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Pacific Pathways in Thailand ongoing amid pandemic

Pacific Pathways in Thailand ongoing amid pandemic

Soldiers in Thailand for the Army’s Pacific Pathways program have continued training, though in smaller groups, as the coronavirus pandemic curtails military exercises elsewhere.

While training is ongoing, the U.S. soldiers and their Royal Thai Army counterparts have relegated it to the squad-level. All platoon-level and higher training, as well as combined arms live-fire exercises, have been cancelled, according to 25th Infantry Division spokesman Lt. Col. Adam Hallmark.

But the Americans still plan to train until their return to Hawaii in May, which is also still on track. The task force is comprised of soldiers from multiple units, including engineer companies, an artillery battery, support companies and an aviation element.

Many of them are located at sites around Camp Friendship in northeast Thailand. As coronavirus cases in Thailand increased, temperature checks were ordered when troops entered the chow hall.

“It’s true that at some locations medics were taking temperatures at the dining facilities and this proved to be ineffective,” said Hallmark.

Thai troops show off different snakes inhabiting their home country during training for soldiers from 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division on March 6, 2020, at Camp Friendship, Korat, Thailand. (Spc. Ezra Camarena/Army)
Thai troops show off different snakes inhabiting their home country during training for soldiers from 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division on March 6, 2020, at Camp Friendship, Korat, Thailand. (Spc. Ezra Camarena/Army)

The task force is now requiring daily temperature checks of all soldiers, and company commanders have to report completion every single day.

While task force does not possess any COVID-19 test kits, their medics are “tied in closely” with Thai medical officials at all locations where the U.S. soldiers are training, Hallmark said.

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