YAKIMA TRAINING CENTER, Wash. -- Through 20 years of partnership, the Washington National Guard and the Royal Thai Armed Forces have shared knowledge and best practices on many topics. The latest exchange was the first of its kind for the two nations.
During the last week of May, eight members of the Royal Thai Army conducted a subject matter expert exchange with the cadre from the Washington National Guard’s Stryker Leaders' Course.
“Thailand has been a steadfast friend and treaty ally for generations, and the Stryker vehicle will knit us even closer together,” said Lt. Col. Keith Kosik, State Partnership Program director.
The State Partnership Program has been successfully building relationships for over 25 years and now includes 85 partnerships with 93 nations around the globe.
A few years ago, The Royal Thai Army committed to standing up a Stryker Regimental Combat Team and began acquiring Stryker vehicles through the Foreign Military Sales and Foreign Military Financing process. Thailand is the first foreign nation to procure Strykers.
“Our Citizen-Soldiers and the Royal Thai Army will be conducting exchanges, engaging in exercises (such as Cobra Gold) and sharpening each other’s capabilities around the Stryker for decades to come. It gives us a common platform that is an asset in warfighting and homeland assistance disaster relief,” Kosik said.
The Royal Thai Army group spent a week with the 205th Regional Training Institute cadre who teach the Washington National Guard’s Stryker Leaders Course.
The in-depth course mixes classroom and field training on the platform and how a crew operates the vehicle.
Topics covered included the weapon and communication systems and driving the vehicle.
In 2015, the 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team transitioned from the M1A1 Abrams Tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles into a Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The conversion took over three years and enabled the 81st brigade to support domestic missions and federal deployments better.
“The 81st brigade’s transition was critical to our future success as a Guard, so to be part of our long-time partner’s transition to the platform is going to be great,” said Maj. Gen. Bret Daugherty, the adjutant general. “We are excited to share the knowledge, the lessons learned and the resources about the platform.”