Royal Thai Marine Corps

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Royal Thai Marine Corps
Emblem of the Royal Thai Marines.svg
Founded1959; 60 years ago (1959)
Country Thailand
Branch Royal Thai Navy
TypeMarines Combined arms
RoleAmphibious warfare
Part ofEmblem of the Ministry of Defence of Thailand.svg Royal Thai Armed Forces
Flag of the Royal Thai Navy.svg Royal Thai Navy
Garrison/HQRTMC headquarters, Sattahip, Chonburi, Thailand
Nickname(s)นย. ("Nor Yor") Marines
Motto(s)กาย ใจ ชีวิต มอบเป็นราชพลี
เป็น นย. สักครั้งไซร้ จักฝังหฤทัยจนวายปราณ (Once a Marine, Always a Marine)
นำดี ตามดี (The Few,The Proud)
(Royal Thai Marine Corps march)
AnniversariesJuly 30
Commandant of the Marine Corps.Vice Admiral. Ronnarong Sittinan
Flag of the Commander of the Marine CorpsFlag Commander of the Royal Thai Marine Corps.svg
Thai marine royal guards (full dress) in the procession in the royal cremation of HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana

The Royal Thai Marine Corps or RTMC (Thai: ราชนาวิกโยธินแห่งราชอาณาจักรไทย) are the marines of the Royal Thai Navy. The Royal Thai Marine Corps was founded in 1932, when the first battalion was formed with the assistance of the United States Marine Corps. It was expanded to a regiment in 1940 and was in action against communist guerrillas throughout the 1950s and 1960s. During the 1960s the United States Marine Corps assisted in its expansion into a brigade. The Royal Thai Marine Corps saw action on the Malaysian border in the 1970s, and has now been increased to four brigades.


Historically, there was no distinction in Siam between soldiers and marines, with the army performing both functions. The first "Thahan Ma-Rine", meaning "Marine Soldiers", were formed in 1833, during the reign of King Rama III. "Ma-Rine" was simply a transliteration of the English word. The development of the modern Thai Marine Corps can be divided into three periods:

Early years[edit]

The Marine Soldiers of the 19th and early 20th centuries were few in number and served mainly as a royal honor guard that provided security for the King whenever he traveled around the country.

On March 2, 1913, however, the Ministry of the Navy reorganized the Marine Soldiers. The Marine artillery platoon was attached to the Operation Command Department of Ships and Fortresses, while the Marine infantry platoon in Bangkok was attached to the Vehicle Division of the Department of the Navy Amphibious Assault Group.

The Revolution in 1932 transformed Thailand from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Shortly after, the Royal Thai Navy was reorganized, and the vehicle battalion became the Marine Corps Battalion of the Bangkok Navy Station. This is considered the first Marine Corps Battalion in Thailand.

Post–1932 Revolution (1932–1955)[edit]

The 2nd Marine Corps Battalion was established at Sattahip in 1937. Two years later, the 2nd Battalion was expanded into the Marine Corps Department. Shortly after that, a border dispute with French Indo-China turned violent, and the Marine Corps Department's "Chanthaburi Division" was engaged in action with the French Foreign Legion several times. During World War II, the Marine Corps sent troops to defend the southern border with Malaya and also guarded Phuket Province from possible attack.

After Imperial Japan's surrender in September 1945, Thai Marines helped disarm the Japanese Army at Baan Pong District in Ratchaburi Province. In 1950, when violence in Malaysia spilled over into Thailand, Marine Corps Troop 6 was sent to help restore the peace in Narathiwat Province.

Surprisingly, on June 29, 1951, the Thai government disbanded the Marine Corps Bureau, and the Marines were distributed into naval units. However, this was during the Korean War, and both the United States Military and the Royal Thai Navy urged Thailand to reconsider.

