The US Embassy sent several officials to Pattaya today to meet with Pattaya City Deputy Mayor Ronnakit Ekkasingh, Deputy Mayor Manot Nongyai, and his staff at City Hall to discuss plans for allowing up to 2000 US soldiers shore leave in August of this year.
The current plan is for the previously delayed Cobra Gold, an annual military training exercise between the US Military and Thai military, to take place around Pattaya and Sattahip this year, in August. The exercise is generally an annual one but due to Covid-19 did not take place as regularly scheduled in February of this year and has been pushed back to the fall.
The meeting, however, didn’t involve the actual exercises but was based around the ability and planning to allow up to 2000 US soldiers the ability to be given shore leave and the opportunity to travel around Pattaya and contribute to the local economy.
Of course, with the current Covid-19 situation, this can still be a concern to many. The meeting was meant to alleviate many of these concerns. Mr. Charles Butler, Deputy Assistant Ambassador to the US Defence Force, and Navy Lieutenant Matt Barker, Naval Ambassadors Fleet, addressed those concerns at the meeting.
All of the soldiers will reportedly have been fully vaccinated with Astrazeneca vaccines prior to coming ashore in August. Additionally, the soldiers would have previously been at sea on their respective ships for a period of or longer than Thailand’s mandatory quarantine period and subject to regular Covid-19 testing.
As for the Pattaya side, Deputy Mayor Ronnakit Ekkasingh stated that by August the city should be “well along” their plan to vaccinate 70% of the local population and that Pattaya should be ready for a visit of this nature.
The plan to allow the visit proceeds forward, for now.
A video can be found here: