The US Embassy sent several embassy officials to Pattaya yesterday to meet with the Deputy. Mayor of Pattaya, Ronnakit Ekkasingh, the deputy. Mayor Manot Nongyai, and his City Hall staff to discuss plans to release 2,000 US soldiers ashore in August this year.
The current plan, which involves the previously delayed Cobra Gold, is an annual military training exercise between the US military and the Thai military, this year, in August, to take place around Pattaya and Sattahip. This normally annual exercise was cancelled in February due to the Covid19 virus and rescheduled in the fall of this year.
However, the meeting did not include the actual exercises, but was based on the ability and planning to provide up to 2,000 U.S. soldiers the opportunity to take shore leave and have the opportunity to travel around Pattaya and contribute to the local economy.
Of course, with the current Covid-19 situation, this may still be a concern for many. The meeting was designed to address many of these concerns.
Mr. Charles Butler, the deputy. Assistant Ambassador to the United States Defense Forces, and Navy Lieutenant Commander Matt Barker, Naval Ambassador Fleet, discussed these concerns at the meeting.
All soldiers will reportedly be fully vaccinated with Astrazeneca vaccines before making landfall in August. In addition, the soldiers would have previously been at sea on their respective ships for periods of or longer than Thailand’s mandatory quarantine period and have been subject to regular Covid-19 tests.
On the Pattaya side, Deputy Mayor of Pattaya, Khun Ronnakit Ekkasingh, stated that by August the city should be “on track” with their plan to vaccinate 70% of the local population and that Pattaya should be ready for a visit of this kind.
The plan to allow the visit has NOT been shelved for the time being.