New Age (1955–present)[edit]

Royal Thai Marines storm ashore from a U.S. Navy Landing Craft Air Cushioned during an amphibious raid event of exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training in 2004
Royal Thai Marines storm ashore in an amphibious assault vehicle in 2007
Royal Thai Marine Corps and U.S. Marines discuss how to eliminate hostile forces firing on them from a building during a mock mechanized raid on Feb. 11 2011

Four years later, the Thai Government acknowledged that a Marine Corps could perform a useful role in national defense. On July 30, 1955, the government created the Marine Corps Department. In 1961, tensions flared over the disputed Preah Vihear Temple, situated on the Thai side of a high cliff on the Cambodian border but shown on French maps as being in the Cambodia. The Chanthaburi and Trat borders with Cambodia gave the Marine Corps Department its first assignment, safeguarding the coastline and southeastern border. Since 1970 the Marine Corps' Chanthaburi-Trat Task Force has been officially assigned the defense of this area.

During 1972 and 1973, Thai Marines were involved in the "Sam-Chai" anti-communist operations in Phetchabun Province and the "Pha-Phum" anti-communist operations in Chiang Rai Province. In 1973 and 1974, they took part in anti-communist operations in the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.

Since 1975, Thai Marines have been assigned to Narathiwat as Marine Corps special forces. In 1977, they captured the communist camp at Krung-Ching in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, and remaining there until 1981.

Thai Marines today are responsible for border security in Chanthaburi and Trat provinces. They have fought communist insurgents in engagements at Baan Hard Lek, Baan Koat Sai, Baan Nhong Kok, Baan Kradook Chang, Baan Chumrark, and in the battle of Hard Don Nai in Nakhon Phanom Province.

Many Thai Marines have lost their lives serving their country, and they continue to do so today, especially in the southern border provinces currently affected by the South Thailand insurgency. A monument to their valor stands at the Royal Thai Navy base at Sattahip.

United Nations Peacekeeping Operations[edit]

  • 1st Combat Engineer Company in Iraq
  • 1st Combat Engineer Company in Burundi
  • 1st Force Reconnaissance Company in Sudan
  • 1st Armored Company in Sudan


Royal Thai Marine Corps Headquarters[edit]

  • Royal Thai Marine Corps Education Command
  • RTMC: Marine Division
    • RTMC: 1st Marine Regiment
      • RTMC: 1st Infantry Battalion King's Guard
      • RTMC: 2nd Infantry Battalion
      • RTMC: 3rd Infantry Battalion
    • RTMC: 2nd Marine Regiment
      • RTMC: 4th Infantry Battalion
      • RTMC: 5th Infantry Battalion
      • RTMC: 6th Infantry Battalion
    • RTMC: 3rd Marine Regiment
      • RTMC: 7th Infantry Battalion
      • RTMC: 8th Infantry Battalion
      • RTMC: 9th Infantry Battalion King's Guard
    • RTMC: Marine Artillery Regiment
      • RTMC: 1st Artillery Battalion
      • RTMC: 2nd Artillery Battalion
      • RTMC: Air Defense Artillery Battalion
      • RTMC: 4th Artillery Battalion
    • RTMC: Marine Service Support Regiment
      • RTMC: Medical Battalion
      • RTMC: Dental Battalion
      • RTMC: Maintenance Battalion
      • RTMC: Transport Battalion
      • RTMC: Marine Assault Amphibious Vehicle Support Company
      • RTMC: Marine Band Platoon
    • RTMC: Marine Assault Amphibious Vehicle Battalion
    • RTMC: Marine Reconnaissance Battalion (Force Recon Marine/Marine Special Force)
    • RTMC: Marine Tank Battalion
    • RTMC: Marine Combat Engineer Battalion
    • RTMC: Marine Signals Battalion
    • RTMC: Marine Military Police Company
  • RTMC: Marine Security Regiment
  • RTMC: Marine Psychological Company
  • RTMC: Marine Task Forces


Rank structure[edit]

Personnel of the RTMC use the uniform, ranks and insignia used by the personnel of the Royal Thai Navy, but with exceptions, such as:

  • Personnel of the RTMC wear combat helmets as part of their ceremonial uniforms instead of sailor caps or peaked caps (except officers who wear peaked caps)
  • Usually, Marines wear naval style insignia on the chest marks in their combat uniforms


