The current rotation of Rifle Company Butterworth (RCB) welcomed the opportunity to train with the Royal Thai Army (RTA) on Exercise Chapel Gold 2022, the first time the exercise has run since 2019 due to COVID-19.

Lieutenant Felicity Maher, of the 1st Armoured Regiment, said the exercise was a highlight of her time at RCB.

“I have been really looking forward to training with the Royal Thai Army, particularly the jungle survival training. It’s always a great hit,” Lieutenant Maher said.

The RTA hosted the 11-day exercise in Nakhon Sawan province throughout August.

It involved Australian soldiers from RCB rotation 136, predominantly made up of personnel from the Australian Army’s 1st Armoured Regiment; 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment; 1st Combat Engineer Regiment; and members of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment of the RTA.

Royal Thai Army soldiers conduct close-quarter battle drills with Australian Army soldiers.

Officer Commanding RCB 136 Major Lachlan Joseph of the 1st Armoured Regiment, said the exercise was a fantastic opportunity to further enhance interoperability between two extremely professional military forces. 

“The training program included anti-armoured stalk tactics, tactical combat casualty care, counter-insurgency training, jungle survival activities and close-quarter battle training and combat shooting, and culminated in a combined field training activity,” Major Joseph said.

The 2nd/30th Training Group’s Regimental Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class One Neil Edwards said the RCB soldiers were looking forward to immersing themselves in Thai culture with their Thai counterparts.

“During the field training component of the exercise a platoon from the 2nd Infantry Battalion RTA attached to RCB and a platoon from RCB attached to the Thai company,” Warrant Officer Class One Edwards said.

“This was a great opportunity for the soldiers to make new friends and strengthen the relationship between Thailand and Australia.”

Exercise Chapel Gold is highly valued by the Australian Army as an annual training activity that increases military interoperability and cultural understanding through shared learning.

Following the exercise, the Australian contingent visited Kanchanaburi Province and the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, commemorating the site where 1362 Australians perished during the building of the Thai-Burma railway.

For further imagery visit the Defence Image Gallery.