LAEM CHABANG, Thailand – Aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), accompanied by guided-missile cruiser Cape St. George (CG 71), departed Laem Chabang, Thailand, Jan. 10, following a four-day port visit.
While in Thailand, Sailors from the two ships visited with the people of Thailand, experienced the local culture and participated in a series of community service projects (COMSERVs) to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
Sailors painted schools, cleaned local temples and visited with children at schools and medical facilities as part of the COMSERVs.
The Lincoln Chiefs Mess visited with HIV/AIDS-stricken children and adults at the Camillian Relief Center in Rayong. Chief Religious Program Specialist Elliot Warley said spending time with the children was the most worthwhile part of his time in Thailand.
"Even though these kids are sick, they're still kids," Warley said. "We interacted with them, we played with them, and we gave them toys. It was a really good experience."
Other highlights from the port visit included tours of temples and historic sites, elephant rides, jungle adventure tours and visits to the Sriracha Tiger Zoo.
The visit also included military-to-military talks and ship tours for several local groups including Royal Thai navy personnel, local businesses and school children. Additionally, Lincoln Sailors delivered Project Handclasp supplies to local organizations. Project Handclasp, the Navy's worldwide outreach program, donates humanitarian, educational and goodwill materials to people in need overseas.
Lincoln, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 9, is in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) as part of a deployment to the western Pacific and Indian Oceans en route to support coalition efforts in the 5th Fleet AOR. The visit to Thailand was the first port call of Lincoln's 2011-2012 deployment.
CSG 9 is comprised of Lincoln, Cape St. George, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2 and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9, which includes guided-missile destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).
Following deployment, Lincoln will change homeports from Everett, Wash., to Norfolk, Va., for a periodic refueling complex overhaul.