The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) transits through the Indian Ocean May 26 while making its way to Thailand for a port visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Devin Wray)

PHUKET, Thailand - The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68), along with embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 11, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23 and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 11 escorted by guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) arrived in Phuket, Thailand May 28 for a port visit.

The visit allows the Nimitz Strike Group the opportunity to experience the local culture and customs, enjoy a variety of recreational activities and participate in community service events (COMSERVs).

"I am excited for the opportunity our Sailors and Marines will have to take in all of the wonderful things Phuket has to offer," said Capt. Jeff Ruth, Nimitz commanding officer. "This is a great way for them to be good ambassadors of the United States while meeting the warm and friendly people of Thailand."

In addition to the COMSERVS, the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program have set up a number of tours, hotel stays and activities while in port.

"MWR started the 'experience the culture of Thailand' campaign," explained Chief Operations Specialist Travis Lovegrove, MWR leading chief petty officer. "We're offering 17 different tours including private boat charters, elephant rides, temple tours, countryside tours and diving trips for every day we're in port. We've also offered discounted hotel rooms at approximately 15 different hotels so Sailors and Marines can go out and experience Phuket, Thailand to the fullest."

Port visits play an important role in the overall mission of the United States Navy and strengthen relationships with regional partners.

"Thailand has a rich cultural and historical heritage and I am proud of the strong relationship our two nations share," said Ruth. "Thailand and the United States have a friendship that spans more than 100 years, and it's a privilege to be able to contribute to its continuation."

The Nimitz Strike Group is currently deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations and supporting theater security cooperation efforts.