By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class T.S. Hall, USS Boxer (LHD 4) Public Affairs
PHUKET, Thailand – Sailors and Marines from amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Phuket, Thailand Feb. 18 for a scheduled port visit, and rest and relaxation before continuing operations in support of regional and maritime security.
Marines and Sailors are also scheduled to volunteer more than one hundred hours of their off-duty time to participate in several community relations (COMREL) projects at local schools.
Boxer’s Command Chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Phil Creider said that COMREL’s are a way to help the people in our host nations.
“We provide the people, the muscles, and the energy to do good. Together, this forms one of the very best ways to demonstrate America's concern for all of our neighbors and our desire to be the best help that we can be.”
Storekeeper 1st Class Sourideth Soumphonphakdy said Thais are anxious to make new friends. A former resident of Thailand, Soumphonphakdy says it feels like he’s going home.
“The culture is familiar to me and it’s where I grew up. It brings back great memories because the people here are so nice and are excited to greet Americans.”
Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (BOXESG) Commodore Capt. Pete Brennan said that Sailors and Marines are looking forward to experiencing the culture of Thailand.
“Thailand provides a unique cultural experience that our Sailors and Marines will value for a lifetime,” said Brennan.