CTF 76 Sailors Participate in Community Relations Project
By Lt. Cmdr. Brian Wierzbicki, CTF 76 Public Affairs
UTAPHAO, Thailand - Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet Sailors and Marines participated in a community relations project with Sailors from the Royal Thai Navy as part of exercise Cobra Gold 2014, Feb. 16.

Twenty-one active duty and reserve Sailors and Marines visited, interacted and talked with students at Chongsamaesan School in Udaphao. Sailors introduced themselves to the students and shared their backgrounds, while learning a bit about local customs.

"The kids were very responsive," said Lt. Cmdr. Trish Barrows. "Once they warmed up, there were a lot of questions about our backgrounds and the Navy specifically."

Following the introductions, the Sailors and students played soccer, volleyball and catch.

"I used to play soccer and baseball with my foreign exchange brothers," said Yeoman 2nd Class Justin Sadler. "The one thing that I've learned while traveling over to this region is that everyone can relate to sports and something as simple as a game can bring people together, even if there is a language barrier."

This event helped to create good and bridge the gap in cultural differences between the U.S. and Thailand.

"It was really neat to see and experience the cultural differences," said Barrows.

The visit was considered a success by all those who gave their time.

"This was a successful and very effective COMREL project," said Chief Operations Specialist Joshua Jester. "The kids enjoyed it and I know that I did as well."

The U.S. and Thailand have worked together for 181 years. Cobra Gold 2014 is the latest in a continuing series of exercises designed to promote peace and security in the Western Pacific.

Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet it commanded by Rear Adm. Hugh Wetherald and is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.

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