News: Marines reach out to Pattaya orphanage during Exercise Cobra Gold 2009
Story by Lance Cpl. Daniel Flynn
By Lance Cpl. Daniel A. Flyn
III Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs
PATTAYA, Thailand – More than 25 Marines and sailors deployed in support of Exercise Cobra Gold 2009 participated in a community relations event Feb. 7 at Father Ray Children's Village orphanage in Pattaya, Thailand.
Cobra Gold is a regularly scheduled joint/coalition multinational exercise and is the latest in the continuing series of U.S.-Thai military exercise designed to promote regional peace and stability.
The Marines and sailors who participated in this event planted about 40 trees for the orphanage, and after that, they visited and played with the children who lived there and ate lunch with them.
When the service members first arrived at the orphanage, all of the children gathered around, with smiles on their faces, in order to great the Marines and sailors.
"It gives the children hope to see that people from around the world care about them," said Lt. Cmdr. Robert Slaughter, Chaplain for Combat Logistics Regiment 3. "It is a great opportunity for U.S. military members to be great ambassadors to Thailand," he added.
After the initial greeting between the service members and the children, the Marines and sailors immediately started working on planting the trees for the orphanage.
With the manual labor out of the way, the Marines and sailors were able to give their attention over to the children completely.
Lance Cpl. Thomas Mills, a cryogenic technician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 36, said, "Being here is a great and very humbling experience; it makes you appreciate what you have."
After about an hour of playing with the children, the Marines and sailors enjoyed a lunch that was cooked up on a barbeque grill by the staff of the orphanage.
"I believe you see the face of God when you serve others, especially children," said Lt. j.g. Mark Torres, chaplain for Marine Aircraft Group 36.
Also by participating in these types of events, service members are brought out of their element and it helps them to live a better life, added Torres.
The children at the orphanage took to the Marines and sailors very quickly. The positive interaction and the smiles on the faces of both children and service members alike made this event a successful one.
When it was time for the Marines and sailors to leave, just looking into the eyes of the children would tell one that even though they where only there a few hours, the children in that orphanage, will remember the Marines and sailors who came to visit them for the rest of their lives.