AU Soldiers Say Stronger Partnership Is Key As Exercise Chapel Gold Starts

The Royal Thai Army and soldiers from the AU have started joint training exercises in the Hellfire Pass in Kanchanaburi, marking the start of the Exercise Chapel Gold 2018.

The Aussies were from the Rifle Company Butterworth 122 (RCB 122), most of whom are from the Alpha Company of the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR), which came from their local Thai base, at the Royal Malaysian Air Force Butterworth. The soldiers travelled to the Hellfire Pass in Kanchanaburi, in Thailand’s Chiang Mai Province.

The Australian Army’s 2nd/30th Training Group’s Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Malcolm Beck, was in charge of the training exercise conducted by RCB 122. He described the new exercises as a great chance for enhancing the bilateral ties between the Royal Australian Regiment and the Royal Thai Army, which he describes as two good examples of professional military forces.

The bilateral training exercise focused on jungle warfare techniques as well as tactical procedures like counter-insurgency training. RegimentalSergeant Major, WO1 Adrian Wilson, from the 2nd/30th Training Group, described the exercises, which includes tactical attack and defence serials, on top of jungle survival activities, counter insurgency, close quarter battle and combat shooting training, among other things.

The exercise will culminate in a combined field training in Chiang Dao’s surrounding mountains, located in the northern reaches of the country. Srgt. Mj. says that the RCB soldiers were excited for the exercises, looking forward to spending time in the field and working with their Thai counterparts.

After the exercise, the Australian contingent will then visit the memorial museum in Hellfire Pass in Kanchanaburi, the location where 1,362 Australians who died building the Thai-Burma railway, colloquially known as the Death Railway. The railway was built back in World War II by the Empire of Japan in order to support their forces in Burma, and completed the rail link connecting Bangkok, Thailand and Rangoon, Yangon.

The Australian Army puts high stock in Exercise Chapel Gold, with the armed forces seeing it as an annual training activity that improves cooperation, military interoperability as well as cultural understanding via shared learning.

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