American troops involved in Thai cave rescue

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American troops involved in Thai cave rescue

This story has been everywhere, so I'm going to assume everyone knows the basics.  But one thing that strikes me as underreported in some areas is just now multi-national the rescue effort was, with British and Australian divers working alongside our own US troops out of Okinawa.  And of course the Thai SEALs leading the whole thing.  There are only a total of 144 Thai SEALs, and they have strong training ties to our US equivalent.

If you don't know the basics, here is a video taken before the kids were all rescued (and are recovering fine) from CNN that actually had a bit more depth to the rescue operation itself than other videos I found:

An article in Stars and Stripes Tuesday noted a US presence in the rescue operations:

Dozens of U.S. military personnel, including pararescue airmen based in Okinawa, were part of a multinational effort that saved 12 young soccer players and their coach from a flooded cave in Thailand. The final boy and his coach were rescued Tuesday.

State Department spokesman Steve Castonguay in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand, where the operation unfolded, said in an email Tuesday that Thai authorities had the lead with about 40 American servicemembers in support.

“The U.S. team here consists of a survival specialist and pararescue specialists trained in personnel recovery techniques and procedures, as well as their support personnel,” he said. The group also included Army personnel from a civil military support element, he said.

U.S. Special Operations Command tweeted photographs Tuesday of American servicemembers working on the rescue operations. They show an American servicemember looking at a map with his Thai counterparts, and other U.S. troops hiking into the jungle.

And yesterday I found out that a 2000 graduate of my Alma Mater, The Citadel, was very involved:

As the final moments of an 18-day ordeal unfolded before him, Citadel graduate and Air Force Maj. Charles Hodges felt a sense of relief, the same one felt the world over.

Twelve boys and their soccer coach, stranded in a cave in northern Thailand, had been rescued and were safe.

“When the boys left the cave, obviously there was a big sigh of relief,” said Hodges, a 2000 Citadel graduate and U.S. mission commander for the 353rd Special Operations unit based at Kadena Air Base in Japan. “Everyone knew that a big home run had been hit.”

Hodges, from Winnsboro, and the 353rd were part of a multi-national effort to save the boys. One former Thai Navy SEAL diver died in the rescue operation.

“It took every single one of us, putting our heads together and pushing aside any sort of of political or cultural differences and doing our best to find a solution to do this,” Hodges said in an interview with “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday. “What I take away from this is how much can be accomplished from teamwork, because it was pretty impressive.”

Here is the interview Major Hodges did with CBS:

The boys themselves are doing quite well reports USA Today:

Video released Wednesday from the hospital shows the boys, wearing hospital gowns and masks and sitting up in their beds, making victory signs to the camera and waving to ecstatic parents. Family members, some near tears, wave back from behind glass.

The boys were famished and weak when they were found, having lost an average of more than 4 pounds each. But their spirits were high, and the rescue team brought them nutritional gels to slowly build their strength.

All will remain in the hospital for several more days. They are now eating regular food, and some will be going home in a week.

"Overall, the 13 people are in very good condition," Thai health official Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong said.

For more on what went on, why they were that far in, how it was accomplished, and some awesome graphics like the one above, go read this article from the BBC which gives good credit to the Thai government for moving so rapidly and allowing others to help:

Once foreign divers arrived, from many different countries, the Thai authorities allowed them to devise first the search, and then the enormously complex rescue. It was a huge logistical operation involving hundreds of people, building guide rope and pulley systems, putting in power and communication cables.

It is to Thailand's credit that it was organised so well, and there was no attempt to diminish the foreign contribution. 

Posted in the burner | 20 comments
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The liberal press was very thorough, and complimentary to all the military from ALL countries involved. The only fake news is associated with the fake president. Yes I served.

The only fake president was that wretch we got rid of know the Marxist muslim, racist who along with his financier Soros tried to demoralize, strip and destroy the US, caused division, chaos and race baiting in every issue. Good riddance to that disgrace.

