Thirty years ago I was deployed to the Thailand/Malaysia border to train Royal Thai Rangers on weapons systems. We also patrolled along the southern border looking for certain terrorist groups.
These were incredible men who loved their country and did a great job protecting it. We learned a lot from these men as well as them learning from us. We ate a lot of cobra and iguana meat together as they taught us about their jungle.Yes! We also ate a lot of rice.
One of the Rangers (I can’t remember his name) was actually a Vietnamese who fought in his native country as a boy during the Vietnam War. When the Viet Cong took over Vietnam he went to Cambodia to fight and eventually made his way to joining the Thai Rangers. Through our interpreter he told me there was not a bullet made that could kill him. We went on several missions together and he sure kept eying my Gerber stiletto. On one of our last missions together I asked him through our interpreter if he would like to have that large knife, of course he said yes. I will not mention the condition under which I would give him the knife! He took the stiletto and sheath and then gave me his survival knife that he had made.
The Thai people that we came across were very friendly people and very curious about us. The children would sing songs to us in their native language and we would teach them some songs in English. The children were mesmerized with the hair on our arms and often called us monkey people (we were never insulted by this).
One day we received a day of R&R and went to the city of Hat Yai. A friend and I were looking for a phone to call our wives back in the States. We asked several people if they knew where an international phone was at. Several men offered to take us to a phone. They got in a fight over who was going to take us and about that time the Thai Police showed up. We told them what we were looking for and they got the other men settled down. The Police took us to some phones that would dial out to the States.
One day while recouping from some long range patrols the Thai Rangers introduced us to a game called Takraw. It is played like volleyball, except they use their feet and a hard little ball.
I appreciate the Thai Rangers we were able to work with and hope they feel the same. Thailand will always have a special place in my heart.
I always get excited when I hear of a Missionary going to Thailand. I pray that many people will come to know the Lord through their efforts of spreading the Gospel.