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BANGKOK, Thailand - Sailors from the guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen (DDG 82) provided manpower to assist in flood relief assistance efforts at the Thai Red Cross Central Distribution Center in Bangkok Nov. 18.
The ship moored at Laem Chabang on Nov. 16 to provide assistance to victims of flooding that claimed hundreds of lives and left many without food, water and basic supplies beginning in late July. Working in conjunction with the Thai Red Cross Society, Sailors helped to load more than 6,000 supplies onto trucks that would be distributed throughout the areas affected by the floods. The supplies were donated to the center from various local and international communities and organizations.
Although the work was strenuous, Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 2nd Class Casey Brown said volunteering for the event was only natural, considering the U.S. and Thailand frequently work together during exercises such as Cobra Gold. “I think us being here shows our support for the government and people of Thailand,” he said. “We’re always willing to help when it’s needed.”
For Fire Controlman 1st Class Justin Baudier, he said he could relate to the pain the flood victims are going through. As a native of New Orleans, he understands the struggles the victims are enduring.
“It can take a long time to recover from something like this,” he said. “That’s the main reason I decided to volunteer today.”
In addition to helping with supplies, a few Sailors decided to take volunteering a step further by donating blood during a blood drive. Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Joseph Johnson said although he had never donated blood before, he volunteered to do it because it was the right thing. “People need it,” he said. “It’s all about answering the call of duty in their time of need.”
Several workers at the center, including the assistant head nurse for the Red Cross, Wallapa Suksirimuch, said they were thankful for all the help the Sailors provided. “We appreciate all their hard work today,” she said. “Many blessings to them.”
Lassen Command Master Chief Jason Haka told the Sailors how he was proud of the hard work and long hours they provided during the event. “Herculean job,” he said. “Great work! Great work!”
Lassen is assigned to Destroyer Squadron Fifteen (DESRON 15) and is currently participating in disaster relief efforts in Thailand.