KORAT ROYAL THAI AIR BASE, Thailand –
The first ever Enduring Partners Engagement commenced with an opening ceremony officiated by Royal Thai Air Force Group Captain Nat Kamintra, Enduring Partners Exercise Director, and U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Gent Welsh, Washington Air National Guard commander, Sept. 11.
The National Guard-sponsored State Partnership Program engagement includes nearly 230 U.S. Airmen from the 142nd Fighter Wing, Portland Air National Guard Base, Oregon, and the 141st Air Refueling Wing, Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. They deployed with approximately eight F-15 Eagles and two KC-135 Stratotankers.
Enduring Partners participants will gain valuable training through combined dissimilar air combat training, air-to-air refueling and ground-controlled interception. The event aims to improve combat readiness and combined and joint interoperability between the Royal Thai Air Force, Washington Air National Guard, and the Oregon Air National Guard, while enhancing strong defense relations and the State Partnership Program between the two countries.
“The United States and the Air National Guard are extremely grateful for the efforts of the Royal Thai Air Force and our mutual commitment to the types of things we can achieve together now, and in the future, under the State Partnership Program,” Welsh said. “My hope is that we continue to develop generations of Airmen in both Washington state and Thailand through exercises and engagements like this and that we work, and grow old together, working on areas of interest between our two nations for many years to come.”
Since signing their formal partnership through the State Partnership Program in 2002, the Washington National Guard and the Royal Thai Armed Forces have met regularly through subject matter expert exchanges, engagements and exercises to enhance their mutual capabilities, security cooperation, and people-to-people connections that extend beyond military cooperation.
The engagement runs through Sept. 21.