LAEM CHABANG, Thailand – Sailors assigned to the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and Marines with elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Laem Chabang for a port visit Feb. 21.
The visit marks the completion of Tortuga and the 31st MEU’s participation in exercise Cobra Gold 2012 with Armed Forces of the Royal Thai Navy and Marine Corps.
"I’m really proud of my crew, my officers, and my chiefs," said Cmdr. Adrian D. Ragland, Tortuga’s commanding officer. “My crew has done an absolutely phenomenal job flexing to the high op tempo of the exercise."
After completing two weeks of continuous amphibious operations, Sailors and Marines have a chance to relax and give back to the local area with community service projects.
One of the community projects will allow Sailors and Marines to donate sports equipment, play kickball, soccer, and softball with kids.
“We’re taking some sports equipment to donate,” said Lt. Adrienne Townsend, Tortuga’s command chaplain.
Townsend added that the projects not only offer locals the opportunity to have good interaction with the service members, but it gives Sailors and Marines a chance to expand their focus about the world.
Tortuga’s Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program will also have trips and tours available during the port visit.
“It’s always good to be back in Thailand,” said Ragland. “I’m glad Tortuga Sailors and embarked Marines have this chance to take in the remarkable culture, authentic food, and beautiful scenery that this country has to offer.”
Tortuga with embarked elements of the 31st MEU are currently on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of operations.