U.S. and Thai forces operate together during Lightning Forge 20 exercise in Hawaii

Involving more than 5,000 troops, exercise Lightning Forge 20 is taking place across various training areas on Oahu, Hawaii. Soldiers assigned to the U.S. 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, work side-by-side with 150 soldiers of the Royal Thai Army (RTA) at the Kahuku Training Area.
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U.S. and Thai soldiers ride in Humvees at Kahuku Training Area, Hawaii, July 12, 2020, during Lightning Forge 20 (Picture source: Royal Thai Army)

Lightning Forge is an annual brigade-level training exercise that prepares units for a deployment certification exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana. Training alongside the Royal Thai Army during Lightning Forge works toward achieving interoperability with allies. The exercise started on July 12.

The Pentagon reported that all major installations in Hawaii still had travel restrictions in place under a column that listed “yes” or “no” for bases under a “travel restrictions lifted” header. Hawaii bases all had “no.”

This year’s exercise is including activity at Schofield Barracks, East Range, Dil­lingham Army Airfield, Kahuku Training Area and Basilan Drop Zone near Helemano Plantation. Dillingham will be utilized to conduct two large-scale helicopter operations Wednesday and Thursday between 6 p.m. and midnight on both days. Two additional nighttime helicopter operations will be conducted on July 17 and 18 utilizing the Basilan Drop Zone.