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NEWS | Jan. 18, 2024

U.S. INDOPACOM Commander Presents Legion of Merit to Royal Thai Armed Forces Gen. Chalermphon

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

BANGKOK— Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, presented Gen. Chalermphon Srisawasdi, former Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTARF) Chief of Defence, with the Legion of Merit, Degree of Commander, at the Joint U.S. Military Advisory Group, Thailand on Jan. 18, 2024.

Established by an Act of Congress on July 20, 1942, the Legion of Merit is the highest accolade that the U.S. can bestow upon a foreign leader. It is reserved for individuals who have shown exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services.
In recognition of Gen. Chalermphon's pivotal role, Adm. Aquilino emphasized his exceptional service, dedication, and loyalty.
“For the United States, alliances are the highest form of partnerships of nations,” Aquilino said. “For me, there has been no better partner to strengthen our alliance and to bring peace and stability to this region than General Chalermphon... your dedicated service and stability strengthened our alliance.”
Gen. Chalermphon was integral to maintaining the bilateral military relationship between the Royal Thai Armed Forces and U.S. Indo-Pacific Command in the face of a global pandemic and strategic challenges. 
During his tenure, Chalermphon oversaw the expansion of the U.S.–Thailand military relationship, including the development of the scope and complexity of cornerstone Exercise COBRA GOLD. His leadership and vision maintained safe, high-level activity during the global pandemic, as well as the integration of cyber security and space situational awareness into the exercise. Cobra Gold’s 43rd iteration begins next month.
Chalermphon also presided over the inaugural U.S.–Thailand Senior Leader Dialogue, and instilled a clear vision in the Joint Force to seek every opportunity to deepen ties, strengthen interoperability and sustain a robust security partnership. 
During the ceremony, Gen. Chalermphon thanked U.S. Indo-Pacific Command for the award, which he said was a reflection of the excellent relationship between the two countries.
“It is my honor and I will honor this forever,” Chalermphon said. “But most importantly, it symbolizes the enduring and warm friendship between the Royal Thai Forces and the U.S. Armed Forces... I am confident that under the leadership of Gen. Songwit Noonpackdee and Adm. John C. Aquilino, the strong bonds between the two armed forces will continue to strengthen and flourish.”
Gen. Chalermphon's resolute efforts in prioritizing the safety, security and sovereignty of Thailand showcased his strategic vision and dedication to navigating the complexities of modern security challenges. As Chief of Defence Forces, his tenure reflected dual commitments to ensuring national and regional security while actively developing and securing the U.S.-Thai relationship for the benefit of both nations and the broader Indo-Pacific region. 
As long-time friends, military allies and economic partners, Thailand and the U.S. will continue to work together to ensure regional security and national sovereignty through increased interoperability and continued support. 

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