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NEWS | June 14, 2024

Washington Guard, Royal Thai Army Conduct Expert Exchange

By Joseph Siemandel, Joint Force Headquarters - Washington National Guard

CAMP MURRAY, Wash. - The Washington Army National Guard, 1st Battalion, 205th Regimental Training Institute, sent Stryker subject matter instructors to Chon Buri, Thailand, to enhance its partnership with the Royal Thai Army.

The May 6-17 visit was the fifth subject matter exchange (SMEE) between the partners through the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program since 2022.

“The purpose of this visit was to execute a Stryker development exchange in Thailand for the Royal Thai Army’s 112th Stryker Regiment and to further enhance the partnership between our organizations,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ricky Thomas, team lead for the exchange.

In May 2022, eight members of the Royal Thai Army traveled to Yakima Training Center to conduct a SMEE with the cadre from the Washington National Guard’s Stryker leader’s course. The in-depth course mixed classroom and field training on the platform, showcasing how a crew operates the vehicle. During the exchange, they covered topics such as weapon systems, driving the vehicle, and how the communications system works.

“The 10 participants from the Royal Thai Army included eight graduates of previous Stryker Leader Course engagement,” Thomas said.

The exchanges focus on creating Stryker instructors in the Royal Thai Army so they can pass the knowledge on to colleagues.

“The Royal Thai Army instructor candidates selected to participate in this exchange were very engaged, eager to learn and determined to succeed in the training,” Thomas said.

Thomas believes the relationship-building between the two partners is important.

“The Royal Thai Army soldiers and the Washington Army National Guard team continue to enjoy training with each other to build relationships and share information,” Thomas said. “Over the course of the previous four engagements, all personnel have become very close, and our team feels we have built some strong bonds in our friendships with the 112th. This engagement further cemented the closeness of our ties.”

While the training was the focal point of the exchange, the teams shared meals, chatted about family, and played their traditional soccer match.

The next engagement is at the end of summer in Thailand.

“Our instructors really enjoy taking part in this exchange, and it shows in every aspect of the training we are providing during these engagements,” Thomas said.



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