Lt Gen Piyawat Nakwanich is to remain as Fourth Army Region commander after opting not to be promoted to full general in the upcoming mid-year reshuffle, according to an army source.
The reshuffle lists, which involve more than 300 senior armed forces officers, have reached Supreme Commander Thanchaiyan Srisuwan and are expected to be submitted to Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon on Friday before being forwarded to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for approval on March 9.
The source added that while the mid-year military reshuffle, which takes effect on April 1, is a limited one, it typically offers promotion chances for many senior officers before they retire at the end of September when the major reshuffle takes place.
One of the biggest names originally thought to be in the mix for mid-year promotions was Fourth Army Region chief Lt Gen Piyawat Nakwanich. He was expected to become a full general, which would have cost him his Fourth Army Region command. The post is for lieutenant generals only.
The source said Lt Gen Piyawat asked the army chief if he could stay on as the southern regional commander and his request was approved.
He said he wanted to remain in command until he retires at the end of September to finish the work he started to deradicalise locals indoctrinated by insurgents in the far South and bring them back into the fold.
“Most officers might want the four stars before they retire, for the honour of it all. But for me, I’d prefer to keep this part of the country [the South] safe until I retire,” Lt Gen Piyawat said.
He insisted he would work hard to fulfil his objective, which is that “no one would be left behind”, a reference to residents being deradicalised.
The source said Gen Prawit and the army chief both agreed to allow Lt Gen Piyawat to remain as the region’s commander until his mandatory retirement in seven months. Lt Gen Piyawat will have served a full two years in the post by the end of September.
For the navy, two candidates have emerged for the post of Royal Thai Marine Corps (RTMC) commander in the upcoming reshuffle, according to a military source.
Incumbent chief VAdm Rattana Wongsaroj is likely to become a special adviser to the navy and be promoted to admiral.
The two candidates thought to be in the running as his replacements are Rear Adm Sangkorn Pongsiri and Rear Adm Noppadol Panyachom. Both are currently RTMC deputy chiefs.