Pfc. helps to bridge language gap in Thailand

| February 24, 2011 | 0 Comments
Pfc. Ativut Son (left), utilities equipment repairer, 71st Chem. Co., 8th MP Bde., 8th TSC, is attached to 3rd Bn., 509th Parachute Inf. Regt., 4th BCT, 25th ID, for Cobra Gold 2011, and interprets the instructions of a Thai jungle expert on edible plants during a survival class for U.S. paratroopers at the Special Warfare School, in Thailand.

Pfc. Ativut Son (left), utilities equipment repairer, 71st Chem. Co., 8th MP Bde., 8th TSC, is attached to 3rd Bn., 509th Parachute Inf. Regt., 4th BCT, 25th ID, for Cobra Gold 2011, and interprets the instructions of a Thai jungle expert on edible plants during a survival class for U.S. paratroopers at the Special Warfare School, in Thailand.

Story and Photo by
Staff Sgt. Matthew E. Winstead
Army News Service 

 

CAMP ERAWAN, Thailand — One Soldier stands out from all the rest who are working to bridge the language gap between Thai and U.S. leadership at Cobra Gold 2011.

Pfc. Ativut Son, utilities equipment repairer, 71st Chemical Company, 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, was recently attached to the 3rd Battalion, 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, to work as an interpreter.

Son is fluent in both Thai and English and has been assisting communication efforts between the Thai and U.S. leaders.

“This is my first time to do anything like this for the Army,” Son said. “I’ve only been in the Army for about 15 months, so all of this is kind of new to me, but it’s nice to visit Thailand again. I’m getting a lot of experiences here … I don’t think I would have gotten if I wasn’t selected to do this.”

Son’s chain of command picked him to assist U.S. forces training with the Royal Thai army’s 3-31st Infantry Regiment, King’s Guard. The private first class helps to interpret for both U.S. and Thai instructors.

“What makes my job really easy is the fact that the Thai and American Army are already so similar in what they do, so explaining things isn’t all that hard,” Son said. “(They both) are pretty much already on the same page, even with the language differences. I just fill in the details.”

Keeping the two forces working closely together is at the very heart of Cobra Gold 2011, and Son’s leaders say he’s been an important communications link.

“Son has done an outstanding job in getting the point across for both sides,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Connie Rounds, command sergeant major, 3rd Bn., 509th Parachute Inf. Regt., 4th BCT. “He’s done his job well.”

Son expects to simply go back to his regularly assigned duties when he returns to his home base in Hawaii.

“I think I’ve gotten a little spoiled back here; I have to go back to just being a (private first class) again when I go back,” Son said.

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Category: Army News Service, Exercises, News

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