Royal Thai Marine Corps
In 1965 the Royal Thai Marine Corps (RTMC) formed an amphibious reconnaissance company. The unit was tasked with conducting ground and amphibious recon missions, beach reconnaissance, obstacle clearance operations, and conducting special operations in support of RTMC operations.
In 1972 a small group of Thai Recon Marines deployed to Laos as part of volunteer Battalion Commando 619. The group operated in the Plane de Jarres conducting combat operations against the communist Pathet Lao guerillas before being withdrawn. In November of 1978 the company was expanded to its current battalion size.
Currently the Bn. is based at Sattahip Naval Base. Commanded by a Lt. Colonel, the battalion is composed of four sub units. A HQ Company (with a attached war dog Plt.), one amphibious recon Company (which contains the Battalion's combat divers), and two motorized recon companies (equipped with V-150 armored cars). There is also a small counter-terrorism Detachment assigned to the unit. The battalion's companies are attached to RTMC Regiments on an as-needed basis.
In 1989 a RTMC task force was deployed along the border with Cambodia, and one Recon Co. was attached to the unit while it conducted operations.
Prospective Thai Recon Marines are selected from the ranks of experienced Marines. Candidates are required to complete a three-month long amphibious recon course at the Sattahip Special Warfare Center. The course provides instruction in long-range patrolling, amphibious operations, hydrographic surveys, and specialized ground combat tactics.
Upon completion of the amphibious recon course, candidates thenunder take a basic parachute course at the RTMC parachute school collocated with the Special Warfare School at Sattahip. Recon Marines are required to successfully make eight parachute jumps (including one at night, and two water jumps) before being awarded the Naval Parachute Qualification Badge.
Selected Battalion personnel receive training in HAHO and HALO parachute operations. Others receive specialized training in CT techniques. With the Bn.'s HQ is a platoon of war dogs. The dogs act as scouts for the Battalionn during operations. The platoons dog handlers have received training in conducting airborne and airmobile operations with the dogs (i.e.... they parachute and rappel with the dogs).
The Recon Bn. routinely conducts training exercises along the Cambodian border and with USMC Reconnaissance units.