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Apirat Kongsompong (Thai: อภิรัชต์ คงสมพงษ์; RTGSAphirat Khongsomphong; born 23 March 1960) is the Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army effective 1 October 2018[1]. He previously served as Assistant Commander in Chief from October 2017 to September 2018 and the Commanding General of the 1st Army Area[2] from October 2016 to September 2017. General Apirat Kongsompong also serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Government Lottery Office,[3] and was formerly an Independent Director at Bangchak Petroleum Public Co.,[4][5][6] and a member of the National Legislative Assembly.[7]

Apirat Kongsompong
อภิรัชต์ คงสมพงษ์
อภิรัชต์ คงสมพงษ์.jpg
Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army
Assumed office
1 October 2018
Preceded byChalermchai Sitthisart
Assistant Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army
In office
1 October 2017 – 30 September 2018
Preceded byPreecha Chan-o-cha
Thirachai Nakwanich
Succeeded byKukiat Srinaka
Vichak Siribansop
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Government Lottery Office
In office
1 May 2015 – 10 May 2019
Member of National Legislative Assembly
In office
27 September 2014 – 21 May 2019
Personal details
Born (1960-03-23) March 23, 1960 (age 59)
Bangkok, Thailand
Spouse(s)Associate Professor Kritika Kongsompong, Ph.D.
Alma materNational Defence College
Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy
Military service
AllegianceThailand
Branch/serviceRoyal Security Command Royal Thai Army
Years of service1985 - present
RankGeneral
CommandsCommander in Chief
Assistant Commander in Chief
Commanding General of the 1st Army Area
Commanding General of 1st Corps
Deputy Commanding General of 1st Army Area
Commanding General of the 1st Division, King's Guard
Commanding General of the 15th Military Circle
Commanding General of the 11th Infantry Division
Commander of the 11th Infantry Regiment, King's Guard
Battles/warsCommunist insurgency in Thailand
South Thailand insurgency

Early lifeEdit

Apirat was born in Bangkok on 23 March 1960. He is the eldest son of General Sunthorn Kongsompong, the former Supreme Commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, and Khunying Orachorn Kongsompong. He completed his primary and part of secondary education at St. Gabriel's College. He later attended the Armed Forces Academies Preparatory School (Class 20) and went on to attend Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy (Class 31) where he graduated in 1985.

EducationEdit

CareerEdit

General Apirat received a commission as an army officer upon graduation from Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy in 1985. He served as a pilot at the Army Aviation Center at the beginning of his military career. He completed UH-1H Maintenance/Test Pilot Training at Fort Eustis, Virginia, USA. He also completed the AH-1H (Cobra) Pilot Training Course at Fort Rucker, Alabama, USA. Apirat is also a graduate of Infantry Officer Advanced Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, USA. In October 1990, Apirat was appointed Assistant Logistics Officer at the Royal Thai Army Defense Attache Office in Washington D.C.

General Apirat commanded 2nd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment, King's Guard in Bangkok. He went on to command 11th Infantry Regiment King's Guard.[8][9] He served as the Commanding General of 11th Infantry Division in Chachoengsao Province. He went on to serve as the Commanding General of 15th Military Circle in Petchaburi Province. Apirat commanded 1st Division, King's Guard[10][11] in Bangkok. He was later appointed the Commanding General of 1st Corps in 2015. In 2016, General Apirat was appointed the Commanding General of the 1st Army Area.[12][13][14][15]

Apirat's key staff assignments include Combat Intelligence Assistant Staff Officer, 1st Division, King's Guard; Assistant Director of Planning Section, 1st Corps; Civil Affairs Staff Officer, 1st Division, King's Guard; Chief of Staff, 11th Infantry Regiment, King's Guard; Executive Officer, 11th Infantry Regiment, King's Guard; Division Chief of Staff, 1st Division, King's Guard; Deputy Commanding General, 1st Division, King's Guard; and Deputy Commanding General, 1st Army Area.

