NEWS | Nov. 7, 2018

Royal Thai Air Force, Pacific Air Forces Build Upon Strong Partnership

By Staff Sgt. Hailey Haux Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- U.S. Air Force Commander of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., hosted Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), Air Chief Marshal (ACM) Chaiyapruk Didyasarin, to build upon the strong U.S. – Thailand partnership, at Headquarters PACAF here Oct. 29, 2018.

This trip was Chaiyapruk’s first official visit outside of Thailand since taking office in early October.

“It’s great to have Air Chief Marshal Chaiyapruk and the rest of his delegation visit PACAF,” Brown said. “It’s very important that he was able to come here as a key partner within the region.”

While on island, the ACM and his delegation also received a barge tour of Pearl Harbor and visited Indo-Pacific Command where they had discussions with Adm. Phil Davidson, INDOPACOM commander.

Brown hosted an office call with Chaiyapruk in which they discussed opportunities to enhance the relationship between the two countries’ air forces, the F-16 midlife upgrade, the Washington Air National Guard – Thailand’s National Guard State Partner – and the importance of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“We also talked about space, cyber capabilities, how we look at a free and open Indo-Pacific, and continue to work together for the security of the region,” said Brown.

The two countries celebrate 200 years since initial contact between the King of Siam and the president of the United States, and two centuries of friendship between the two nations, making Thailand the United States’ oldest ally in Asia. The two air forces continue to build on that long-term relationship through exercises like Cope Tiger and Cobra Gold.

“It’s part of our readiness, it’s part of how we strengthen our allies and partners across the region … we’ve had relative peace for the past 70 years, the goal is to have relative peace for the next 70 years, and you can’t do that by just thinking about today,” emphasized Brown.

This year, Thailand and the United States co-hosted the 37th iteration of Cobra Gold in February, which was the largest multilateral military exercise in the Indo-Pacific region, comprised of more than two dozen participating nations. While it emphasized humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, the overall mission was to expand regional cooperation and collaboration at all levels.

"I think the real value is not just the relationship I personally have with my counterparts within the region; it’s how all of our Airmen have relationships with our partners in the region,” Brown said. “The relationships our Airmen build with the Royal Thai air force are just as important as the relationship I have with Air Chief Marshal Chaiyapruk.”