NEWS | Feb. 4, 2019

U.S, Thai Soldiers Hone Squad-level Tactics

By Staff Sgt. Samuel Northrup

KLONG KLUEA, Thailand -- The squad was briefed that an enemy element in the area was using a structure to coordinate attacks on friendly forces. It needed to be cleared to allow friendly forces freedom of movement so they could continue their mission. When the squad members had all the information they needed, they went through their drills and moved out.

The Soldiers maneuvered north and established a support-by-fire location to the east to move closer to the structure. Rounds started going off. Elements of the squad moved toward the objective in a coordinated manner and the other squad element shifted their fire. The squad members saw enemy targets in their sights and engaged.

This was a training scenario played out as a squad live fire exercise by Soldiers with the U.S. Army's 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, and the Royal Thai Army's 12 Infantry Regiment Jan. 29 - Feb. 6, 2019, at Klong Kluea, Thailand, during their Hanuman Guardian rotation.

"We are doing our squad live fire exercise with our Royal Thai Army counterparts," said Sgt. 1st Class Erik Grafford, a platoon sergeant with A Company, 5-20th Inf. "This training lane gets our Soldiers prepared for combat and at the same time builds that partnership between us and the Thai soldiers."

The training gave U.S. Soldiers an extra opportunity to hone their infantry skills and see how the Royal Thai Army operates, Grafford added. Thai soldiers learned about U.S. Army techniques and U.S. Soldiers learned the Thai techniques. This helped create those connections and bonds that will be effective in the future if the U.S. Army needs to work with them.

Grafford said he wants his Soldiers to learn as much as they can from their Thai counterparts and leave the country more experienced than before.

"I want them to build lasting memories," Grafford said. "When they look back on this later on in their career, they can explain to their Soldiers how great it was to partner with and see how the Thai Army operates, which allows us to become a better and more rounded force overall."