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Flood-damaged air force base

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Repairs to sunken Don Mueang air force base & planes to take 95% of 12.28-billion-baht military budget. 

planes under water

In photo above aircraft sit up to their bellies in water at Don Mueang air force base last month.

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COMMENTARY: A year for Air Force to recover by Wassana Nanuam


Few people realised the magnitude of the damage caused by the flooding at Don Mueang air force base - till the Defence Ministry requested a budget to restore it.

The Royal Thai Air Force headquarters went completely under for the first time in its 100 years of history. Result? The air force now needs 95% of the 12.28-billion-baht budget the Defence Ministry is seeking from the government.

The damage has inevitably made air force chief ACM Itthaporn Subhawong the target of much criticism, for his alleged carelessness and complacence in letting the base get so thoroughly inundated.

As the number one man in the air force, he cannot avoid responsibility. The air force's electronics, communications and flight checking equipment under the Directorate of Aeronautical Engineering, and the Royal Thai Air Forces Defence System's Phase I at Don Mueang were destroyed because they could not be moved to a safe, dry place.

"We had a well-prepared plan but we did not expect the water to come in from Don Mueang Airport," ACM Itthaporn said in defence.

A high-ranking source at the air force admitted to the unexpected scenario. "We were confident that we could handle it. But we didn't expect the water would be that high," the source said. "We had put up a barricade of sandbags. By the time the water rushed in, we could not pump it out because that would cause problems for the communities living nearby. So we decided to leave it this way," the source added.

"ACM Itthaporn was very sad about what happened because all the staff had done their best. We should give him moral support," the source added

"The air force chief didn't relocate anywhere. He's always been staying here at the air force chief's official residence. The first floor of his residence was inundated and he had to live only on the second floor. He took a boat to work at the office, which had to be shifted from the air force headquarters building to a temporary site at the 80th Anniversary Building on Phahon Yothin Road," the source added.

The severe damage at Don Mueang was the reason why Thailand needed 30 US soldiers and technicians - to help restore the base. Almost all the systems had been directly purchased or were military aid from the United States and only the Americans could make them function again. The only system the Americans didn't touch was the Royal Thai Air Force's Defence System, which has been changed from the US to the European system.

"There is no secret prison or operation base for the US or CIA at the air force base in Don Mueang as some foreign new agencies have speculated. The point is, all electronic equipment and flight information are secret and classified," said the source, who is familiar with the rescue operation.

It is estimated that the air force base will need at least a year to 18 months to return to full normal operation. The task is under air force assistant chief ACM Prachin Jantong, who is tipped to be the new air force commander. ...

[Read the rest of the story here]

Wassana Nanuam reports on military affairs for the Bangkok Post.

(Source: Bangkok Post, COMMENTARY, A year for Air Force to recover, 8/12/2011, Wassana Nanuam, link

Air Force Flood Recovery Vocabulary

recover - when the situation improves, gets better ได้คืน, ได้กลับคืน, เอากลับคืน,
a year for Air Force to recover  

realize - to know something (become aware of or understand something) 
few people realized

magnitude - size, either great or small ขนาด,ความใหญ่,ความสำคัญ ความรุนแรง
the magnitude of the damage

base - a place from where an activity can be planned ฐานที่มั่น
budget - the amounts of money that an organisation has available to spend on different things during a period งบประมาณ (See Wikipedia)
restore - to cause a particular situation to exist again, especially a good one ฟื้นฟูสภาพ

few people
realised the magnitude of the damage caused by the flooding at Don Mueang air force base - till the Defence Ministry requested a budget to restore it

headquarters - the place where an organisation or company has its main offices;  the location from where it is controlled สำนักงานใหญ่ กองบัญชาการ
air force headquarters

went completely under - was flooded with water (not really completely under water)

the Royal Thai Air Force headquarters
went completely under for the first time in its 100 years of history

