KORAT, Thailand (AFNS) --
Airmen from the United States, Thailand and Singapore visited a local school as part of a combined civic action engagement during Exercise Cope Tiger 23, March 23.
Exercise Cope Tiger, now in its 27th iteration, is an annual exercise meant to improve readiness and the ability of participating forces to operate together while enhancing military relations and combined capabilities. The exercise will conclude March 31.
The Airmen took a break from their training during the exercise, which aims to enhance readiness, interoperability and combined capabilities with our allies and partners, to visit students at Nongpednam School in Korat, Thailand.
The Airmen were greeted with welcoming smiles from the students, staff and community members as they entered the school grounds to begin the day’s activities.
The day’s activities began when medical professionals from all three countries performed medical examinations, dental examinations and distributed eyeglasses to students, faculty and members of the local community.
“It’s a blessing to have the opportunity to give back in a small way to the community that has hosted us so generously,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Andrew Carey, M.D., 36th Fighter Squadron flight surgeon. “The Thai people are truly some of the kindest and most hospitable people and the exercise and civic action engagement has been a great avenue to strengthen our ties.”
Following the medical visits, the exercise directors arrived and were welcomed by the deputy governor of the province of Nakhon Ratchasima during an opening ceremony where the Royal Thailand air force band performed alongside Thai classical dancers.
After the opening ceremony, the exercise directors presented the elementary school with a donation of sports equipment, school supplies and a wash basin for the students to brush their teeth.
“Participating in today’s events and seeing the smiles on the student’s faces was truly a rewarding experience, said U.S. Air Force Col. Paul Davidson, Cope Tiger director. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have been a part of it.”
After the donation ceremony, the exercise directors served lunch to the Nongpednam School and the Airmen. Each of the three services partnered with the school kids in team-building games and a cook-off challenge featuring a local favorite dish, papaya salad.
The U.S. Air Force personnel enjoyed interacting with the local community, students of Nongpednam School and Airmen from the Royal Thai air force and the Republic of Singapore air force.
“We all look forward to maintaining the close connections we have made here,” Carey said.