By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/AW) N. Ross Taylor
LAEM CHABANG, Thailand - The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Cowpens (CG 63) arrived in Laem Chaban, Thailand, for a port visit, Aug. 6.
Over the last two weeks leading up to the port visit, a small group of Sailors have been working tirelessly to ensure the ship’s preservation. Cowpens’ Tiger Team, a working party of 12 Sailors from six different departments ensured that the ship’s topside was in pristine condition before their arrival in Thailand.
“Although Cowpens’ Sailors do a great job on ship preservation on a daily basis, tiger team duties are important for preparing the ship for a foreign port arrival,” said Chief Master-at-Arms Patrick O’Brien, Tiger Team officer in charge.
“From sanding and chipping to painting and giving the ship a fresh water washdown, they have done a phenomenal job. This is all in addition to their normal watch standing duties, and the ship looks great,” said O’Brien.
While in port, Sailors will have an opportunity to take part in community service projects, a Navy League-sponsored golf tournament and some of the ship’s culinary specialists will even join in a local teppanyaki cooking competition. Cowpens will be returning as the champion of the competition, as they beat out the aircraft carrier USS George Washington and the USS McCampbell to take top rank in last year’s event.
“Last year’s competition was an awesome experience,” said Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Johnson, a native of Dallas. “It was cool, not only because it was the first time they had held the event, but it also gave us some exposure to the local community and their cooking styles. This year, there will be more competition and Team Cowpens is ready to defend our title.”
Cowpens’ Commanding Officer Capt. Robert Marin, a native of Los Angeles, said he is excited for the crew and officers of Cowpens to see the sights of exotic Thailand and get a little well deserved rest and relaxation.
“Thailand is a wonderful country with a rich history,” said Marin. “Cowpens Sailors have a great reputation as U.S. ambassadors during their liberty time in foreign ports throughout the 7th Fleet’s area of responsibility, and I am looking forward to the crew taking full advantage of the awesome sightseeing, the unique food and the exceptional tours offered by MWR.”
Quartermaster 1st Class (SW) Jerry Crawford, from Columbia, Miss., is especially excited to participate in the community service project at the Ban Thung Krad elementary school where Cowpens Sailors will paint classrooms and interact with the students.
“Helping and interacting with children is something I am always up to do,” said Crawford. “It is so important to not forget about the youth. We need to show them how much we care. Community service projects like this one gives us an opportunity to do that, even thousands of miles away from where we call home.”
Cowpens was commissioned March 9, 1991 as the Navy’s 17th ship of the Ticonderoga-class ship. She is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan and is underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.