First impressions foster lasting friendships
By Lance Cpl. Brandon Suhr
| | February 17, 2013
NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Kingdom of Thailand --
U.S. Marines and sailors spent the morning playing games and interacting with children from the Panya Nukhoon School in Nakhon Ratchasima, Kingdom of Thailand, Feb. 12 at a community relations event during exercise Cobra Gold 2013.
“I am very thankful for all of the (U.S.) service members visiting the kids and giving them a chance to be involved in the activities with the service members,” said Sangchan Panchapack , the director of the school. “The children were really excited and happy to have all the Marines and sailors here. They really like having people come and doing activities with them.”
The children do not receive many visitors during their busy school hours, so they enjoy having visitors that come their way.
“I feel that the children loved it because of the way they were acting around us and the excitement everywhere. I think they would enjoy it if we came back,” said U.S. Navy Seaman Apprentice Charles J. Foster, a religious program specialist with Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force. “Everybody who came had fun. Everyone made the day productive, and it was extremely successful because of that.”
Being able to interact and bond with other countries is a great way to build relationships and make friends.
“It gives the Thais an opportunity to see the U.S. military as friends, and it strengthens the relationship between the two countries,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Rodney E. Weaver, the group chaplain with MAG-36. “The children of this school are going to remember our visit for a long time because we were able to give them some attention and have a good time.”
Most days, the children are in the classroom studying, and it is good for them to have the time to play outside and relax for a while, added Panchapack.
“We’re here to help. We’re here to strengthen the alliance that we already have with the Kingdom of Thailand,” said Foster.
This was just one of many community relations events during CG 13, which demonstrates the Marines’ and sailors’ commitment to building close relationships with the community while supporting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.