Apirat's deployment experience includes anti-communist operations in 1986. He served as the Commander of Task Force 14 which conducted counter-insurgency operations in Yala Province in 2004.

Apirat is associated with the military clique Wong Thewan, in turn associated with the 1st Division, the King's Guard.[1] While Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his deputy, Prawit Wongsuwon are members of the rival 2nd Division clique, Burapha Phayak ('tigers of the east'), Apirat is known to have close ties with them.[1]

Barely a month into his tenure as army chief, Apirat created a media firestorm with his comments on the necessity for military intervention in Thai politics should turmoil surface.[16][17][18]

In October 2019, Apriat warned in a speech to military officers, policemen, and uniformed students that, "Propaganda in Thailand is severe and worrying. There is a group of communists who still have ideas to overthrow the monarchy, to turn Thailand to communism..."[19][20] His performance prompted the Bangkok Post to remark, "It was 'a lecture' that should never have been given by any army chief, for its combination of accusations against 'the left' and young people, and sensational and biased political messages."[21][22]

Awards and decorationsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Nanuam, Wassana (3 September 2018). "Army reshuffle sees loyalists appointed". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  2. ^ Coups and Plots in Thailand
  3. ^ PM appoints Apirat Kongsompong as the new GLO chief
  4. ^ ประวัติกรรมการบริษัท บางจากปิโตรเลียม จำกัด (มหาชน)
  5. ^ Business Leaders (Apirat Kongsompong, MBA)
  6. ^ Board of Directors
  7. ^ http://www.ratchakitcha.soc.go.th/DATA/PDF/2560/D/023/16.PDF
  8. ^ Two soldiers
  9. ^ "Show of strength to protect monarchy". Archived from the original on 2017-10-25. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
  10. ^ Military top brass transfers imply the future of Thai politics
  11. ^ โปรดเกล้าฯโยกย้าย203นายทหารแล้ว
  12. ^ Thai military maneuvers to stay on top
  13. ^ 1st Army Area Royal Thai Army Visit
  14. ^ Royal Thai Army visits I Corps
  15. ^ Royal Thai Army visits I Corps, learns all about Strykers
  16. ^ Achakulwisut, Apinya (23 October 2018). "Army at the centre of our vicious circle" (Opinion). Bangkok Post. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  17. ^ "The CURSE of an Army always ready to pounce" (Opinion). The Nation. 23 October 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  18. ^ Ehrlich, Richard S (22 October 2018). "Thai military leader's plan for regime election loss: Unleash coup to quell 'riots'". Washington Times. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  19. ^ Tanakasempipat, Patpicha (11 October 2019). "Thai army chief decries opposition, hints at threat to monarchy". Reuters. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  20. ^ Nanuam, Wassana (11 October 2019). "Army chief: Monarchy, military, people inseparable". Bangkok Post. Reuters. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  21. ^ "Apirat speech sends chill" (Opinion). Bangkok Post. 12 October 2019. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  22. ^ Wangkiat, Paritta (14 October 2019). "Apirat out of touch with modern reality" (Opinion). Bangkok Post. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  23. ^ http://www.ratchakitcha.soc.go.th/DATA/PDF/2560/B/047/1.PDF ราชกิจจานุเบกษา เล่ม ๑๓๔ ตอน ๔๗ ข หน้า ๑ ๒๘ กันยายน ๒๕๖๐
  24. ^ ราชกิจจานุเบกษา, ประกาศสำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง พระราชทานเครื่องราชอิสริยาภรณ์จุลจอมเกล้า ในวโรกาสพระราชพิธีฉัตรมงคล พ.ศ. 2546, เล่ม 120, ตอนที่ 9 ข, 4 พฤษภาคม 2546, หน้า 3.
Military offices
Preceded by
Chalermchai Sitthisart
Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Army
2018–present
Incumbent