The department of border patrol police, Naresuan Military Base in Prachuab Khirikhan, has lately launched a historic museum on firearms and artillery to serve as another tourist attraction in the province and celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Thai troop, especially the ‘black tigers’ who worked there.
Somsak Khlaiaksorn, the chairman of the Naresuan Sua Dam Ruam Jai military group in Hua Hin, said that former paratroopers from the ‘black tigers’ group and other retired border patrol police formed this military group to enhance unity among retired soldiers and veterans. Recently, the group members have worked together to establish the historic museum that houses items related to military mission, namely all kinds of firearms and artillery used at war, radio communication devices and photos depicting battles of Thai soldiers. All the items were once used by the paratroopers during missions on suppressing insurgents in central, southern and northeastern Thailand.
According to Pol. Col. Somsak, the items, particularly the firearms and artillery, were confidential for the sake of national security of Thailand. That is why they could not be publicly displayed. However, since the Cold War ended, authorities have brought the items on display so that interested people will understand more on how the Thai border patrol police and paratroopers fought against communists several years ago.
Now, the historic museum on firearms and artillery, located at the Naresuan Military Base, welcomes visitors and students who would like to know more about different kinds of guns, history of war against communism in Thailand and relations between high-positioned police and soldiers and the lower-positioned ones.
“Here, objects are systematically categorized and displayed on the 2nd floor of the museum together with some photos that recount their history. We also have some border patrol police to facilitate and give visitors more information,” said Pol. Col. Somsak. “This is the first time that people have a chance to know how Thai soldiers, especially paratroopers, worked 30 years ago.”
After the World War II, communism widely spread across Asia led by China and the Soviet Union. Thailand itself was under this threat. So, Pol. Gen. Phao Sriyanont, the then director of the National Police Office, was ordered by Field Marshal Poh Piboonsongkram, the former Thai premier, to modify the police work at the time. On 13 July 1951, the Thai paratroop was officially formed at Erawan Military Base in Lop Buri. Its members, trained by a C.I.A. officer Mr. James William Lare, are professional on parachuting, killing and sabotaging.
When the Erawan Military Base was used for soldiers training, the paratroopers moved to a new camp in Ubol Ratchathani province. They then moved again to the current Naresuan Military Base in Hua Hin with the main mission to suppress terrorists in and outside Thailand. Thanks to strong support from American trainers, modern weapons and highly confidential operation, the paratroopers were the most reliable group on national security protection at that time. More importantly, they have constantly taken care of the royal family of Thailand, too.
Although the nowadays role of the paratroopers may not be as significant as in the past after the Cold War era, their contribution in protecting Thailand from terrorism and communism is invaluable. On 14 July 2011, the Naresuan Sua Dam Ruam Jai military group and the department of border patrol police, Naresuan Military Base, celebrated the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Naresuan Military Base to re-unite all dedicated and brave Thai soldiers, border patrol police and the ‘Black Tigers’ paratroopers. The historic museum on firearms and artillery will also be another important commemoration to their hard-working, professionalism and unity in peace keeping and conflict resolution for Thailand.