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Pacific edition, Monday, January 25, 2010

Billed as the largest multinational military exercise in the world, Cobra Gold will begin its 29th annual installment Feb. 1 in Thailand.

Thousands of servicemembers from four U.S. military branches will join Thai, Singaporean, Indonesian and South Korean troops in field and command post exercises, according to a U.S. Army Pacific news release.

Pacific Navy units include Commander Task Force 76; USS Essex; USS Harpers Ferry; USS Denver; USS Patriot; USS Shiloh; Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 40; Naval Cargo Handling Battalion 1; Maritime Prepositioning Ship Squadrons 3 and 7; Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 5; Mine Squadron 1; Mobile Mine Assembly Unit 10; Patrol Squadron 1 and the Joint Mobile Ashore Support Terminal.

Other Pacific units include the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Army’s Hawaii-based 303rd Ordnance Battalion.

South Korea is participating in both field and command post exercises for the first time, according to the news release.

Cobra Gold 2010’s main objectives are to improve Pacific Command’s rapid deployment of a joint task force and its subsequent coordination with U.N. forces, the release said. The exercise is also meant to familiarize military leaders with each other for when they share tasks, such as humanitarian assistance and counterterrorism.

The three-week exercise will include medical and engineering projects in numerous Thai towns.

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