purposes, bringing the entire community closer together.
This is one of four Cobra Gold 2015 humanitarian civic action projects in Thailand, which perfectly symbolizes the spirit of Cobra Gold. I know how hard the multinational team has labored to get this project finished on time, starting well before we officially launched Cobra Gold 2015.
In working side-by-side on this project, the multinational team of Thai, American, and Chinese soldiers and engineers spanned cultural and linguistic divides, preparing troops from across the Asia-Pacific to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance faster and more effectively when crises occur.
That’s what Cobra Gold is about: two dozen nations from around the region tackling shared global and regional security challenges and increasing a joint capacity to distribute critical supplies and rebuild in the wake of natural disasters, battle infectious diseases, and ensure maritime security.
Cobra Gold 2015 is designed to address these issues, with exercises simulating noncombatant evacuations and delivery of humanitarian aid, a symposium on post-disaster medical issues, and specialized disaster response training.
I thank the residents of Tambon Koh Rung, who have been such generous and gracious hosts to our visiting soldiers; the bonds formed here are only the latest in the 182-year friendship between the American and Thai peoples.
My thanks to the Chinese, Thai, and American multinational force that made this project a success. As an American, I’d like to especially acknowledge the members of the U.S. Army 797th Engineering Company from Guam.
We can all be proud of this lasting humanitarian legacy of Cobra Gold 2015.