Thank You for Your Service
BY DI SNEDDON
Lt. Col Richard Thapthimthong and his wife, Erin, and their four children left their posting at the Australian School of Infantry in Singleton this week for Lt. Col Thapthimthong to take on a new role at Canberra.
They left having enjoyed a community that had welcomed them, respected them and appreciated their commitment to the people who train here, live here, work here and the broader community.
On base, the young soldiers who train at Lone Pine and those desiring specialist training for recruitment have developed because of strong leadership and guidance.
It has been a significant year for the Australian School of Infantry.
In October 1973 the Infantry Centre moved from Ingleburn to Singleton and this year marked the 50th anniversary of Infantry Training in Singleton.
During early 1994 the title Infantry Centre was dropped and the title School of Infantry adopted. The School provides training to at least 25 per cent of the Australian Army at Singleton.
Lt. Col Thapthimthong said it was a privilege to lead the soldiers during the Freedom Of Entry March on March 17 to mark the School’s 50th year in Singleton.
For the sixth time since the School came to Singleton, a Freedom of Entry was carried out. It is the most prestigious honour a town can pay upon any defence force.
Lt. Col Thapthimthong was instrumental in supplying the necessary support efforts after the impacts of serious flooding at Broke, has supported Legacy Badge Week, Anzac Day, Remeberance and Vietnam Veterans Day to name a few and ensured the judging of the Hunter Valley Wine Show happened without a hiccup.
The School of Infantry was inducted into the Singleton Wambo Hall of Fame in 2023 in recognition of its long association with the township.
While living in Singleton Erin established her speech therapy business, Think Do Speak and her business has been very successful and awarded an outstanding business award at the Singleton Business Awards.
Lt. Col Thapthimthong established his jujitsu business, encouraging fitness and wellbeing among his many participants.
Last Friday’s dinner, a Dine In, was formal and conducted with military precision. Lt. Col Thapthimthong thanked those he worked alongside recognising the importance of the training and the broad support offered in the background that is absolutely essential to the School’s success.
What has been achieved at the School goes without saying but what the family have given to the community cannot be understated.
Appointment to Commanding Officer of the Australian Army School of Infantry is a massive responsibility.
This time around it was delivered by not one man but a family and an incredibly capable and committed Army personnel.
Words expressed on the evening by Lt. Col Dave Evangelidis were of appreciation and the inspiration and aspiration he offered all who have worked by his side.
A salute to you Lt. Col Thapthimthong and massive expressions of love and gratitude to your family.
You have all left a memorable legacy here in Singleton and we all wish you success and hope to see you back here, on your old stomping ground very soon.