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Naval Special Warfare Group.
Royal Thai Navy SEALs.
Royal Thai Navy Seals Emblem.svg
Unit insignia
Active 1956–present
Country Thailand
Branch Royal Thai Navy
Type Naval Special operations forces
Role Special operations
Reconnaissance missions
Amphibious reconnaissance
Direct Action
Unconventional Warfare
High-value target
Foreign internal defense
Underwater demolition
Personnel recovery
Combat search and rescue
Close quarters combat
Amphibious warfare
Part of Naval Special Warfare Command, Royal Thai Fleet.
Garrison/HQ Sattahip, Chonburi Province
Nickname(s) Royal Thai Navy SEALs[1]
Engagements Cold War
*Communist insurgency in Thailand
*Vietnamese border raids in Thailand
South Thailand insurgency
Operation Enduring Freedom – Horn of Africa
*Piracy off the coast of Somalia
Piracy in the Strait of Malacca
Tham Luang cave rescue
Website www.sealthailand.com (Thai)
Rear Admiral Apakorn Yuukongkaew[2]

The Naval Special Warfare Command, Royal Thai Fleet[3] (Thai language: หน่วยบัญชาการสงครามพิเศษทางเรือ กองเรือยุทธการ), commonly known as the Royal Thai Navy SEALs[1] (an acronym for Sea–Air–Land),[3] is the special operations force of the Royal Thai Navy.

The unit was set up in the name of Underwater Demolition Assault Unit in 1956 with the assistance of the U.S. Government.[4] A small element within the Navy SEALs has been trained to conduct maritime counter-terrorism missions.[citation needed] The unit has close ties with the United States Navy SEALs and conducts regular training exercises.[5]

History[edit | edit source]

In 1952, the Thai Ministry of Defence considered forming a diving unit.[3] At a meeting with the Royal Thai Army and Royal Thai Police it was agreed that the Royal Thai Navy would be responsible for establishing the unit.[3] Representatives of the Thai Navy met with officers from the United States Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) to discuss possible training.[3] On 13 June 1952, the Thai Navy approved the training program for the diving unit that included Underwater Demolition Team (UDT) training.[3] Unfortunately at the time there were not enough instructors from the United States to make the project happen and so it was temporarily put on hold.[3][5]

A Navy SEAL conducting a boarding of a U.S. Navy cargo ship during a terrorism (SEACAT) exercise in 2008[6]

In 1953, the Overseas Southeast Asia Supply Company (SEA Supply), a CIA front company, that provided assistance to the Thai Police, offered to provide the initial diving training to the Thai Navy and also to the Thai Police, which had received parachute training.[3][5] The Thai Navy approved a contingent of seven personnel and the Thai Police approved a contingent of eight personnel to receive training at Saipan island in the United States.[3] At Saipan island, the Thai Navy and Thai Police received eleven weeks training.[3] The Thai Navy contingent requested further training and the establishment of a Thai Navy Underwater Demolition Team on 24 November 1953 under the command of a Lieutenant.[3]

In 1956, the Royal Thai Navy formed a small combat diver unit.[7] In 1965, the unit was expanded and reorganised with US Navy assistance. [7] Three years later, it was again reorganised with US Navy assistance, dividing the unit between an underwater demolitions team and a SEAL team.[7] The UDT was tasked with salvage operations, obstacle clearance, and underwater demolitions.[7] The SEAL team was tasked with reconnaissance and intelligence missions.[7]

In the 1991 book South-East Asian Special Forces by Kenneth Conboy, the author wrote that the Navy SEALs were organised into two units, SEAL Teams One and Two, with a strength of 144 personnel with each SEAL Team divided into four platoons.[7] On 18 March 1991, the Navy SEALs were re-designated as the Naval Special Warfare Group, Royal Thai Fleet (Thai language: หน่วยสงครามพิเศษทางเรือ กองเรือยุทธการ) and were to report directly to the Royal Thai Fleet.[3][8] The unit was expanded and organised into three divisions: special combat, special warfare school, and support.[3]

On 7 August 2008, the Naval Special Warfare Group was re-designated as the Naval Special Warfare Command, Royal Thai Fleet, in order to increase the unit size and its capability for dealing with any future threats.[3][9]

Operational deployments[edit | edit source]

Navy SEALs conduct a beach assault from Zodiac inflatables during Exercise Cobra Gold 2011

Most of the operations of the Navy SEALs are highly sensitive and are rarely divulged to the public. Navy SEALs have been used to gather intelligence along the Thai border during times of heightened tension.[7] In December 1978, recon teams were sent to the Mekong River during skirmishes with the Pathet Lao, a communist political movement and organisation in Laos.[7] Navy SEALs have participated in anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Thailand.[7] They have also participated in salvage and rescue operations, and have supported Royal Thai Marine Corps training exercises.[10]

In recent times, Navy SEALs have deployed on Royal Thai Navy warships for anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia as part of Combined Task Force 151.[11][12] In June 2018, Navy SEALs responded to a request for assistance to search for a junior football team in the Tham Luang Nang Non cave system.[13] The Navy SEALs coordinated a rescue of the football team from the flooded cave system with assistance from international cave and support divers. 127 current and former Navy SEALs participated in the rescue.[2][14] While delivering supplies for the rescue, former Navy SEAL Petty Officer 1st class Saman Kunan died after losing consciousness underwater and could not be resuscitated.[15]

Weapons[edit | edit source]

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This article does not contain any citations or references. Please improve this article by adding a reference. For information about how to add references, see Template:Citation.

