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Photo Information

U.S. service members present the completed marksmanship range during a subject matter expert exchange on Royal Thai Marine Base Sattahip, Kingdom of Thailand, Jan. 11, 2020. U.S. service members, and Royal Thai Marines worked together during a Thai and U.S. SMEE to share best practices, increase their ability to work together and build friendships. Kojanan is the Marine Division, Commanding General of the Royal Thai Marine Corps. Mcvey, a native of Fairfax, Virginia, is the Marine Corps officer in charge for this exercise with Bravo Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistic Group. De Leon, a native of Williamsburg, Virginia, is the officer in charge of the U.S Navy Seabees for this exercise with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Ryan Harvey)

Photo by Cpl. Ryan Harvey

Subject Matter Expert Exchange | U.S. Marines and Seabees better interoperability with Royal Thai Marines

3 Feb 2020 | Cpl. Ryan Harvey 3rd Marine Logistics Group

ROYAL THAI MARINE BASE SATTAHIP, Kingdom of Thailand ––As the sun’s rays cut through the early morning hillside of the thickly forested jungle of the Royal Thai Marine Corps Base, groups of U.S. service members and Royal Thai Armed Forces grabbed their tools and began the start off another long, hot workday.

Alongside Royal Thai Marines and U.S. Navy Seabees, U.S Marines with Bravo Company, 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, conducted horizontal and vertical construction operations to build a marksmanship range on Royal Thai Marine Base Sattahip, Kingdom of Thailand Jan. 11 to Feb. 3, 2020.

After construction, the range will be used primarily by Royal Thai Reconnaissance Marines, said 2nd Lt. Ian Mcvey, the officer-in-charge of the subject matter expert exchange. However, the range will also be used by the U.S. Marine Corps’ 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion during future combined exercises between the U.S. and the Kingdom of Thailand, Mcvey went on to say.

The marksmanship range provides the Royal Thai Armed Forces a new training facility to improve upon their close quarter combat techniques and provide practical application instruction. During exercises between the U.S. and Kingdom of Thailand, the range will be used to integrate troops and increase weapon familiarity.

“[The marksmanship range] allows U.S. and Thai forces to cross-train, share techniques and build bonds so that we can work together in future situations,” said Mcvey, a native of Fairfax, Virginia. “It [gives] the Royal Thai Marine Corps access to better facilities so that they can focus more on tactic development.”

“This project will allow the Royal Thai Marines to conduct training more frequently to sharpen their skills with their weapons and help them train for ‘real world’ scenarios. The U.S. Marine Corps occasionally takes part in using this range for training and exercises that take place in Sattahip,” said U.S. Navy Builder 2nd Class Megan Pringle, U.S. Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Five Detail Thailand.

The team consisted of various supporting military occupation specialties from both countries.

The U.S. Marine Corps’ participants consisted of “11 combat engineers, four heavy equipment operators, one welder, one surveyor and one corpsman,” said Mcvey. All participants “performed excellent, given the time constraints. Many long work days.”

The service members' performance was on display day in and day out, according to Mcvey. The U.S.-Thai team’s willingness to adapt, while working with new or different techniques, showcased their dedication to completing the project.

Pringle appreciated the Royal Thai Marines for teaching her new techniques and skills with concrete, electrical and plumbing. She recalled that they’re extremely knowledgeable and incredibly hospitable. They carefully and diligently explained how and why they construct and install finishes in the buildings, she said.

The completion of the marksmanship range highlights the interoperability of U.S. and Royal Thai Armed Forces, made possible by the strong partnership and friendship between the two nations.