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NEWS | March 1, 2022

Tropic Lightning Joins Hanuman Guardian in Thailand

By Danielle ODonnell

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN, Thailand -- With a snap to attention and salutes rendered to their commanders, Exercise Hanuman Guardian 2022 (HG22) officially kicked off for the troops of the 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, part of the famed 25th Infantry Division “Tropic Lightning,” and their counterparts from the Royal Thai Army here at the Infantry Centre Feb. 24, 2022.

HG22 is the 11th iteration of the annual bilateral U.S. Army Pacific Theater Security Cooperation Program event conducted with the Royal Thai Army in coordination with the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command.

“Hanuman Guardian represents the United States’ ironclad commitment to the Royal Thai Army,” said U.S. Army Gen. Joseph A. Ryan, commanding general of the 25th Infantry Division. “This Army-to-Army engagement further cements the strong relationships between our two proud nations through tough, realistic training.”

The goal of HG22 is to foster closer relationships, increase readiness, and enhance interoperability among service members of the U.S. Army and Royal Thai Army.

“This is a good opportunity for our troops to learn and share experience as well as extend the knowledge of different tactics, enhance capabilities, and procedures to develop interoperability between the Royal Thai Army and the U.S. Army,” said Gen. Narongpan Jittkaewtae, the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army.

Designed to enhance bilateral aviation, medical, battle staff, and other warrior capabilities, Hanuman Guardian develops combat-ready and credible Soldiers.

“The exercise develops individual skill of soldiers and extend the knowledge of using T-11 parachutes as well as practicing airborne unit capability to meet requirement to respond to crisis anywhere in the world,” said Jittkaewtae.

The T-11 Advanced Tactical Parachute System, in use since 2007, replaced the T-10 system that had been the standard since 1955. Here at HG22, this parachute training will fall to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), with aviation assets provided by the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, both under the Tropic Lightning banner. This training will push the participating units by requiring them to sustain their capabilities, in collaboration with partners and allies, for extended periods during the three week exercise.

“We are learning some new techniques,” said U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Lauren Kinney, from the 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 25th Infantry Division. Kinney looks forward to collaborating with her Royal Thai Army counterparts and learning from each other during the exercise. “We have a topic of the day, where we take turns teaching each other how we accomplish certain tasks, we have a lot of similarities” she said.

HG22 enhances the military-to-military relationships and mission readiness at the battalion level with a combined arms operation. This includes pairing officers and key positions with their counterparts from their partner nation. For Kinney, this meant working alongside Royal Thai Army 2nd Lt. Phurin Junphut of the 5th Infantry Division.

Speaking of her counterpart, Kinney said, “in eight years, this is his first time working with foreigners and he also looks forward to learning from each other and working with the U.S Army Combat Engineers.”

HG22 enables the armies to further strengthen these relationships through training and responsible maneuvers in a COVID-constrained environment. The foundation of Hanuman Guardian is based on enhancing interoperability and furthering the longstanding military relationship between the Royal Thai Armed Forces and U.S Army.

“I am extremely confident that this year’s exercise will successfully contribute to our collective readiness, and I am proud that Soldiers from the Tropic Lightning Division can be a part of it,” Ryan said.
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