FORT ADISORN, Thailand – More than 150 U.S. Army and Army National Guard Soldiers and 300 Royal Thai Army soldiers participated in Hanuman Guardian 2018's opening ceremony Monday at the Royal Thai Army's Cavalry Center in Thailand's Saraburi province.
Hanuman Guardian is a bilateral army-to-army exercise that strengthens capability and builds interoperability between U.S. and Royal Thai Army forces.
"It's great any time we can participate in an exercise and train outside our comfort zone," said Brig. Gen. William "Brad" Richy, director of joint staff, Idaho National Guard, and the senior U.S. officer at the opening ceremony.
During the 11-day exercise, more than 150 U.S. and 300 Thai soldiers will train together to complete a battalion staff exercise focusing on humanitarian aid/disaster relief; conduct infantry operations; and improve counter-improvised explosive devices, battlefield medical treatment and aviation capabilities.
Soldiers from the Idaho Army National Guard are staffing the Exercise Command Group and are fulfilling the responsibilities of the Army force (ARFOR) headquarters under the 25th Infantry Division for the exercise's seventh iteration. In addition, Soldiers from the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team from the Idaho Army National Guard and the Montana Army National Guard will participate in the majority of the bilateral training events.
Elements of the U.S. Army's 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, the 19th Special Forces Group, the 10th Field Hospital, I Corps and U.S. Army Pacific Command are supporting the training rotation. The Washington Army National Guard's Special Operations Detachment – Pacific is also in the exercise.
Soldiers from several Royal Thai Army units will participate in Hanuman Guardian 2018. Elements of the Royal Thai Army participating in Hanuman Guardian 2018 include its Cavalry Center, 2nd Infantry, 21st Infantry Regiment, medical department, ranger and aviation units.
"This exercise provides the Idaho National Guard and its active-duty counterparts the opportunity to build partnerships with the Royal Thai Army while also increasing our ability to build joint interoperability with host nations," Richy said.
Hanuman Guardian 2018 demonstrates the commitment of the United States and the Kingdom of Thailand to its longstanding alliance. Throughout 2018 the countries are celebrating 200 years of friendship and Thailand is one of the U.S.'s most important partners in Asia.
The exercise is the fourth in the USARPAC's Pacific Pathways 18-2 series. Army National Guard units have conducted similar exercises in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and will complete a training rotation in Japan in September.