An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | March 30, 2023

Washington National Guard Shares Domestic Response Expertise

By Staff Sgt. Adeline Witherspoon, 122nd Theater Public Affairs Support Element

RAYONG, Thailand - Members of the Washington National Guard and the Royal Thai Armed Forces participated in multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training in Rayong Province Feb. 24 to March 3. The training was part of the 42nd iteration of exercise Cobra Gold, a Thai-U.S. exercise held annually in the Kingdom of Thailand.

The Washington National Guard and the Kingdom of Thailand have enjoyed a special relationship through the State Partnership Program, ensuring U.S. and Thai soldiers can join forces in every situation. Since 2003, the two nations have engaged in subject matter expert exchanges, sharing skills and best practices for disaster response.

“The scope and scale of our decontamination elements are different,” said Washington National Guard Warrant Officer Kristen Retherford, a decontamination adviser with the 10th Homeland Response Force (HRF), 96th Troop Command. “Their system is more of a first responder type system. We as a HRF are used to assisting in larger scale scenarios with more casualties, so it was a learning curve for us.”

The training began with a tabletop planning exercise and panel discussion featuring speakers from non-military international organizations, including the Center of Excellence in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance and the International Federation of the Red Cross.

“This year’s tabletop has the largest group of participants,” said Britton T. London Sr., adviser and exercise planner for the CFE-DM. “It was exciting to see the eager participation by all nations who have a lot of experience responding to several types of disasters. The questions asked were designed to get the multinational teams to think of solutions together and to share experiences to learn and grow.”

The practical demonstration was held at the Disaster Relief Training Center in Chachoengsao Province Feb. 28 to March 3. Service members from participating nations conducted hands-on operations, including search and rescue, emergency medical services, medical evacuation, hazardous materials decontamination, and firefighting.

“There was representation from every single country in each group,” said Retherford. “So we learned from each other. We discussed how maybe one country would do it this way, and another country would do it this way.”

This was the first year all participating nations gathered in person since 2019. Attending were representatives of the Kingdom of Thailand, the United States, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Singapore, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the non-military organizations.

“The scale of natural disasters tends to be increasing and involves more and more people,” Retherford said. “We have to get used to helping each other and responding to this stuff so we all have a shared understanding of the system and how to work together no matter what language.”

 

 

Related Articles
Airmen attached to the only all-Air Force Search and Extraction team learn about rope rescue during the 10th Homeland Response Force Sustainment Year Collective Training Exercise at Camp Rilea, Oregon, April 24, 2024.
10th Homeland Response Force Conducts Collective Training
By Spc. Ryan Dunn, | May 21, 2024
WARRENTON, Ore. - Last month, more than 350  Army and Air National Guardsmen from Washington, Idaho, Alaska and Oregon conducted a training exercise at Camp Rilea Armed Forces Training Center in Warrenton.The Sustainment Year...

Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief, National Guard Bureau, joins Army Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, Washington's adjutant general, to visit Washington National Guardsmen and Royal Thai Air Force members training together during exercise Enduring Partners 2024, Bangkok, Thailand, May 9, 2024. Thailand and the Washington Guard have been paired under the Defense Department National Guard State Partnership Program since 2002.
In Thailand, Hokanson Sees Enduring Partners in Name and Practice
By Sgt. 1st Class Zach Sheely, | May 21, 2024
BANGKOK –The National Guard’s top officer visited with Washington Guardsmen and Royal Thai Armed Forces troops training together May 7-9. The Washington National Guard has worked closely with Thailand under the Defense...

Royal Thai Air Force Group Capt. Sithipol Pomtri, left, deputy director, office of operations and training, and Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, Washington Air National Guard commander, exchange Enduring Partners 24 exercise uniform patches on Camp Murray, Wash., April 30, 2024. EP24 is an exercise between the Washington Air National Guard and the Royal Thai Air Force.
Enduring Partners 2024 Begins with Thai-US Airmen Exchange
By Airman Jordaan Kvale and Lt. Col. Alyson Teeter, | May 2, 2024
CAMP MURRAY, Wash. - The second iteration of Enduring Partners commenced April 30 with an opening ceremony officiated by Royal Thai Air Force Group Captain Sithipol Pomtri, exercise director, and U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen...