Marine Corps commander
Rear Adm. Sompong Sungsuwan addresses 488 troops slated for duty in
Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.
Nearly 500 Royal Thai Marines departed Sattahip for Thailand’s
strife-torn southern provinces last month as the military shuffles its
personnel in the area.
Marine Corps commander Rear Adm. Sompong Sungsuwan addressed the 488
troops slated for duty in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat at Prince Jetsada
Camp Sept. 27. The soldiers are relieving marines on duty for the past
year in a region of Thailand where nearly 4,000 people have been killed
since 2004 in a Muslim separatist insurgency.
Sompong said the troops from the 1st Infantry Battalion and 3rd Infantry
Battalion King’s Regiment, patrol officers, technicians and medical
officers have been trained in languages, culture and tradition, as well
as for guerilla warfare.
He urged the troops to take care and not be lulled into complacency by
the recent downturn in violence. He said they also must realize the
importance of language, communication and understanding with citizens
who speak more Malay than Thai. Traditions, he stressed, are a very
sensitive issue and urged them to be patient.
Before departing, monks blessed the troops and handed out amulets while
family and friends offered flowers as they said their goodbyes.