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    MSC’s Expeditionary Port Unit 115 Crosses Cultures During Outreach

    MSC’s Expeditionary Port Unit 115 Crosses Cultures During Outreach

    Photo By Grady Fontana | 190128-N-IX266-001 PATTAYA, Thailand—Reserve-component Sailor Cmdr. Donald Moore,...... read more read more



    Story by Grady Fontana 

    Military Sealift Command Far East

    PATTAYA, Thailand—Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) reserve unit Expeditionary Port Unit 115 (EPU 115) visited the Drop-In Center of the Human Help Network Foundation to interact with children during a community relations event in Pattaya, Thailand, Jan 28.

    Based out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, EPU 115 is currently in Thailand supporting Cobra Gold 2019 (CG 19) and sent seven members to assist with the deployment and redeployment of roll-on, roll-off cargo vessel M/V Cape Hudson (T-AKR 5066) and Maritime Prepositioning Force ship USNS Pililaau (T-AK 304).

    EPU 115 conducts expeditionary port operations in support of worldwide operations and contingencies. During CG 19, the EPU’s role was to ensure that proper contacts were made at the shipping port, to direct the ship on berthing, and to prepare for the ship’s arrival.

    In between operations, the MSC team visited the Drop-In Center and learned more about the local culture.

    “You can tell that these kids really appreciate any support and visit that they get,” said reserve-component Sailor Lt. Cmdr. Trenel Hardy, strategic sealift officer, EPU 115. “They don’t get to interact with Americans often so anytime we can come here and spend time with the local kids helps build their confidence and trust in us.”

    The servicemembers laughed and cheered with the children while playing sports, coloring, dancing and sharing language exchanges.

    According to Hardy, these types of interaction are very fun and easy for everyone and it has the ability to cross cultural barriers. “At the same time, it instills that trust in them in us,” said Hardy, a native of New York.

    “There is nothing more powerful than building relationships,” said Navy Lt. Eric R. Bryan, chaplain, MSC Far East. “The ability to grow a relationship is what builds community and building community is a by-product of spending time together. Based on the responses from the kids, and seeing some of the Sailor open up, I think we’ve made a good start.”

    The Drop-In Center is a non-governmental organization and is one of the projects of the Human Help Foundation in Pattaya. The center hosts about 85 children a day from neighboring nations, whose parents are day laborers in Thailand.

    Although Hardy was not new to Thailand, having deployed here a number of times, EPU 115 had a few Sailors who were in Thailand for the first time and one found the experience remarkable.

    “This is the first time I’ve ever been to an Asian country; it’s really different from what I’m used to,” said reserve-component Sailor Petty Officer 2nd Class Tony Thacker, logistics specialist, EPU 115, from Cincinnati, Ohio. “I grew up in foster homes and group homes so this experience has been really touching for me.”

    During the two-hour evolution, the kids played a modified game of basketball and a variety of playground- and classroom-type games that often led to many laughs, cheers and yells of encouragement that were fostered by the EPU members, the facility volunteers and the kids.

    “I’ve always wanted to do something overseas to help children, so when I found out we were going to this school to interact with kids, I thought this was the experience I was longing,” said reserve-component Sailor Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeannie Reynolds, a boatswain's mate with EPU 115 and native of Summitville, Ind. “I feel I’ve gained some insight into how differently other children grow up. Some are not privileged to education or have a guaranteed future. I really got a lot out of this visit.”

    MSC operates approximately 120 non-combatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military cargo and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces and coalition partners.



    Date Taken: 01.30.2019
    Date Posted: 01.30.2019 19:55
    Story ID: 308715
    Location: PATTAYA, TH 

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