Crew of Submarine Tender USS Emory S Land Completes Thailand Port Visit
The crew of submarine tender USS Emory S Land (AS 39) wrapped up their theater security cooperation (TSC) and friendship mission to Thailand, Aug. 3.
While in Thailand, Land conducted a coordinated tended mooring with USS Buffalo (SSN 715) and hosted Vice Adm. Choomnoom Ardwong, deputy commander in charge of the Royal Thai Fleet.
Land and Buffalo also participated in events with the Royal Thai Navy and U.S. Navy League Siam, including cooking lessons from a five star Thai chef.
“This port visit was extremely positive. The hospitality and camaraderie shown to us served to foster our friendship with the Thai people and our partners in the Royal Thai Navy,” said Capt. Paul Savage, USS Emory S. Land commanding officer. “Our Sailors were excellent ambassadors for the U.S. and the Navy while they enjoyed all that this beautiful country has to offer.”
Many Land and Buffalo Sailors donated their off time participating in two community service projects at the Child Protection and Development Center (CPDC) and the Mechai Pattana School in the city of Pattaya.
“This experience is educational for all of us. It’s very interesting and a great opportunity to see the local community and the Thai culture in way that we might not have the chance to experience otherwise,” said Lt.j.g. Harish Jairam, assigned to Buffalo.
Scheree Wilkie, guest coordinator at CPDC, said the volunteers created lasting memories for the children.
“Sailors represent strong, positive role models, and just by being here and accepting the children and giving them attention, it makes a world of difference,” said Wilkie.
Culinary specialists aboard Buffalo received a lesson in Thai cooking from prominent Thai chefs who prepared traditional dishes in the crew’s galley.
“The opportunity to learn local cuisine from five star chefs in Thailand is amazing,” said Culinary Specialist Seaman Apprentice Kekoa Ulep, assigned to Buffalo. “Everything could be easily made using our own galley, and their background brought new methods and different styles to our cooking. I can’t wait to try and make this food again.”
In port, Sailors were able to participate in Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) sponsored events including hiking, riding elephants, sightseeing and shopping. Sailors also had the opportunity to visit Bangkok and see the reclining Buddha statue.
“It was great having the opportunity to visit a place like Bangkok,” said Quartermaster 1st Class (SW) Travis Volking. “MWR did a great job in making a once in a lifetime opportunity accessible to the crew.”
During the visit, Land and Buffalo were praised for the superb conduct and professionalism of their crews.
“The crew, Sailors and civilian mariners alike, are extremely professional, and the success of this port visit lies in their teamwork and responsibility,” said Savage. “I can say without a doubt that I am very proud of my entire crew, and they should be proud of themselves as well.”
Land, homeported in Diego Garcia, got underway Aug. 3, and will return to Guam where it is currently on an extended deployment conducting coordinated tended moorings and afloat maintenance in the U.S. 7th fleet area of operations.
Naval Today Staff, August 7, 2012; Image: US Navy