News: Royal Thai Air Force, U.S. Marines turn up the heat in Thailand
Story by Cpl. Vanessa Jimenez
NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Kingdom of Thailand - Royal Thai Air Force aircraft rescue firefighters conducted live-fire burns with U.S. Marines Feb. 21 at Wing One Royal Thai Air Force Base, Nakhon Ratchasima, Kingdom of Thailand during Cobra Gold 2013.
The RTAF ARFF are with Wing One, RTAF and the U.S. Marines are assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The training was conducted to give the firefighters confidence and proficiency in their techniques, skill, gear and each other.
“The importance of this training is gaining more experience,” said U.S. Marine Sgt. Joksam Graulau Santiago, an aircraft rescue firefighter with MWSS-172. “Getting hands on during training is essential this way when a real incident does happen the Marines will be confident, have the knowledge, and be able to do a really good job.”
During CG 13, the Marines fully integrated with RTAF ARFF, getting the opportunity to train everyday.
“We’re here to provide fire suppression and rescue capabilities for the air combat element and at the same time we’re here to do bilateral training with the Thai firefighters,” said Graulau Santiago. “It’s a really good experience, we got to teach them techniques, have them show us new techniques and we received a lot of companionship from it. In a sense we’re becoming a family, it’s too bad it only lasts two weeks.”
ARFF are first responders to airfield emergencies so they work close to the airfield to ensure they can be there in as little time as possible.
“We help make sure everything is safe and we secure all problems in the airfield,” said RTAF Sgt. Sakmassarat Thinnapat, ARFF specialist, “We aren’t just looking out for the Thai, we cover the entire American and Thai team here.”
ARFF work together to accomplish any mission gaining lasting memories and a new family among our oldest ally in the Asia-Pacific.
“We take part in this training every year and we’re very happy to have this exchange, experience and knowledge of training,” said Thinnapat. “I’m very happy to be here training with the U.S. Marines. I feel like we’ve become a family.”
CG 13, in its 32nd iteration, demonstrates U.S. commitment to their long-standing ally, the Kingdom of Thailand, and toward regional partnership, prosperity and security in the Asia-Pacific region.