Mobile Bay Sailors Volunteer at Thailand Elementary School

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Armando Gonzales, John C. Stennis Strike Group Public Affairs

PHANG NGA, Thailand (NNS) – Sailors assigned to the Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), and the Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CV 74), participated in a community service project (COMSERV), at the Baan Klong Sai elementary school, Oct. 10.

            During the project the Sailors painted a wall surrounding the school, spent time helping children learn English by teaching them the English variants of their names, and played a game of soccer with them.

            Not only did this COMSERV provide unique opportunity for Sailors of the John C. Stennis Strike Group, it also gave the volunteers a better understanding of day-to-day life in Thailand.

“This school is a really good picture of Thailand,” said Brad Kenny, the Phuket Navy League’s COMSERV coordinator.  Because many the students’ families are fishermen or farmers the school teaches them how to grow crops and raise animals.  These skills are not only used to provide lunch for the students, but they also help augment the cost of school uniforms and other supplies, said Kenny.

The Sailors who participated in the project were amazed by the variety of farm animals that the students took care of.

            “I’ve seen a buffalo, catfish, and a pool of frogs that they breed,” said Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Anthony Enriquez, one of the volunteers for the project.

            During lunch the Sailors were treated to a feast with some of the food that the school produced. 

            “I’ve had the [coconut] milk before, but I’ve never had it with the actual coconut,” said Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class Michael Johnson, 

“It’s a wonderful experience to help out the children’s school here in Thailand,” said Enriquez. “I hope that we can return soon.”

Mobile Bay, part of the John C. Stennis Strike Group, is returning to the U.S. 7th and 5th Fleet area of operations four months ahead of schedule in order to maintain combatant commander requirements for Navy assets in the region. ­­

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