USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, At Sea (NNS) -- USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), flagship of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, teamed up with the Royal Thai navy April 24 to conduct a passing exercise (PASSEX) in the Gulf of Thailand.
During the exercise, officers from both nations participated in an officer exchange program between ships, in order to get a better understanding of how each navy operates.
"When we first came aboard Abraham Lincoln, we were very impressed," said Lt. Banjird Tongchiw of the Royal Thai navy. "The crew has a very high commitment to their duties."
Tongchiw, an eight-year veteran of the Royal Thai navy, said that the exchange program not only helps the Sailors involved, but it also benefits both countries' readiness for future operations.
"In the case of emergency, or in the need of cooperation, we can have the capability of working jointly," Tongchiw said. "The exchange is also for making friends and seeing the differences between the U.S. Navy and our navy so we can work together if we need to in the future."
Cooperation between the U.S. Navy and the navies of allied countries is very important in today's ever-changing political climate.
"We need to form a worldwide force, and doing exercises like this helps us understand each other's capabilities," said Lt. Cmdr. Jennifer Mills from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9, embarked aboard Lincoln. "This helps us become stronger against any opposing forces."
While this PASSEX helped build relations between the United States and Thailand, future exercises will help build stronger ties with other allied nations, allowing the formation of strong coalition strike groups.
"Every time we do [PASSEX]," said Mills, "it helps us understand how our allies do business. [Exercises] help build our friendship and communications. They are an excellent way for us to learn more and more from friends and allies."
Along with Lincoln, CSG 9 includes Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, DESRON 9, the guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), and the guided-missile destroyers USS Russell (DDG 59) and USS Shoup (DDG 86).
The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is on a routine deployment to conduct maritime security operations and to train with coalition partners to improve the ability to operate with naval forces from many nations.
For related news, visit the Abraham Lincoln Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn72/.