Volunteer Defense’s Day in Thailand Date in the current year: February 10, 2024

Volunteer Defense’s Day in Thailand Volunteer Defense’s Day (Wan Asa Raksa Dindaen) is an annual observance in Thailand held on February 10. It commemorates the foundation of the Volunteer Defense Corps.

The Volunteer Defense Corps (VDC, colloquially called Or Sor) is a volunteer paramilitary force that operates under the authority of the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA) of the Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom of Thailand. It was founded in 1954 to protect civilians living in the border areas and to serve as a source of military support for the Royal Thai Armed Forces.

In the 1950s, people living near the Thai border started to complain of banditry and harassment by separatist and insurgent organizations. In response to these complaints, the Border Patrol Police of Thailand established the Volunteer Defense Corps on February 10, 1954.

The original purpose of the VDC was to ensure border security and protect civilians in border provinces from insurgents crossing the border from the neighboring states of Cambodia, Laos, and Malaysia. VDC members were trained by the Border Patrol Police and then sent to protect civilians and their farms from insurgent attacks and extortion.

Following the resignation of the military government and the adoption of a new constitution in 1974, the Internal Security Operations Command expanded the authority of the VDC to urban areas to fight against communist insurgents.

The Volunteer Defense Corps was at its peak in 1980, consisting of an estimated 52,000 volunteers. By the end of the decade, its strength had declined to roughly 33,000. This decrease in numbers was partly caused by the creation of the Thahan Phran (Thai Rangers), a paramilitary force tasked with patrolling the borders of Thailand in conjunction with the Border Patrol Police. The Thahan Phran was established in 1978 to fight communist insurgents and absorbed some VDC units that already had relevant experience.

Since 2004, the Corps has played an important part in fighting the South Thailand insurgency (radical Islamic organizations and drug cartels) alongside the Royal Thai Armed Forces and the Royal Thai Police. It is also tasked with maintaining the country’s internal security during wars or natural disasters. Volunteers assist police and officials and protect villagers from insurgents or consequences of natural disasters.

On Volunteer Defense’s Day in Thailand, VDC volunteers are praised for their contribution to ensuring the country’s security.

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