Boxer Sailors and Marines Donate Time, Learn Culture in Phuket

Story Number: NNS090226-07Release Date: 2/26/2009 4:28:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Brian Gaines, USS Boxer Public Affairs

PHUKET, Thailand (NNS) -- USS Boxer (LHD 4) Sailors and Marines helped renovate the Thalong National Museum Feb. 19 during a community relations (COMREL) project.

"The U.S. Navy has always had a sterling reputation with the Thai people," said Larry Amsden, a member of the Patong Beach chapter of the Phuket Rotary Club, who helped coordinate the event. "The turn out today has further reinforced that reputation."

Approximately 30 Sailors and Marines took time out of their liberty to help with the project. One Sailor, Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Michael Ashley, volunteered for the COMREL after completing the night watch in the ship's engineering spaces.

"Projects such as these are not only beneficial to the Thai people, but to the Sailors and Marines, too," said Lt. Russell Martin, one of Boxer's chaplains. "The reward is an intrinsic one, as it allows for them to serve others. It is also an opportunity to experience the culture of Thailand outside of the tourist areas."

Martin also added that everyone involved exceeded his expectations and performed excellent work.

For some Sailors, such as Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 2nd Class (SW) Amanda Grover, the sacrifice of liberty was worth the time.

"It's always good to help others, and a project like this lets you see a different culture firsthand," said Grover. "I enjoy the idea of giving to a community, even if it's not my own."

After the COMREL, the Sailors and Marines were treated to a tour of the museum, a traditional Thai meal, and a demonstration of traditional Thai songs and dancing.

The Thalong National Museum began construction in 1985 and was inaugurated on March 14, 1989 by Her Royal Highness, Princess Maha Chakri Sirinthorn. Under the administration of Thailand's Fine Arts Department, the museum serves as a source of cultural heritage and history.

USS Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (BOXESG)/13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are currently on a regularly scheduled deployment in support of global maritime security.

BOXESG is comprised of Amphibious Squadron 5, USS Boxer (LHD 4), USS New Orleans (LPD 18), USS Comstock (LSD 45), USCGC Boutell (WHEC 719), USS Lake Champlain (CG 57), Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC 21) Detachment 3, Assault Craft Unit 1, Beach Master Unit 1, and Fleet Surgical Team 5.

The 13th MEU is comprised of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron (HMM) 163 (Reinforced), Combat Logistics Battalion 13 and Battalion Landing Team 1/1.

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