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35th Fighter Squadron launches into Cobra Gold 19

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon, assigned to the 35th Fighter Squadron, Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, arrives  in preparation for Exercise Cobra Gold 2019 at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, Feb. 6, 2019.

An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 35th Fighter Squadron, Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, arrives in preparation for Exercise Cobra Gold 2019 at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, Feb. 6, 2019. Cobra Gold provides a venue for U.S. and partner nations to advance interoperability and increase partner capacity in planning and executing complex and realistic multinational force and combined task force operations. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Valencia McNeal)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (AFNS) -- The 35th Fighter Squadron departed on Feb. 6, and the 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron departed on Feb. 7 to participate in Exercise Cobra Gold 19 in a historic redeployment to Korat Royal Thai Air Base, Thailand.

Cobra Gold is the largest military exercise in the Indo-Pacific region. This year is the 38th iteration of the exercise, hosted by the U.S. armed forces and Royal Thai armed forces. The exercise is a longstanding representation of friendship between the Thai and U.S. people.

Twenty-nine countries are participating in this year’s iteration of Cobra Gold.

The purpose of the exercise is to bolster security in the region and exhibit rapid response to regional crises by uniting an expansive multinational force to accomplish shared goals and security commitments in the Indo-Pacific region. Cobra Gold bolsters a strong military relationship between the Royal Thai Armed Forces and other nations.

This year, Cobra Gold takes place from Feb. 11 to 26 and will focus on three major components; a humanitarian civic assistance event, field training and a command post exercise.

The 35th FS, which was previously based at Korat AB in the early 1960s, is training with partner nations and conduct both air-to-air and air-to-ground operations to increase interoperability and reinforce critical skills.

"It was really like a homecoming for the 35th (Fighter Squadron). The Royal Thai Air Force was really welcoming and I'm excited to train alongside them during this year's exercise." said 1st Lt. Mason McDaniel, a 35th Fighter Squadron pilot.

Cobra Gold aims to improve the capabilities of allied nations to successfully carry out combined and joint operations, building relationships with participating nations across the region and enhancing interoperability over a variety of activities, including reinforcing maritime security and responding to large-scale natural disasters.

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