Washington, July 13, 2018 —
While the world watched the dramatic rescue of 12 youth soccer players and their coach from a flooded cave complex in northern Thailand, members of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Defense Attaché Office at the U.S. Embassy, Bangkok provided critical direct support to the trapped team and their rescuers.
Leveraging the capabilities of their locally-based Defense Attaché Service C-12 aircraft, DAO staff members delivered 500 pounds of Meals Ready to Eat to the recovery site in Chiang Rai, Thailand, soon after searchers found the team alive.
The MREs provided vital nutrition for the trapped boys and their coach who had been without food or water for 72 hours. After the initial C-12 supply mission, U.S. military cargo aircraft began delivering additional supplies to the more than 1,000 rescue personnel who worked to extricate the soccer team.
This mission illustrates a successful effort by the DAO to coordinate across multiple Department of Defense agencies, including the Joint United States Military Assistance Group Thailand, an Indo-Pacific Command Augmentation Team, Special Operations Command PACOM, Air Mobility Command, and DIA.
It also demonstrated how the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of State synchronized their capabilities to save civilian lives in the sovereign territory of a long-time U.S. ally and partner. The United States and Thailand have maintained diplomatic relations since 1818 – 200 years of bilateral ties.