Royal Thai Marine Corps. Commander Vice Adm. Sonthaya Noichaya addressed the 403 troops slated for duty in Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat at Chumphon Camp Sept. 19. The soldiers are relieving marines on duty for the past year in a region of Thailand where more than 4,000 people have been killed since 2004 in a Muslim separatist insurgency.
Hundreds of Marines are being sent south to relieve marines who have been on duty for the past year in the restive area.
The departing forces include 210 personnel from the 2nd infantry Battalion, 109 from 5th Infantry Battalion, 40 officers from 6th Infantry Battalion, 20 from Force Recon, 12 technicians from the Maintenance Department and 4 nurses.
Before departing, Sangkharak Pongsiri Paphassaro, abbot of Khao Ploy Mediation Center, sprayed holy water to bless the troops while family and friends offered roses they said their goodbyes.