U.S.-Thailand-Singapore Airmen strengthen ties during Cope Tiger 12

KORAT ROYAL THAI AIR FORCE BASE, Thai­land (AFNS) — Air­men from the U.S., Thai­land, and Sin­ga­pore are step­ping away from flight oper­a­tions to strength­en rela­tion­ships here with local Thai com­mu­ni­ties this week.

Cope Tiger exer­cise direc­tors from the U.S. Air Force, Repub­lic of Sin­ga­pore Air Force and host, Roy­al Thai Air Force, pose for a group pho­to with stu­dents from the Wat­prom­marat School here dur­ing a com­mu­ni­ty out­reach and cul­tur­al exchange event, Mar. 13. The 269-stu­dent school was vis­it­ed by more than 40-Air­men from the three nations, cur­rent­ly par­tic­i­pat­ing in exer­cise Cope Tiger, a large force air employ­ment exer­cise designed to enhance readi­ness and inter­op­er­abil­i­ty among par­tic­i­pat­ing nations in the Asia-Pacif­ic region. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Capt. David Hern­don)
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The com­bined Air­men from the U.S. Air Force, Roy­al Thai Air Force and Repub­lic of Sin­ga­pore Air Force are par­tic­i­pat­ing in exer­cise Cope Tiger, a large force air employ­ment exer­cise aimed at strength­en­ing inter­op­er­abil­i­ty between the three nations. Along with launch­ing air­craft togeth­er from air­fields across Thai­land, the Air­men are focused on rein­forc­ing rela­tion­ships through com­mu­ni­ty out­reach pro­grams and cul­tur­al exchanges at near­by sec­ondary schools. 

“This is the type of thing that makes it all worth it for me,” said Mas­ter Sgt. Jason Adkins, Cope Tiger Cus­toms liai­son offi­cer from Joint Base Pearl Har­bor-Hick­am, Hawaii. “I’ve always enjoyed reach­ing out and vol­un­teer­ing … and what bet­ter way to do it than with my coun­ter­parts and every­one here par­tic­i­pat­ing in Cope Tiger.” 

Sergeant Adkins and more than 70 oth­ers vis­it­ed two local schools in the Nakhon Ratchasi­ma Province of Thai­land, and more Air­men are sched­uled to con­duct sim­i­lar com­bined activ­i­ties Mar. 19 in Udon Thani Province. 

Air­men have par­tic­i­pat­ed in sport­ing activ­i­ties, Eng­lish dis­cus­sions and cul­tur­al exchanges and were able to view tra­di­tion­al Thai dances and remote con­trolled air­craft demonstrations. 

“I would like to thank all of you for mak­ing these events hap­pen — espe­cial­ly the RSAF and USAF exer­cise direc­tors who con­tin­ue to give full sup­port for all activ­i­ties, ” said Group Capt. Tha­won­wat Chan­tanakon, Roy­al Thai Air Force exer­cise director. 

Accord­ing to the group cap­tain the schools cho­sen are in the exer­cise train­ing area and the objec­tives of the activ­i­ties revolve around exchang­ing expe­ri­ences to strength­en relationships. 

Air­men from the Flori­da Nation­al Guard’s 125th Fight­er Wing took the lead in pro­vid­ing air­crew, main­te­nance and sup­port per­son­nel to par­tic­i­pate in engage­ments in the Nakhon Ratchasi­ma Province. The Nation­al Guard Air­men are cur­rent­ly staged out of Korat Roy­al Thai Air Force Base for the exer­cise and togeth­er, raised more than $1,000 to pur­chase much need­ed ath­let­ic equip­ment for the schools. 

“We are hap­py and grate­ful for all dona­tions by Cope Tiger [par­tic­i­pants],” said Kand­jana Bud­sadee­wong, Wat­prom­marat School stu­dent. “We wel­come all exer­cise Cope Tiger [par­tic­i­pants].”

Kand­jana con­tin­ued that her school is com­prised of 269 stu­dents and uses a stu­dent-cen­tered teach­ing method that enables learn­ing expe­ri­ences that allow for open dis­cus­sion and dialogue. 

“These chil­dren are the future,” said Sergeant Adkins. “I see these stu­dents and think of my own family. 

“It is evi­dent through the smiles of the chil­dren and bless­ings received from the teach­ers and staff how impor­tant it is for us to be here,” said Sergeant Adkins. “This has tru­ly been an amaz­ing expe­ri­ence for me, one that’ll I’ll be shar­ing with my friends and fam­i­ly when I return home.” 

Cope Tiger aims to enhance readi­ness and com­bined inter­op­er­abil­i­ty between U.S. Forces, allies and part­ners with­in the Pacif­ic region. More than 1,600 Air­men and civil­ians are par­tic­i­pat­ing in this year’s engage­ment, includ­ing approx­i­mate­ly 430 U.S. ser­vice mem­bers and civilians. 

U.S. Air Force 

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