Essex Begins Cobra Gold 2009

USS Essex LHD 2 (Photo:

February 7, 2009, Thailand -- The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) arrived off the coast of Thailand on Feb. 7 to participate in exercise Cobra Gold 2009 (CG 09).

Cobra Gold is a regularly scheduled multi-national exercise hosted annually by the Kingdom of Thailand. CG 09 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises designed to promote regional peace and security.

"Working with our long-time friend and ally Thailand is always one of the highlights of our spring patrol," said Essex Commanding Officer Capt. Brent Canady.
"Cobra Gold provides a great opportunity for all nations involved to improve our interoperability."

Essex is operating with the dock landing ships USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and USS Harpers Ferry (LSD 49), and the guided missile destroyer USS Stethem (DDG 63), along with military personnel representing Thailand, Singapore, Japan and Indonesia. The exercise will demonstrate the ability to deploy a Joint Task Force (JTF) rapidly to conduct joint/combined operations, transition of authority with a United Nations Force, and a field training exercise.

During the exercise, Essex will conduct naval maneuvers with the Royal Thai Navy. Essex Sailors will also participate in a community relations project. Activities will include minor repair work, painting and spending personal time with children.

Essex is commanded by Capt. Brent Canady and is the lead ship of the only forward-deployed U.S. Expeditionary Strike Group and serves as the flagship for Commander Task Force 76, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force commander. CTF 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with a detachment in Sasebo, Japan. (edited

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