budget - the money available in a company or organization on something such as a project งบประมาณ
12.28-billion-baht budget

inevitably - certain to happen, cannot be prevented or avoided อย่างเลี่ยงไม่ได้

target
- something or someone attacked เป้าหมาย
criticism -  การวิจารณ์
inevitably target of much criticism

care - looking after someone or something; take action to keep them in good condition ความระมัดระวัง
carelessness -  not careing or looking after someone, neglecting ความไม่กังวล, ความไม่ระมัดระวัง
complacence -
not doing anything in a situation that requires action (because of dangerous, for example)  ความพึงพอใจ

alleged - claimed to be true although not yet proven ที่ถูกกล่าวหา
alleged carelessness and complacence

inundated - flooded ถูกน้ำท่วม, จมลงใต้น้ำ
alleged carelessness and complacence in letting the base get so thoroughly inundated.

responsibility - 1. being blamed for something that goes wrong, 2. having to take care of some task as part of your job
avoid responsibility
as the number one man in the air force, he cannot avoid
responsibility.

communications and flight
checking equipment

defence - something you say to support someone or something that is being criticised or charged การปกป้อง การแก้ต่าง
in defence

source - someone who gives information แหล่งข่าว
military rank - a position in the military (examples: lieutenant, major, general)
high-ranking -
having a very high position in an organization (example: the highest ranking soldiers are generals)
a high-ranking
source

scenario - the way that a situation develops in the future
unexpected scenario - something happened that they didn't think would happen

confident - being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future มั่นใจ
handle the situation - deal with the situation, solve any problems, make things go smoothly
we were confident that we could handle it.

barricade - objects put in front of a road or waterway that stop something from passing through
barricade of sandbags

rushed - going somewhere very quickly ด้วยความเร่งรีบ
the water rushed in

staff - workers, employees พนักงาน
all the staff had done their best

support - helpe สนับสนุน
give him moral support - say things to encourage him and give him strength to face a certain situation

relocate - move to another location ย้ายไปตั้งอีกที่หนึ่ง
didn't relocate anywhere

official - approved by the government or some authority ที่เป็นทางการ
residence - a place where someone lives ที่พำนัก ที่อาศัย บ้านพัก
air force chief's official residence

temporary - done or used for only a limited period of time, i.e., not permanent ชั่วคราว
site - a place where something happens or happened สถานที่ สถานที่เกิดเหตุ
shifted to a temporary site - moved to another place for a short period (until the situation was back to normal)

severe - very serious and worrying ที่รุนแรง ที่น่าเป็นห่วง
severe damage

reason - an explanation of an event, why an event happened เหตุ ; เหตุผล ; สาเหตุ
military base - a place where soldiers live and prepare for military operations
base - same as "military base"
the reason why Thailand needed 30 US soldiers and technicians - to help restore the base ...
 
military (adjective, noun) - about soldiers, the Navy, Air Force and Army of a country ทหาร, ทางทหาร, เกี่ยวกับทหาร, ของทหาร

aid - help; assistance ความช่วยเหลือ
military aid - help for the military

affairs - events and activities relating to the government, politics, economy etc of a country, region, or the world ความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างประเทศ
military affairs

function - to work or operate in a normal way เป็นปกติ ใช้การได้ปกติ
only the Americans could make them function again

secret prison or operation base for the US or CIA at the air force base in Don Mueang - (See Sept 22, 2011 article)

classified information - information that is officially secret (the public not allowed to know about it)
all electronic equipment and flight information are secret and classified

familiar -
knows about
rescue - to save someone from a dangerous situation ช่วยชีวิต
familiar with the rescue operation.

tipped to be - many think that he will become ...
task - a piece of work that someone does หน้าที่ ภารกิจ
commander
- a high-level soldier or police officer ผู้บังคับบัญชา

the
task is under air force assistant chief ACM Prachin Jantong, who is tipped to be the new air force commander.

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