Multi-National Engineers Join Forces to Construct Community Center in Thailand, Strengthening Indo-Pacific Bonds

  • Published
  • By Drew Buchanan
  • Headquarters Air Force, Office of the Director of Civil Engineers

LOP BURI, Thailand -- The newly activated 356th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Group (ECEG) based at Andersen AFB, Guam, deployed its first ever spoke out of the 356th Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force (Prime BEEF) Squadron (EPBS) to Lop Buri, Thailand. The team was comprised of 42 multinational engineers who participated in Cobra Gold ’24 for 32 days to build a multipurpose room for the local community as part of INDOPACOM’s Engineering Civic Action Program (ENCAP).

Cobra Gold was established in 1982 to create and fortify multinational relationships in the Indo-Pacific region. It comprises of numerous joint military training operations, disaster responses, and humanitarian efforts. Cobra Gold ’24 had 5 ENCAP sites throughout Thailand to enhance community engagement in the local area. In addition to the Air Force, U.S. participation at these sites included the Marines and Army underneath the Combined Joint Civil-Military Operation Task Force.

The 356 EPBS sent 15 U.S. Air Force Engineers to collaborate with the Royal Thai Air Force and the Republic of Korea Navy to construct a community center at the Thai Rath Wittaya 100 School (ENCAP Site 1).

The mission aimed to test engineers' ability to complete a challenging objective within a specified timeline while strengthening multinational military relationships. The multipurpose room was built using concrete masonry units and is complete with electrical, air conditioning, and plumbing for the detached latrine. The interior features marble flooring and decorative wall paneling.

“This project allowed for three nations to collaborate on one mission—each bringing their knowledge and experience to the table,” said 356 EPBS 1st Lt. Amanda Lial, ENCAP Site 1 officer-in-charge. “The cooperative efforts that went into this operation are thoroughly impressive.”

The success of this mission validates the ability of the 356 EPBS to efficiently forward deploy a team into the Indo-Pacific region, paving the way for future operations; and, proves that the 356 ECEG is built on a legacy, and engineering for the future.