U.S. Navy Ships Visit Thailand


Story Number: NNS080407-07Release Date: 4/7/2008 3:35:00 PM
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By Ensign Katie Burkhart, USS Hopper Public Affairs

PHUKET, Thailand (NNS) -- Hawaii based guided-missile destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70), Hawaii based guided-missile cruiser USS Port Royal (CG 73), and Washington based guided-missile frigate USS Ingraham (FFG 61) arrived April 3 for a regularly scheduled port visit to Phuket Island.

During the visit, Sailors will have a chance to meet local citizens, experience local customs and traditions, and enjoy the many recreational activities offered in Phuket.

Many Sailors plan to participate in Morale, Welfare and Recreation tours, which allow Sailors the opportunity to golf, dive or enjoy elephant rides.

Hopper will also participate in a community relations event with Life Home Project, and will be distributing Project Handclasp materials to needy women and children after spending the day with them. Life Home Project provides a home and a supportive community for HIV-positive mothers and their children.

The center also has an art workshop where mothers can learn different skills to aid in their search for employment. Sailors plan to garden with the women and children in the morning and make crafts with them in the afternoon.

"This port visit is a great opportunity for our Sailors to rest and relax, as well as experience the wonderful Thai culture," said USS Hopper Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Jeffrey W. James. "This is a favorite port for many of our Sailors, and everyone is excited to experience all that Phuket has to offer."

Routine port visits such as this one are an important element to building and sustaining relationships with regional partners. Working together with partner nations demonstrates the U.S. desire to interact with countries in the Asia-Pacific region to create peace and stability.

Port Royal, Ingraham, and Hopper are on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

Operating in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean, the U.S. 7th fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. fleets covering 52 million square miles, with approximately 50 ships, 120 aircraft and 20,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any given time.

For more news from Tarawa Expeditionary Strike Group www.navy.mil/local/tarawaesg/.

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