USS New Orleans Sailors, 11th MEU Marines Participate in Community Service Project in Thailand
PHUKET, Thailand - Sailors assigned to the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) and embarked Marines assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) participated in a bilateral community service project with their Royal Thai Navy counterparts at two Phuket schools, May 15.
The service members first visited the Ban Aonamber School where they met with staff members and students. The group then played one half of a soccer game where the U.S. military members faced off against members of the Royal Thai Navy.
Following the first half of the game, the Sailors and Marines headed to the Lampanwa School where they helped pave a concrete sidewalk.
"It's important for us to forge these bilateral ties with our Thai counterparts," said Lt. Paul Armstrong, USS New Orleans chaplain. "Anytime we can get closer to our allies and go out into the local community and make an impact for those who really need it, really can make a difference for people."
Once the sidewalk project had been completed, Sailors and Marines resumed their soccer game against the Royal Thai Navy where they lost by a final score of 4-3.
"They pretty much outplayed us in every facet of the game," said Engineman Fireman Apprentice Stedman Davis. "I'm surprised we even scored that many goals, they were really good."
Davis said he enjoyed his time during the project.
"It was a great time," he said. "I'd definitely do this again, I love giving back to the community."
Before the Sailors and Marines headed to the Lampanwa School, Piieha Pireansak, director of the Ban Aonamber School, addressed the service members and thanked them for their contributions.
"This is the second time the U.S. Navy has come to this school for a community service project," said Pireansak. "We're thankful for your help, and we hope you come back again."
USS New Orleans and the 11th MEU are part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group that is currently deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.