This is a report from the American Legion reporting on the US Special forces part in the rescue.

Wery few people realize the effort on the training that goes in to the special parts of the military reuirements that they are called on to perform The loss of the volunteer x military member is very sad and should be remembered for the efforts he put forth to help get them out with extra praise still not being the service to get involved in this rescue operatiom

Only Air Firce Special Operations Personnel and a few Army support personnel were involved from the US military. Special Forces are Army only. Air Force, Marines, and Navy are not Special Forces. “Green Berets” are the military’s only Special Forces.

You are definitely not a veteran and don't have any clue what you are talking about. I am not going to reveal your mistaken details about Special Forces, so you can continue to make the same mistake. If you don't have something intelligent to say, JUST SHUT UP!!!

How is he wrong? Army Special Forces are a unique and solitary unit, Special Operations are units from various branches such as Army Rangers, Army Night Stalkers, Navy SEALS, Marine Special Operations, and Air Force Commandos. Army Delta Forces and SEAL Team 6 may be excluded from JSOC and under the direct supervision of the SEC. of Defense.

Ever heard of JSOC you idiot?

BTW, 7 of my 24 years in the Air Force was in AFSOC, Air Force Special Operations Command.

All of the major branches have special operations forces as well as joint special op's groups.

Regardless of who our president is, as a prior servicemen you should stand beside them. Anyone that doesn’t stand beside our presidents make our country weak to the core. Our image should always be as one.

I know many, atheist or secular people, will say there was no involvement from God, or Christ, but I will always profess and proclaim that a divine intervention was factor in the overall success in this rescue operation. Just ask any one who were there, inside the three chambers, and at time submerged, and outside, didn't they pray, and seek God's grace and blessings. As a former AP, USAF, we were always glad to have a Chaplain on deck, before an arduous engagement. Our prayers and condolence are extended to the one diver who lost his life. He is gone, but will ever be memorialized and remembered. Thank God!

Now we know what heroism and heroes really look like. Quiet, determined, tough minded people who are given a challenge and go forward until the mission is complete. People who can set aside their own self interest, their own lives, and push through something this treacheros is an amazing thing to see. We owe them so much for showing us what people “CAN DO.”

It is the responsibility of the president, not the soldier, to make us
one. This president is a total failure. My country,right or wrong, in
a new form still will not work.

Very happy to see a positive outcmoe for these kids,coach and everyone involved in getting them out to safety. Kevin Holt needs to just sit down and and shut his mouth. If you don't have anything good to say about this rescue why don't you just say nothing at all !!!!

This rescue was a miracle and all who participated are heroes, regardless of country of origin or branch of service. It is sad that some choose to make it about politics and inter-service rivalry. I agree with Stand Alone. As current or former military members, regardless of our political leanings, it is our duty to remain loyal to both our country and our leadership. We can find fault in any leader and using forums such as this to attempt to incite political hate is in poor taste.

Additionally, "Special Forces" is a generic term applied to service members of all branches that have specialized training to deal with unconventional threats and situations. Special Forces (list not all inclusive) include groups such as Army Green Berets, Rangers and Delta Force, Navy SEALs, Marine Force Recon, Air Force TACPs, CCTs and PJs.

20 years of military service and still counting between 1983-present. If you don't know it, Google it.
"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt." Mark Twain

I have no idea what military this Chris E. served in and really don`t care but he needs to brush up on his facts. Paul F. asked, if he was aware of JSOC, which is very real and impressive. My nephew was a part of it and now commands 8th ARMY in So. Korea. It includes all the military branches! Yes, I did serve.

The word HERO is oft abused, and frequently misused. However, every member of that rescue team earned the designation. They willingly sacrificed their own lives, as witness the one casualty, in order to save the lives of strangers. They will receive nothing in return except the gratitude of people they will never see. .

served as green beret from 1961-1964. did what we were asked to do without all the BS I've just read in most of the above comments. No doubt liberal Democrats that haven't served and don't have a clue. Sleep well because there are many making that possible for you

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.