21st Infantry Regiment (Thailand)

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21st Infantry Regiment, Queen Sirikit's Guard
กรมทหารราบที่ 21 รักษาพระองค์
ในนสมเด็จพระนางเจ้าสิริกิติ์ พระบรมราชินีนาถ พระบรมราชชนนีพันปีหลวง
Emblem of the 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen's Guard.svg
Emblem of the 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen Sirikit's Guard
Branch Royal Thai Army
TypeElite forces
King's Guard
Mechanized infantry
Part ofEmblem of the 2nd Infantry Division, Queen's Guard.svg 2nd Infantry Division
Garrison/HQChonburi, Thailand
Nickname(s)Thahan Suea Rachini
(ทหารเสือราชินี, the queen's tiger soldiers)
MarchWe-Infantry Regiment 21
DecorationsOrder of Rama 5th Class ribbon.svg
The Rama Medal for Gallantry in Action[1]

Bravery Medal (Thailand) ribbon.svg
Bravery Medal (2nd Battalion)[2]

Streamer KPUC.PNG
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation[3]

The 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen Sirikit's Guard (Thai: กรมทหารราบที่ 21 รักษาพระองค์ ในสมเด็จพระนางเจ้าสิริกิติ์ พระบรมราชินีนาถ พระบรมราชชนนีพันปีหลวง) (ร.21 รอ.) is an elite force King's Guard regiment under the 2nd Infantry Division, Queen Sirikit's Guard of the Royal Thai Army. They are trained like special operations forces. The regiment was created in 1950. It is known as the Queen's Guard or Thahan Suea Rachini (Thai: ทหารเสือราชินี, translated as "Queen's Tiger Soldiers"). It is sometimes referred to as the "Eastern Tigers".[4] The regiment is based in Chonburi.


Thai Battalion in the Korean War (1950–1953)

The 1st Infantry Battalion of the 21st Regimental Combat Team[5] was formed on 22 September 1950 by the regent, Rangsit Prayurasakdi, under executive of Prime Minister Plaek Phibunsongkhram, at the request of United Nations Command.[6] Its purpose was to help the US-led UN troops fight the Korean People's Army and the Chinese People's Volunteers in the Korean War. Keeping the justice and the peace of the world was the founding mission of this order.[7] After the war, on 1 August 1955, the group was transferred into Bangkok area.[6]

On 1 August 1959, it changed a status to the 1st Infantry Battalion of 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen Sirikit's Guard, and on 31 July 1968, moved the base to the Fort Nawamintharachini at Chonburi Province. On 1 October 2011, its unit strength changed from a three infantry battalion to a one mechanized infantry battalion and two elites infantry battalion.



The regiment is composed of three subordinate units: the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Infantry Battalions.

  • 1st Infantry Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen's Guard
  • 2nd Infantry Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen's Guard
  • 3rd Infantry Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen's Guard


  • Rajchawanlop hat with black tuft with the royal cypher of the queen.
  • Purple woolen top with black woolen mane embroidered with the queen's cypher on the wrist.
  • Black woolen trousers with two purple stripes per side.



Trainee must be serve in the 21st Regiment Queen's Guard or be permitted by the Royal Thai Army to attend the training.

Training content[edit]

The Queen's Tigers run a training course every two years. Its duration is 23 weeks.

  • Physical and mental conditioning in preparation for the next phase (5 weeks): This phase focuses on basic abseiling, bomb disposal, counterterrorism, fast tactical shooting, first aid, intelligence collection, marksmanship, parachuting, small unit, tactical diving, and use a map and compass. Hand and Arm Signals. Hand-to-hand combat. Learn the languages of neighboring countries. NBCR on operations in contaminated environments. Physical exercises. Swimming. Only those who passing this phase move to the next phase.
  • Forest and mountain training (4 weeks): This phase focuses on infiltration by air and ground. Abseiling, counter-ambushes, exfil, forward observer, guerrilla warfare, infiltrate the area with a helicopter, jungle warfare, living off the jungle, mountain warfare, raiding tactics, reconnaissance tactics, riding a horse, small unit tactics, tactical emergency medical services, tracking tactics, use a map and compass, and unconventional tactics.
  • Sea phase (3 weeks): Water infiltration and tactical diving. Amphibious reconnaissance, amphibious warfare, coastal patrolling, helocasting, living off the sea, parachuting into water, and underwater diving.
  • Urban phase (5 weeks): Characteristics and choice of explosives and the amount and mode of use to minimize collateral damage, climbing in different situations using ropes, combat and patrolling techniques in urban areas, counterterrorism, CQB and CQC, fast-roping, hostage rescue, reconnaissance in urban areas, tactical shooting the PPC, tactical use of motorbikes, urban warfare, usage of explosives in the presence of hostages, use of explosives and other techniques for breaking doors, and use ladders climbing.
  • Air phase (6 weeks): Parachuting, parachute packing and problem solving.

Award for completion[edit]

Those who successfully complete the tiger training course receive a military capabilities plate from the queen. The metal plate is decorated with a purple heart and the queen's cypher. The lower part is a blue ribbon contain the honorific "Tiger Soldier". To both sides of the purple heart are tigers soaring above mountains, waves, and clouds.


  • Collect intelligence in a special gathering manner.
  • Counter-sabotage and riot control.
  • Counterterrorism and hostage rescue.
  • Create masses in the infiltration area.
  • Operating behind enemy lines.
  • Protection of The Royal Family and VIP.
  • Spearheaded the combat in battlefield.
  • Suppress insurgents in all terrains by infiltrating air, land, and water.

Political influence[edit]

In the 1990s, according to one academic, "...the Eastern Tigers amassed considerable wealth by trading gems with Cambodian Khmer Rouge insurgents based along the two countries' border, a racket which 'directly benefited'... some of its commanders. Within a decade, the Eastern Tigers dominated the Thai military."[4] The Queen's Guard have since had an inordinate influence on Thai politics. Former Queen's Guard commanders led the May 2014 Thai coup d'état that toppled the elected government.[8][4]

Thai military junta , leader of the 2014 Thai coup d'état, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha also started his military career at 21st Infantry Regiment in 1990, which is granted Royal Guards status as the Queen's Guards. In 2002, Prayut served as a deputy commanding general in the 2nd Infantry Division, becoming its commanding general one year later.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Decorations" (PDF) (in Thai). Royal Thai Government Gazette. 27 July 1983.
  2. ^ "Decorations" (PDF) (in Thai). Royal Thai Government Gazette. 1 June 1976.
  3. ^ "Decorations" (PDF) (in Thai). Royal Thai Government Gazette. 10 August 1954.
  4. ^ a b c Strangio, Sebastian (21 May 2015). "The Strongman of Siam". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Soldier Vocabulary" (PDF). Inspector General Department (in Thai). Royal Thai Army. Retrieved 11 December 2021.
  6. ^ a b c "History of the Little Tiger". myhome211.com (in Thai). 1st Infantry Battalion 21st Infantry Regiment. Archived from the original on 15 July 2013.
  7. ^ "Army for War" (PDF) (in Thai). Royal Thai Government Gazette. 22 September 1950.
  8. ^ Chachavalpongpun, Pavin (19 July 2015). "A Thai House Divided" (Opinion). New York Times. Retrieved 28 December 2017.
  9. ^ Pongsudhirak, Thitinan (2010). "Meaning and implications of general's rise". Bangkok Post.

External links[edit]