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Origin Small Arm Specific Model
 Belgium FN Herstal SCAR SCAR-H and SCAR-L
 Germany Heckler & Koch G36 G36KV
 Germany Heckler & Koch UMP UMP9
 Germany Heckler & Koch MP5 MP5SD and MP5K
 Germany Heckler & Koch USP
 Germany Heckler & Koch HK21 HK23E
 Germany Heckler & Koch PSG1 PSG1 and MSG90
United States KAC SR-25
United States Barrett M82
United States Barrett M95
United States Bushmaster M4 M4A3 SOPMOD
 United Kingdom Accuracy International AW50
  Switzerland SIG Sauer SIG516

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "ตรวจเยี่ยมกองอำนวยการฝึกนักเรียนนักทำลายใต้น้ำจู่โจม รุ่นที่ 45" (in Thai). Royal Thai Navy. http://www.sealthailand.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=724:2011-05-05-06-07-29&catid=35:2010-11-14-03-41-57&Itemid=41. Retrieved 27 July 2018. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "When Navy SEALs face their toughest challenge". Thai PBS. 17 July 2018. http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/navy-seals-face-toughest-challenge/. Retrieved 22 July 2018. 
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 "หน่วยบัญชาการสงครามพิเศษทางเรือ กองเรือยุทธการ: ประวัติความเป็นมา" (in th). Royal Thai Navy. 14 November 2010. http://www.sealthailand.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52&Itemid=27. Retrieved 27 July 2018. 
  4. https://www.baanjomyut.com/library_4/global_society/05_2.html
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "ประวัติหน่วย" (in Thai). Royal Thai Navy. Archived from the original on 16 August 2007. https://web.archive.org/web/20070816045521/http://www.navy.mi.th/naswu/. 
  6. "Thai special forces storm Military Sealift Command ship during antiterrorism exercise". Military Sealift Command - U.S. Navy. 19 August 2008. Archived from the original on 28 November 2016. https://web.archive.org/web/20161128000150/http://www.msc.navy.mil/publications/pressrel/press08/press38.htm. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 Conboy 1991, p. 52.
  8. "English-Thai Naval Dictionary". 2002. Archived from the original on 16 October 2015. https://web.archive.org/web/20151016003900/http://www.navy.mi.th:80/newwww/code/special/terminology/terminology.php?id=3. 
  9. "ร่วมงานวันคล้ายวันสถาปนาหน่วยบัญชาการสงครามพิเศษทางเรือ" (in Thai). Artillery Regiment Marine Corps. April 2009. http://www.artillery-marines.mi.th/artillery/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=803:2016-05-24-01-50-08&catid=118:-2559&Itemid=53. Retrieved 23 July 2018. 
  10. Bennet 2003.
  11. "Royal Thai Navy Anti-Piracy Fleet". Royal Thai Embassy in Singapore. 15 July 2011. http://www.thaiembassy.sg/activities/royal-thai-navy-anti-piracy-fleet. Retrieved 22 July 2018. 
  12. Panrak, Patcharapol (8 July 2011). "Thai navy returns to Somalia for 2nd anti-piracy tour". Pattaya Mail. http://www.pattayamail.com/news/thai-navy-returns-to-somalia-for-2nd-anti-piracy-tour-4617. Retrieved 22 July 2018. 
  13. "Timeline of young footballers, coach being trapped in Mae Sai cave, Chiang Rai". Thai PBS. 25 June 2018. http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/timeline-young-footballers-coach-trapped-mae-sai-cave-chiang-rai/. Retrieved 19 July 2018. 
  14. "Navy chief praises Thai Navy SEALs in special citation". Thai PBS. 22 July 2018. http://englishnews.thaipbs.or.th/navy-chief-praises-thai-navy-seals-special-citation/. Retrieved 25 July 2018. 
  15. Busby, Mattha (2018-07-06). "Thai navy Seals pay tribute to diver who died in cave rescue" (in en). the Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/06/thai-navy-seals-pay-tribute-diver-died-cave-rescue. 

References[edit | edit source]

  • Bennett, Richard M. (2003). Elite Forces : The World's Most Formidable Secret Armies. London: Virgin Books. ISBN 9780753522813. 
  • Conboy, Kenneth (1991). South-East Asian Special Forces. Elite series;no.32. London: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 9781855321069. 

Further reading[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

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