NATO Code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 Student Officer
RTN OF-10 (Admiral of the Fleet).svg RTN OF-9 (Admiral).svg RTN OF-8 (Vice Admiral).svg RTN OF-7 (Rear Admiral).svg RTN OF-6 (Commodore).svg RTN OF-5 (Captain).svg RTN OF-4 (Commander).svg RTN OF-3 (Lieutenant Commander).svg RTN OF-2 (Lieutenant).svg RTN OF-1b (Lieutenant Junior Grade).svg RTN OF-1a (Sub-Lieutenant).svg
Thai title จอมพลเรือ พลเรือเอก พลเรือโท พลเรือตรี พลเรือจัตวา นาวาเอก นาวาโท นาวาตรี เรือเอก เรือโท เรือตรี นักเรียนนายเรือ
RTGS Chom Phon Ruea Phon Ruea Ek Phon Ruea Tho Phon Ruea Tri Phon Ruea Jattawa Nawa Ek Nawa Tho Nawa Tri Ruea Ek Ruea Tho Ruea Tri Nak Rian Nai Ruea
Anglicised version Admiral of the Fleet Admiral Vice Admiral Rear Admiral Commodore
(no longer used)
(Senior Captain)[3]
Captain Commander Lieutenant Commander Lieutenant Lieutenant Junior Grade Sub Lieutenant Midshipman
Abbreviation[4] - พล.ร.อ.
UK equivalent Admiral of the Fleet Admiral Vice Admiral Rear Admiral Commodore Captain Commander Lieutenant Commander Lieutenant Sub-Lieutenant Acting Sub-Lieutenant Midshipman

Naval Officers will additionally add the post-nominal ร.น. as an abbreviation for ราชนาวี (râat-chá-naa-wee, literally "the Royal Navy").


NATO Code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-1
RTN OR-9 (Chief Petty Officer 1st Class).svg RTN OR-9 (Chief Petty Officer 1st Class).svg RTN OR-8 (Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class).svg RTN OR-7 (Chief Petty Officer 3rd Class).svg RTN OR-5 (Petty Officer 1st Class).svg RTN OR-4 (Petty Officer 2nd Class).svg RTN OR-3 (Petty Officer 3rd Class).svg No insignia
Thai title พันจ่าเอกพิเศษ พันจ่าเอก พันจ่าโท พันจ่าตรี จ่าเอก จ่าโท จ่าตรี พลทหาร
RTGS Phan Cha Ek Phiset[5] Phan Cha Ek Phan Cha Tho Phan Cha Tri Cha Ek Cha Tho Cha Tri Phon Thahan
Anglicised version Master Chief Petty Officer Senior Chief Petty Officer Chief Petty Officer Petty Officer
1st Class
Petty Officer
2nd Class
Petty Officer
3rd Class
Seaman Seaman apprentice
Abbreviation[6] พ.จ.อ.(พ.)
UK equivalent - Warrant Officer Class One Warrant Officer Class Two Chief Petty Officer Petty Officer Leading Rate Able Rate Ordinary Rate


Small arms[edit]

Name Type Caliber Origin Notes
M16A1/A2/A3 Assault rifle 5.56x45mm  United States Standard marine rifle.
M4A1/A3 Assault rifle 5.56x45mm  United States Standard marine rifle.
CAR-15 Carbine 5.56×45mm NATO  USA
Colt AR-15 Carbine 5.56×45mm NATO  USA
Bushmaster M4 Carbine 5.56×45mm NATO  USA Used By Special forces.
IWI Tavor Assault rifle 5.56x45mm  Israel Standard marine rifle.
IWI X95 Assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO  Israel
IWI ACE Assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO  Israel
IWI Galil Assault rifle 5.56×45mm NATO  Israel Used in small numbers.
G36C Assault rifle 5.56x45mm  Germany Used by recon.
G36KV Assault rifle 5.56x45mm  Germany Used by SEALs.
CQ M-311 Assault rifle 5.56x45mm  China
SIG Sauer SIG516 Assault rifle 5.56x45mm  USA
Used by SEALs.
Sako Defence Tikka Sniper rifle 5.56x45mm/.338 Lapua  Finland
M249 Light machine gun 5.56x45mm  United States
M60 General-purpose machine gun 7.62x51mm  United States
M2 Browning Heavy machine gun 12.7x99mm  United States

