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Balance Torch

The Balance Torch training, which demonstrates the continuing U.S. commitment to the security and stability of the Pacific region, is designed to benefit the respective participating U.S. and Thai forces by providing realistic joint and combined training and improving on mission essential unit tasks for U.S. and Thai Special Operations forces. The U.S. and Thailand have been participating in this type of training event for over ten years all around Thailand. Since 1991, Thailand and the U.S. have held more than 60 of these training exercises together, involving thousands of military personnel from both countries. As a result, Thailand and U.S. forces have improved combat readiness and contributed to better interoperability between the two sides. This kind of training allows soldiers to do a superb job when called upon in crises-whether in East Timor, Haiti, or in Kosovo.

PSYOP forces routinely provide PSYOP planning and operational support to such joint/combined exercises as ULCHI FOCUS LENS in Korea, COBRA GOLD and BALANCE TORCH in Thailand, FOAL EAGLE in Japan, and BALANCE PASSION in Papua, New Guinea. Further, PSYOP personnel continue to provide theater-wide support to selected counterdrug pro-grams in the region.

Approximately 130 soldiers from Active Army, Army Reserve and Army National Guard participated in exercise BALANCE TORCH 98-2. This joint/combined interoperability training event between U.S. special operations forces and the Royal Thai Armed Forces, trains U.S. forces, improves capabilities for joint/combined operations and enhances bilateral relations. Army events for the exercise included light infantry training, medical and engineer civic action events, civil affairs assessments, special reconnaissance and night vision goggle operations.

Ubon Ratchathani province has so far hosted many international activities such as the international parachute jumping competition to honor His Majesty the King in the occasion of his 72 years old birthday, and Thai-American Military Training under the code "Balance-torch 99-4".

Balance Torch 99-9 was a Joint-Combined exercise taking place between the RTMC Reconnaissance Battalion, US Army Special Forces and US Air Force. It was one of eight exercises that the Pacific Special Operations Command conducted with the cooperation of the Royal Thai Armed Forces in Thailand. The exercise brought about 100 United States Army and Air Force personnel to the Sattahip area for a period of three weeks to learn tactics and operational techniques from each other. The training will include many facets of operations to include High Altitude Level Operations.

On 19 October 1999 Thailand and the United States began military exercises near the border with Myanmar, close to where incursions by Myanmar troops took place. The month-long Balance Torch 00-1 exercises were focusing on training infantry for combat in mountainous areas. The exercises began in the northern province of Mae Hong Son, close to the infamous golden triangle drug producing region, which covers parts of Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and China. US and Thai military officials would not reveal when they began planning the joint exercises or how many personnel were involved. Thai intelligence sources said the exercise may be in response to border incursions by Myanmar troops and the junta's decision to close its border with Thailand. Thai officials confirmed their troops exchanged artillery fire with Myanmar soldiers on at least one occasion in the previous week, after they crossed into Mae Hong Son province. Ties between Myanmar and Thailand had been greatly strained since five gunmen stormed Yangon's embassy on October 1, holding almost 40 people hostage for 25 hours, before fleeing aboard a Thai helicopter.

Balance Torch 00-3 Joint Combined Exercise Training was conducted on March 20, 2000 in Phitsanulok province. In this year's exercise, which runs from March 20 to April 10, more than 300 U.S. soldiers, sailors, and airmen will participate with their counterparts from Thai forces in Chonburi, Udorn Thani, Sakon Nakhon, Lop Buri, and Phitsanulok provinces. During the exercise, Thai and U.S. soldiers will focus on several areas that include: military free fall, mission planning, reconnaissance, ambush, deliberate attack operations, marksmanship, riverine operations, low level flying, and air intercept operations.

Members of the U.S. Pacific Command's Special Operations Component conducted a Joint/Combined U.S.-Thai Military Training - "Balance Torch 00-4" Exercise in Thailand from 1-28 February 2000. "Balance Torch 00-4" exercise consisted of approximately 110 U.S. soldiers and airmen and 65 Royal Thai Army (RTA) soldiers. The training took place in the RTA 4th Army area outside Nakorn Si Thammarat. U.S. and Thai soldiers trained in small unit tactics and airborne operations. They focused on mission planning skills, reconnaissance, and conducted a static line jump master course. This training event had been scheduled for over a year, along with numerous other joint Combined Training Events as part of the United States' continuing support for and friendship with Thailand.

In April 2002 anti-drugs drills between Thai and American troops started in the North as part of the ``Balance Torch'' joint training exercise. The drugs training was especially designed for Task Force 399, the army's anti-drugs unit. The ``Balance Torch'' drill covered 115 troops from US Special Operations Pacific Command and 288 Thai soldiers. The US also deployed two MC-130H cargo planes while Thailand is flying a C-130 cargo plane, a Nomad patrol plane and four F-16 and two F-5 jet fighters. The exercise took place in Phitsanulok, Lop Buri, Udon Thani and Nakhon Sawan.

The United States Army Medical Component - Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences conducts collaborative research with government, academic and industrial partners to develop and evaluate diagnostic tests, vaccines and drugs against tropical infectious diseases of military importance. AFRIMS is the largest overseas U.S. Army biomedical research laboratory and plays a vital role in the study of tropical infectious diseases, conducting cutting-edge research and development projects which address the medical threats facing U.S. forces deployed in over 75 countries worldwide. AFRIMS has supported joint US-Thai military exercises in Thailand for the last decade (Cobra Gold and Balance Torch). This support included surveying diarrheal diseases, presenting lectures to medical units, and providing current epidemiological data to personnel responsible for preventive medicine.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:20:49 Zulu