In this file photo, USS Halsey (DDG 97) operates in the South China Sea in October. (U.S. Navy/MCSN David Flewellyn)

LAEM CHABANG, Thailand - The crew of the guided-missile destroyer USS Halsey (DDG 97) arrived in Laem Chabang, Thailand, Dec. 22, to enjoy a port visit during the holiday season.

"This visit gives Halsey Sailors the opportunity to experience the Thai community,” said Cmdr. Linda Seymour, Halsey’s commanding officer. “We can learn, relax, and recharge, while we, in turn, strengthen the bonds between the United States and Thailand, which is so crucial to promoting security in the region."

In addition to participating in a series of community service projects during their visit, the proud Destroyermen of Halsey will also be given the opportunity to experience the rich culture of Thailand with various tours of local historic locations and regional attractions provided by the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) association.

"MWR Thailand has so much to offer with a lot of attractions and fun tours to choose from,” said Culinary Specialist First Class Pete Eala, MWR coordinator. “We have a lot of people signed up for the Tiger Zoo tour and the many day tours to the temples and sanctuaries.”

“I am excited to visit Thailand because as a junior Sailor, exploring the world is one of the many reasons I joined the Navy in the first place,” said Operations Specialist Third Class Ashlyn Millsparker. “I am excited to experience their culture, taste the foods that they offer and do a lot of the tours.”

Some of the Sailors will also be able to spend time with their family, friends and loved ones who will be flying out to Thailand to enjoy time together during the holidays.

"This visit to Thailand will be somewhat of a small family reunion for my wife, her sister, and also for me and my two daughters,” said Hospital Corpsman Chief Petty Officer Brandon Dela Cruz, whose family will be visiting him from Hawaii. “We plan to visit the Tiger Zoo and just spend some family time in the pool since my kids are avid swimmers. This is such a wonderful coincidence that the timing worked out perfectly with us pulling into Thailand.”

Halsey, home ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and is currently on deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility promoting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.