6,800 US soldiers were involved in an annual military exercise in Thailand called “Cobra Gold.” While there are a number of different activities involved in the exercise, the most popular is a strange exercise where soldiers drink Cobra blood, in a seemingly ritualistic way.
Military agents from the US, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, and Singapore were involved in the exercise.
“This exercise is the largest multilateral exercise in the Indo-Pacific region. It speaks to the commitment of the US in the region,” Steve Castonguay, a spokesman for the US Embassy in Bangkok, told Reuters.
Cobra Gold has been taking place every year since it began in 1982. The exercise was intended to improve coordination between the military forces of the United States and Thailand.
According to the Wikipedia entry for Gold Cobra:
“As of 2014, Cobra Gold has three distinct activities. The first is the combined arms live fire exercise (CALFEX), in which live ammunition is aimed at predetermined targets. Troops then assault a beach and landing zone while this live fire occurs. The second activity is a command post exercise (CPX), in which military officers engage in computerized war games, disaster relief, or humanitarian missions over several days. The final activity is assisting the local Thai population”
Below are some pictures of the blood drinking ceremony that US marines were involved with during the exercise:
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Featured image: REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
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