Making the Queen’s Cobras
This chapter discusses the creation of the Queen's Cobra Regiment, a special combat regiment Thailand would be sending to South Vietnam. In making the Queen's Cobra Regiment, Thailand's government and military leaders sought to construct a formidable military unit and a potent national symbol. They chose not to throw together existing army units to make a patchwork regiment, even though doing so would have been a less costly and simpler logistical exercise. Instead they chose to build a special unit from scratch. This meant that they had to recruit, retrain, and deploy the unit in a relatively short time. The finished regiment would serve its military purpose when it was deployed to South Vietnam, but, more importantly, in the meantime the process of its creation would give the Thai government numerous opportunities to promote its policy for fighting homegrown communists and to rally wary or indifferent citizens behind the policy.
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