Feb. 13 - Around 300 U.S. troops receive jungle survival training from Thai forces during Cobra Gold, one of Asia's biggest joint-military operations. Jessica Gray reports.
They aren't your average snake charmers, but one day catching a snake could provide their next meal. On Monday, around 300 U.S. soldiers joined their Thai counterparts in a jungle east of Bangkok to learn survival skills. The exercise is part of operation Cobra Gold, one of the biggest joint military drills in Asia and an opportunity for the U.S. to foster relations in the region. While drinking snake's blood might sound odd, U.S. forces were eager to learn something new that could one day save their lives. (SOUNDBITE)(English) 20-YEAR-OLD U.S. MARINE SERGEANT BRANDON ALDINGER SAYING: "Just, if you're ever out and get lost, or say you're on patrol and end up getting away from everyone else...you never know what you're going to have to do to survive. All the stuff they're teaching us today - some good techniques and a lot of stuff to learn for the different countries we're in to survive and be able to live." Soldiers also often don't have the luxury of choosing where they'll serve next, so training like this is imperative. (SOUNDBITE)(English) 23-YEAR-OLD U.S. MARINE CORPORAL MILES BAISCH SAYING: "Very different. very different. Obviously we're based in camp in California so it's warm but it's dry, no jungle. And I'm from Montana originally so it's cold and no jungle. This is very different from anything we are used to, it's good training." Last year, President Barack Obama announced plans to re-engage with Southeast Asia. The U.S. already maintains bases in Japan and South Korea and is likely to station new coastal combat ships in Singapore as well as the Philippines. Jessica Gray, Reuters