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NEWS | Aug. 24, 2023

Royal Thai Army, US Soldiers Participate in Historic All-Female Airborne Course

By Master Sgt. Theanne Tangen, U.S. Special Operations Command Pacific

The Royal Thai Army invited U.S. Soldiers to participate in their first all-female Basic Airborne Course conducted by the Special Warfare School at Camp Erawan, Lop Buri, Thailand, July 18 – Aug. 9.  

Nearly 100 female RTA soldiers from Airborne Class 345 earned their Parachutist Badge after completing four weeks of rigorous training to include four static line jumps, one with combat equipment and one at night. The course concluded with an 8k ruck march from the drop zone. 

During the graduation ceremony, the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army General Narongpan Jittkaewtae reminded the soldiers what it means to wear the Parachutist Badge. 

“To earn this badge you have to follow Standing Operating Procedures strictly, including vigorous training.” said Jittkaewtae. “This badge represents your persistence, courage, and discipline to protect the country, which is the pride of the Royal Thai Army Airborne. May I remind those who wear this badge on your left chest, you are Airborne, you are capable of static line operations, ready for airborne operations.” 

1st Sgt. Sarah Meyers, U.S. Army Forward Support Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), served as the U.S. Army Special Operations Forces jumpmaster mentor during the course. Meyers has 15 years of airborne operations experience and is the only female jumpmaster in her battalion.  

“Being a part of a historic all-female jump feels empowering and significant, as it represents breaking barriers while working to improve combat effectiveness while promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity,” said Meyers. “It inspires a sense of pride, camaraderie, and a feeling of contribution to a positive change.” 

At the completion of the course Meyers recognized and gave encouragement to the female with the highest physical fitness score. 

“Good job exceeding the standard, don’t just do the minimum push yourself all the way,” said Meyers. “To keep up with our airborne brothers try to meet their standards.” 

Meyers also presented her U.S. Master Parachutist Jump Wings to a standout female to continue to motivate and encourage the soldiers of the RTA.  

“I am so proud of them all,” said Meyers. “They are now officially my Airborne sisters.” 

The United States and Thailand have nearly two centuries of diplomatic relations and have been security treaty allies for over 66 years.  

“The U.S. can help recommend how we can do better, and they can see how we do things differently which creates an exchange of information between us,” said 2nd Lt. Akararin Yucharoen, Thailand Special Warfare Command, instructor. “We have a great partnership.”

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