In this file photo, aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) tranits through the South China Sea Jan. 5, 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Adam Randolph)

LAEM CHABANG, Thailand - The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71), arrived in Laem Chabang, Thailand, for a port visit, Jan. 6.

While in Thailand, strike group Sailors will visit with the people of Thailand, experience the local culture and conduct a series of community service projects (COMSERVs) to further strengthen the relationship between the two countries.

Cmdr. Denis Cox, Lincoln's chaplain, said the COMSERVs will be a great opportunity for CSG9 Sailors to get to know the people of Thailand.

"Our Sailors will get to interact with the great institutions of Thailand and meet Thai people in their community," Cox said. They'll get to know our Sailors for what they really are: servants, leaders and genuinely good people. And nothing will expose our Sailors to what it means to be Thai more than working on these projects."

For the COMSERVs, Sailors will paint schools, clean local temples and visit with children at an orphanage in Pattaya.

Air Traffic Controller 1st Class Caleb R. Thomas, assigned to Lincoln, said he can't wait to go on one of the many Morale, Welfare and Recreation-sponsored tours that will be available to strike group Sailors in Thailand. In addition to historical sites such as Bangkok's Grand Palace and the ruins of Ayudhaya, Sailors will also have the opportunity to visit the Sriracha Tiger Zoo, ride elephants and have fun in Thailand's tropical rain forest.

"I plan on having a great time in Thailand," Thomas said. "I can't wait to enjoy a few days relaxing on the beach and cable riding through the jungle."

Ensign Deborah I. Frazier, assigned to Lincoln's Combat Systems department, said she is also looking forward to relaxing, and she wants to develop a firsthand appreciation for the rich heritage of Thailand.

"Now that I have the chance to see their culture, I'd really love to see their temples," Frazier said. "We're incredibly lucky that we get to spend time here."

Lincoln is in the 7th Fleet area of operations (AOO) as part of a deployment to the western Pacific and Indian Oceans en route to support coalition efforts in the 5th Fleet AOO. Thailand is the first port call of Lincoln's 2011-2012 deployment.

CSG 9 is comprised of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, the guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George (CG 71) and Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 9, which includes the guided-missile destroyers USS Momsen (DDG 92) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).

Following deployment, Lincoln will change homeports from Everett, Wash., to Norfolk, Va., for a periodic refueling complex overhaul.