90 miles south of the bustling streets of Bangkok, U.S. troops trained with their counterparts in the Thai military this February, learning the ropes of jungle survival with surprising — and often nasty results.See what’s for dinner >
It’s all part of an annual exercise called “Cobra Gold,” with over 13,000 military personnel in attendance. Troops train in infantry tactics, share medical advice, and figure out the best way to stay alive in the middle of the jungle.
That includes everything from scavenging for insects to eat, finding water, avoiding poisonous snakes — and sometimes snacking on them.
“Fighting to survive in the jungle is like every other battle; it is first lost or won in the mind,” Army Sgt. Daniel Hernandez told Jose Lujano. “Survivors find ways to keep their spirits up and never let the situation beat them.”
Instructed by experienced Thai Marines, an attentive class of 90 sampled various delicacies: leaves and roots, exotic fruit, and fried insects.
But the real crowd pleaser was the king cobra, with instructors teaching how to capture, handle, and eventually drink the blood — which can actually provide much needed hydration and nutrients if they ended up lost.
Royal Thai Army Special Forces Master Sgt. 1st Class Thong Nimnuan, centre, shows how to safely handle a cobra.
But it's not all bugs. They get some regular stuff too, like this native fruit that Lance Cpl. Eric M. Bullard tries out.
and Thai Chief Petty Officer First Class Veing Pimsorn showing Marines how to use your teeth to skin a coconut.
and some Marines even volunteered to drink the cobra blood, a survival technique used to maintain hydration and replenish nutrients in the hot jungle.
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