Royal Thai Navy Officer Theeratiphong Pannil has marked a significant milestone in his Naval career with promotion to the rank of Sub Lieutenant while on an exchange program with the Royal Australian Navy. Sub Lieutenant Pannil is following a strong tradition of Defence cooperation between Thailand and Australia, with more than 2000 Thai military officers having attended training in Australia since 1991. Sub Lieutenant Pannil’s promotion from Midshipman was conducted by Commanding Officer HMAS Choules, Commander Scott Houlihan, at a small promotion ceremony in Choules recently. The ceremony was conducted in accordance with all safe distancing practices.
Sub Lieutenant Pannil first attended New Entry Officers’ Course (NEOC) 55, graduating from the Royal Australian Naval College in December of 2016. Sub Lieutenant Pannil graduated from ADFA in December 2019 before returning to Australia to conduct Maritime Warfare Officer Course training at HMAS Watson in January 2020. In March this year, Sub Lieutenant Pannil joined Choules with seven other Royal Australian Navy Midshipmen for Phase II of the Maritime Warfare Officer Course training continuum. The group will return to HMAS Watson in June 2020 upon completion of Phase II, in order to progress to Phase III. On completion of Phase III in December this year, Sub Lieutenant Pannil will return to Thailand to continue his career with the Royal Thai Navy.
Australia and Thailand have had a defence relationship for more than 70 years, which has included activities such as coalition operational deployments, United Nations operations, senior officer visits, exchange postings, exercises and training opportunities for individual officers in both countries. The first Thai officer to attend an Australian military course was General Saiyud Kerdphol, who completed the Australian Command and Staff Course at Queenscliff in 1958. Australia has also hosted the current King of Thailand, His Royal Highness King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, who attended military training at the Royal Military College Duntroon from 1972-1975.