• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 24s

Alaskan soliders demonstrate strategic importance in Thailand

By Bonney Bowman 10:46 PM February 19, 2014

During Operation Cobra Gold, soldiers had to parachute into the country, retake an airfield from a fictional rebel force and repair the runway for humanitarian relief

THAILAND - Thailand is one of the United States’ oldest allies, but that doesn’t mean working together comes without its obstacles.

A group of Alaskan soldiers recently went to Thailand on a training mission called Operation Cobra Gold.

They had to parachute into the country, retake an airfield from a fictional rebel force and then repair the runway for humanitarian relief.

Operations like Cobra Gold allow our soldiers to practice today, making a difference when the real disaster strikes.

“We are ready to go any place, anytime to do anything and those three things are uncertain, but what is certain is we’re going to be doing it with somebody else,” said Col. Matt McFarlane.

Col. McFarlane is the commander of the 4-25 Airborne Combat Brigade, the only paratrooper unit in the country with the ability to immediately respond to a crisis in the Pacific.

That makes Alaska an important strategic location for operations in the region.

“In mere hours, we can be wheels up from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and responding to any crisis whether it’s combat operations with a near peer threat or humanitarian aid disaster relief,” McFarlane said.

Working in the Pacific means partnering with military allies, like the Thai forces.

Maj. Surachart Ruanwong was part of a group of Thai paratroopers who came to Alaska, then jumped back into his country with the 4-25.

Serving side by side is a valuable lesson for all the soldiers in the field.

“I learned many things, new techniques and new routine for us,” Ruanwong said. ”We’ve never had something like this before.”

A traditional wing exchange ceremony reinforced the bond between the countries, made that much stronger by a successful operation.

Latest Stories

  • Crime

    Police: Man shot, dropped off at hospital, dies

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 30, 8:16

    A man who was dropped off at an Anchorage hospital with a gunshot wound early Saturday morning has died, according to the Anchorage Police Department, who are treating the case as a homicide. An APD release states that just after 2:00 a.m. Saturday they were notified that a man had been left at the hospital […]

  • Lifestyle

    Still life meets real life, statue bearly makes it

    by Megan Edge on Jul 29, 21:29

    An Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (AWCC) male brown bear, known as Joe Boxer, came across something kind of odd at his home along Turnagain Arm last weekend. It was another bear, but this one was covered with vibrant designs and painted berries. It wasn’t real. In late-June, 14 fiberglass bears, originally white, were brought to […]

  • News

    In the cockpit with the Blue Angels

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 29, 19:43

    Watching from the ground, have you ever wondered what it feels like to be in the cockpit of one of the Blue Angels? KTVA 11’s Bonney Bowman flew in the Number 7 plane with pilot Lt. Tyler Davies, for whom flying was a lifelong dream. “My dad took me to an air show when I […]

  • News

    Youth volunteers paint mural on Wasilla tunnel to cover graffiti

    by Shannon Ballard on Jul 29, 19:24

    For years the Newcomb Park tunnel, just south of the Parks Highway in Wasilla, has been the target of vandals. The city has tried to clean up the graffiti plagued walls numerous times, but nothing seems to keep people from leaving their mark. Wasilla Mayor Bert Cottle says he’s taking a new, more colorful approach. […]

  • Lifestyle

    How to reverse the health risks of sitting all day

    by CBS News on Jul 29, 17:35

    Sitting too much can take a serious toll on your health, even raise your risk of early death. But if you’re stuck in your chair at a desk job all day, don’t despair — a new study suggests there is something you can do to reverse the damage. It comes down to fitting in an hour of […]

  • News

    Driver killed in commercial truck rollover near Houston

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 29, 16:38

    The driver of a commercial truck was killed when it rolled over near Houston Friday morning, according to an Alaska State Troopers dispatch. Thirty-six-year-old Alexander Dmitryev, of Trapper Creek, was the only one in the truck when the incident happened on the Parks Highway near Cheri Lake Drive, according to the dispatch. Troopers said he was wearing […]

  • Lifestyle

    Video: Man uses drone to pull out granddaughter’s loose tooth

    by Jason Sear on Jul 29, 16:16

    Combine the ingenuity of a grandfather and the creativity of 6-year-old, and almost anything is possible. When Avery Radke heard her grandfather, Terry Siegrist, would be visiting Anchorage, a light bulb went went on. Avery asked her ‘papa’ to bring his drone to Alaska. She had a loose tooth and thought attaching it to a […]

  • News

    Troopers: Motorcyclist last seen in Glennallen reported missing

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 29, 16:04

    A Valdez man, who was last seen on Tuesday in Glennallen, has been reported missing by his family, according to an Alaska State Trooper dispatch. Christian Cumbie, 39, was driving his purple and yellow motorcycle, with Florida registration, when he left the Hub in Glennallen and headed south on the Richardson Highway, troopers said. An Alaska State Trooper […]