Royal Thai Navy officer marks career milestone on board Choules

This article has photo gallery Published on SBLT Patrick Stafford (author), LSIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Topic(s): Defence Cooperation Program

Midshipman Theeratiphong Pannil of the Royal Thai Navy is presented with a certificate of promotion to the rank of Sub Lieutenant by Commanding Officer HMAS Choules, Commander Scott Houlihan RAN, CSM at a ceremony held aboard HMAS Choules, Garden Island, Sydney. (photo: LSIS Steven Thomson)
Midshipman Theeratiphong Pannil of the Royal Thai Navy is presented with a certificate of promotion to the rank of Sub Lieutenant by Commanding Officer HMAS Choules, Commander Scott Houlihan RAN, CSM at a ceremony held aboard HMAS Choules, Garden Island, Sydney.

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.

Commander Houlihan said Sub Lieutenant Pannil’s time on Choules will allow him to grow and practice mariner skills gained during Maritime Warfare Officer training at HMAS Watson.

“Sub Lieutenant Pannil’s time in Australia has provided the young Officer with great and varied experiences in an exchange that has been of equal value to the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Thai Navy,” Commander Houlihan said.

The Royal Thai Navy officer has been working and training in Australia with the Australian Defence Force since July 2016.

Sub Lieutenant Pannil first attended New Entry Officers’ Course (NEOC) 55, graduating from the Royal Australian Naval College in December of 2016.

On completion of NEOC, Sub Lieutenant Pannil attended the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) for three years while he studied a Bachelor of Science and participated in Military training alongside the ADF’s Midshipmen and Officer Cadets.

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, where the trainees will spend time in the bridge simulator learning to navigate Armidale-class Patrol Boats.

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.

In 2001, His Royal Highness accepted the registration of the Thai-Australian Military Alumni Association (T-AMAA) under his Royal Patronage.

The Australian Defence Force’s Defence Cooperation Program (DCP) offers approximately 90 individual training positions in Australia annually across a range of courses.

Imagery is available on the Defence Image Gallery: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20201450.