LAEM CHABANG, Thailand - Since the arrival here of guided missile destroyer USS Mustin (DDG 89) Oct. 22 for a port visit, over 200 Sailors have participated in community service events in Utapao, Rayong, Banglamung, Pattaya and Bangkok, to strengthen ties between the U.S. and Thailand.
The community service events, coordinated through the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, have included working side-by-side with Royal Thai Navy Sailors to support the Princess Pa Foundation and volunteering at the Thai Red Cross to package supplies for those displaced by the worst flooding in 50 years in Thailand. Sailors also gave blood at the Thai Red Cross and presented a check to the organization for $10,000 which Mustin Sailors raised through donations by crew members on the ship.
“As the community service coordinator I have been amazed at the consistently high level of motivation to help the Thai people the crew has displayed throughout the entire port visit,” said Chief Intelligence Specialist Jayson Fuller. Their compassion “is shown in their smiles that don’t go away and seeing the sincere appreciation expressed in the smiles and encouraging words by the local Thai people working right along side us, I wish that every Sailor gets a chance to experience how good it feels to help.”
The community service events also included visiting and playing with children at local children’s homes including the Camillian Social Center in Rayong and the Pattaya Orphanage. Sailors visited with Buddhist monks and helped to clean the temple and college grounds at Wat Jitapawan in Banglamung.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to come out and volunteer at these events. At the Orphanage, I played with the kids and it was great to see how happy they all were,” said Sonar Technician (Surface) 3rd Class Joy Chase. “I’ve participated in four community service events and I plan on volunteering for more during my time in Thailand.”
In addition to the community service events, the helicopter detachment aboard USS Mustin provided support to the U.S. Marine Corps Humanitarian Assistance Survey Team (HAST) in their survey of the flooding in Thailand.
The community service events and military engagements built upon existing ties between the U.S. and Thailand developed over years of cooperation together. The Sailors have said many times that Mustin is honored to be able to conduct this port visit and participate in community service events to give back to the people of Thailand who have long been friends and allies.
“It is an honor to be back during this difficult time to support our Thai allies, who are doing a superb job meeting the challenge,” said Cmdr. Scott Tait, commanding officer of USS Mustin. “The thoughts and prayers of the crew go out to all the Thai people, and others in the region, that have been effected by the flooding.”