Rocket, grenade, and missile systems[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
M203 Grenade launcher ?  United States
Armbrust Anti-tank weapon ?  Germany
M47 Dragon Anti-Tank Guided Missile ?  United States
BGM-71 TOW Anti-Tank Guided Missile ?  United States Use in Humvee.
M40A2 Recoilless rifle ?  United States
QW-18 MANPAD ?  China

Armoured fighting vehicles[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
Type 69-ll Main battle tank 5  China
AAV-7A1 Armoured personnel carrier 36  United States Variants include: AAVP-7A1, AAVC-7A1, AAVR-7A1.
BTR-3E1 Armoured personnel carrier 12  Ukraine/ Thailand
V-150 Commando Armoured car 24  United States
DTI Black Widow Spider Armoured personnel carrier 5  Thailand

Utility vehicles and prime movers[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
Humvee Utility vehicle ?  United States RTMC use M998,M1097A2,M997,M1025,M1045A2,M966.
M151 Utility vehicle ?  United States RTMC use M151A2, M151A2 mounting TOW,M718A1,M825.
M813 Prime Mover ?  United States RTMC use M54A2,M543A2.
M35 2-1/2 ton cargo truck Prime Mover ?  United States RTMC use M35A2,M50A2,M49A2,M109A2.
Isuzu Prime Mover ?  Japan/ Thailand RTMC use SBR,TXD 4x2,TSD 4x4,TWD 6x6,HTW,FTR 4x4.

Field artillery[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
GC-45 howitzer 155 mm towed howitzer 12  Austria
GHN-45 A1 APU howitzer 155 mm towed howitzer 6  Austria
M101A1 mod 105 mm towed howitzer 6  United States Improve the Nexter LG1 caliber.
M101A1 105 mm towed howitzer 30  United States
M120 mortar 120 mm mortar ?  Israel
M29A1 mortar 81 mm mortar ?  United States
M19 mortar 60 mm mortar ?  United States
M224 mortar 60 mm mortar ?  United States

History equipment[edit]

Armoured fighting vehicles[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
LVT Amphibious vehicle 16  United States
M3 Half-track Half-track armored personnel carrier 12+  United States

Field artillery[edit]

Name Type Quantity Origin Notes
M1A1 75mm Pack Howitzer 16+  United States

In popular culture[edit]

  • Mercury Man is a 2006 Thai superhero martial arts action film. It is directed by Bhandit Thongdee with martial arts choreography by Panna Rittikrai of Ong-Bak, Tom-Yum-Goong and Born to Fight. Thai marines is control Afghan terrorist group in movies.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ The Senior Colonel or Special Colonel is equivalent to a one star General. This is not an actual rank in the Royal Thai Army, but special recognition given to officers of equivalent rank in other countries and on paper. The Senior Colonel will wear the rank-slides of a Colonel, but with a collar insignia showing a crossed baton and sword with wreath below (similar to Chom Phon rank slide). In the same way, the Royal Thai Navy has a "Senior Captain" or a "Special Captain in the Royal Thai Navy" and the RTAF has a "Senior Group Captain" or a "Special Group Captain in The Royal Thai Airforce", with similar collar insignia of both services.
  4. ^ [1], คำสั่งกระทรวงกลาโหมที่ ๓๑๐/๒๕๕๗ เรื่องการใช้คำภาษาอังกฤษยศทหารของกระทรวงกลาโหม.
  5. ^ The "Special Master Sergeant 1st Class" is an honorary rank given to senior enlisted members who are deserving of recognition above and beyond that of the highest enlisted rank. There is no difference in the rank insignia worn, and they do not 'outrank' the normal Master Sergeant 1st Class, although in a group situation they will normally be assign control. They receive a higher salary. In the same way, the RTN has a "Special Chief Petty Officer 1st Class" and the RTAF has a "Special Flight Sergeant 1st Class".
  6. ^ [2], คำสั่งกระทรวงกลาโหมที่ ๓๑๐/๒๕๕๗ เรื่องการใช้คำภาษาอังกฤษยศทหารของกระทรวงกลาโหม.

External links[edit]