Saturday, October 31, 2020

Thai Army gets ready to welcome new commander in chief

Sep 30. 2020
Gen Narongphan Jitkaewtae (left) Gen Apirat Kongsompong (right)
Gen Narongphan Jitkaewtae (left) Gen Apirat Kongsompong (right)
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By The Nation

With simmering political tensions and rumours of a coup, people are keeping a close eye on the Army even as new commander in chief General Narongphan Jitkaewtae gets ready to officially take over on October 1.

General Narongphan, nicknamed “Bie”, was born on January 1, 1963 in Bangkok and completed his secondary schooling at Amnuay Silpa School before joining the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School and Royal Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy.

The general’s parents had named him “Montien Kaewtae”, but he changed it to Narongphan Jitkaewtae after graduating from the Royal Thai Army Command and General Staff College.

He started his Army career with the 2nd Infantry Division Queen’s Guard, better known as Burapha Phayak or Tigers of the East, in Prachinburi before taking the position of deputy commander of the 3rd Infantry Battalion at the 31st Infantry Regiment King's Guard or the Army's Rapid Deployment Force (RDF). As deputy commander, he participated in the peacekeeping operation in East Timor in 1999-2000.

Upon returning, he was given the post of commander of the 1st Infantry Battalion at 31st Infantry Regiment King's Guard and then commander of the 3rd Infantry Battalion at the same regiment in 2004-2005.

The general was also tasked with controlling the unrest in Yala’s Than To and Betong districts in 2009, and soon after became commander of the 31st Infantry Regiment King's Guard.

He became deputy commander of the 1st Division King's Guard in 2012 and its commander in 2015. In 2018, he served as commanding general of the 1st Army Area and in 2019, he became assistant commander in chief before being made the 42nd Army chief in 2020.

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