PHUKET, Thailand - Sailors from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, and the guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) competed in a rugby match and a soccer game at Thanyapura Field during a port visit to Phuket, Thailand, May 31.
During the rugby match, Sailors competed against the Phuket Vagabonds, one of the local teams that compete in Phuket.
"It's a lot of fun to be playing people of all different skill levels," said Garrett Cutler, a physical fitness teacher in Phuket and a member of the Vagabonds. "If you like being active and a part of a team it's a good sport to try."
The Sailors were excited to get the opportunity to play field sports, something they cannot do when underway.
"It feels amazing to come out here and compete with another country," said Operations Specialist 3rd Class Marcus Green. "Playing internationally is a lot different, but very fun. It is a great way to relieve some stress from being on the ship for so long."
The community service event not only gave the Sailors the opportunity to meet the people of Phuket, but to also have the opportunity to meet other Sailors in their strike group who serve on different ships.
"Some of these guys would normally never meet each other, guys from the Princeton or the air wing," said Cmdr. Emile Moured, Nimitz command chaplain and co-event coordinator. "And here they are not only getting to know each other, but playing rugby and soccer in a close environment. Then you have some of the guys from the host nation coming in and mixing in with us and that brings a whole new level of cooperation amongst each other and a chance not only for competition but for relationship building."
Moured also said that events like this help to broaden the understanding of both the locals and the Sailors.
"It helps put a human face on the big aircraft carrier Nimitz," said Brian Kenny, a member of the U.S. Navy League, Phuket, who helped coordinate the event.
Nimitz Strike Group is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts.