Army looks to fill elite female unit
PATTANI: More than 1,000 women are competing to become one of 15 new army rangers to restore peace in the deep South.
A total of 1,077 applicants sat for the ranger’s physical exam yesterday, said Maj Gen Kriangkrai Sirak, deputy chief of the 4th Army, during his visit to the Ingkhayutthaborihan military camp in Nong Chik district, where the test took place.
Successful candidates will be recruited into an all-female ranger unit under the 4th Army, Maj Gen Kriangkrai said.
Initially, 1,261 people aged between 18-30 applied to sit for yesterday’s exam, but only 1,077 turned up for it, said Col Khomkrit Rattanachaya, chief of the army’s ranger force in the southern border provinces.
Only 135 will be shortlisted after the exam yesterday before a second exam on Tuesday will help select 15 successful candidates, he said, noting 45 people will be put on a waiting list in case some back out.
Applicants with a degree in law will be given special attention in the recruitment process, Col Khomkrit said, adding two candidates with a master’s degree in engineering said they were keen to become rangers working near the southern border.
Ruzmina Denudom, a resident of Pattani, said she trained every day before attending yesterday’s exam as she raised her fitness levels to help ensure she passed.
Ms Ruzmina said the work of female military rangers in the deep South is challenging, and not something to fear.
Amphon Rotnut, who travelled from Surin for the exam, said she would feel proud if she became one of the 15 successful candidates.
Her family supports her ambition to serve in the female army ranger unit, she said, adding she believes this is a good opportunity for her to help villagers affected by ongoing unrest in the South.
Soldiers guide a potential recruit during her physical examination yesterday.