Chief of Defense Forces Gen. Songkitti Jaggabatara stood with Navy Commander-in-Chief Khamthorn Pumhiran on the deck of the HTMS Taksin Sept. 23 at Sattahip Naval Base as 800 Marine Corps and Air and Coastal Defense Command personnel marched in formation.
A flotilla of six vessels and several aircraft also engaged in an honorary procession with the HTMS Mongkut Rajkuman firing off a salute.
Troops march past the soon to be retired Chief of Defense Forces Gen. Songkitti Jaggabatara.
Following the procession, 202 commanders and 650 government officials, sailors, employees and naval cadets attended a reception. The supreme commander also paid respects to a statue of Prince Chumphon, the Father of the modern Thai navy.
Songkitti praised the navy for its long history, unity and honor. He emphasized the navy’s duty to protect democracy.
Songkitti, 60, retires Oct. 1 after 34 years of service. A graduate of Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, he began service as a cavalry officer and fought against communist insurgents throughout the country, served in 1982 on the tense Thailand-Cambodian border following Vietnam’s invasion of the kingdom’s neighbor four years earlier and, in 1999, led Thailand’s military contingent in the International Force for East Timor peacekeeping mission.
He was named chief of defense forces in 2008 and, in 2009, as the head of the controversial Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation, the organization tasked with resolving unrest by red shirt anti-government demonstrators.