Blind and orphaned kids benefit from CARAT
By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist
Melinda Larson, Destroyer Squadron 1 Public Affairs
U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialists Melinda Larson and
John L. Beeman
Sailors and Coast Guardsmen gave away hugs and pieces of their hearts
during a series of community service (COMREL) projects June 22.
“It feels like home,” said Electronics Technician 1st Class Sarah Baker,
a mom of three, as she snugly held a boy in her arms at the Pattaya
Redemptorist School for the Blind. “I’m never going to forget this
little boy who won’t let go of me.”
Technician 2nd Class William Coffey of USCGC Sherman, holds a child from
the Pattaya Redemptorist Orphanage.
Baker, assigned to the U.S. Coast Guard cutter USCGC Sherman (WHEC 720),
and over 1,200 U.S. Sailors and Coast Guardsmen are spending the summer
in Southeast Asia on ships participating in exercise Cooperation Afloat
Readiness and Training (CARAT). Projects like this are an integral
part of the annual series of bilateral maritime training exercises
between the United States and six Southeast Asia nations designed to
build relationships and enhance the operational readiness of the
U.S. Navy Sailors and U.S.
Coast Guardsmen play with children from the Pattaya Redemptorist
Baker and 13 others from the CARAT ships spent a
morning at the school playing games, and holding small hands as they
walked around the courtyard with a dozen kids from the residential
school’s kindergarten class. The school serves 126 students age three
to 22, according to the school’s principal who said she welcomes the
j.g. Jamie DeCoster, of USS Hopper, shows her digital photos to children
from the Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Deaf during a community
service project at the Pattaya Redemptorist Orphanage.
“It’s good for the children to hear different voices. The children like
to move around so it’s also good motivation. The Navy and Coast Guard
are a great help and it’s a change for the children whose lives can
become monotonous here,” said Aurora Lee Sibuapun, a blind woman who’s
worked at the school since 1986.
Garcia, a Sailor aboard USS Tortuga, shares her music with a young girl
at the Pattaya Redemptorist School for the Blind.
Throughout the morning the volunteers entertained the kids with Play-Doh
and soccer balls. The “A-B-C” song and “Itsy Bitsy Spider” helped cross
“It’s hard when they can’t see. Playing is universal so we tried to
come up with new things. If you made them laugh it was a major win,”
said Lt. j.g. Jamie DeCoster, USS Hopper’s (DDG 70) strike officer.
Across town another group of CARAT Sailors and Coast Guardsmen assembled
50 Project Handclasp wheelchairs to be used by the Redemptorist
Handicapped Children’s School and an elderly care home.
Technician 1st Class Sarah Baker, from the U.S. Coast Guard ship USCGC
Sherman holds a young boy who responded to the sound of the camera.
Together the two groups of volunteers joined to visit the Pattaya
Redemptorist Orphanage where they delivered sports equipment for the
orphanage’s 200 kids. Some of the volunteers played soccer with older
kids while others chose to play with the toddlers.
“I loved having these little kids sitting in my lap,” said Electronics
Technician 3rd Class Danielle Montminy, a Sherman volunteer.
Technician Technical 2nd Class Van Neal, of USS Hopper, attaches a wheel
to a wheelchair he and other Sailors are assembling for a community
service project in Pattaya.
Over 800 children are under the care of Father Larry Patin who oversees
several of the Redemptorist social projects in Pattaya including
orphanages and schools for deaf, blind, abused and disabled youngsters.
He welcomes the help of volunteers and says the benefits are twofold.
“The Sailors show these kids some love and attention and that’s good for
the kids and the Sailors,” said Patin. “I see the good vibes from it.”
As the day came to an end Patin and his staff hosted the volunteers to a
barbecue that the children were also able to enjoy.
Ruenyen, an English teacher at Redemptorist Vocational School for the
Disabled, tries out a wheelchair.
“This is a special day for the kids, hot dogs, hamburgers and sodas are
not a part of their regular diet. It gives these kids a break from
their routine,” said Patin as he looked around the courtyard at the
welcome chaos of frolicking children.
The orphanage has volunteers from around the world and Patin said he
appreciates the dedication of the Sailors and Coast Guardsmen.
“This is a great group of men and women. It’s so neat to see them pitch
right in and to do something good for the under privileged,” said the
Michigan native who’s been in Thailand since 1965.
Jamie DeCoster, helps a blind girl navigate at the Pattaya Redemptorist
School for the Blind.
Sailors from the three other CARAT task group ships, USS Tortuga (LSD
46), USS Crommelin (FFG 37) and USS Salvor (ARS 52), also volunteered
their time during the COMREL projects.
The CARAT task group is led by Capt. Al Collins, Commander Destroyer
Squadron 1. Commodore Collins is embarked aboard Tortuga which operates
from Sasebo, Japan, as part of 7th Fleet’s Forward Deployed Naval
Forces. Collins’ staff is based in San Diego. Hopper, Crommelin and
Salvor are homeported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Sherman is homeported in
The CARAT series will continue through August with exercises in Brunei,
Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines. CARAT Singapore ended June
principal of Redemptorist Vocational School for the Disabled, inspects a
wheel chair assembled by Sailors participating in a community service
Mate 3rd Class Jason Woisin, of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light
37(left), and Personnel Specialist Seaman Richard Tizala, of USS
Tortuga, separate fittings for wheel chairs to be assembled by Sailors.
Sailors relive childhood through community service
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Ham, Destroyer
Squadron 1 Public Affairs
U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialists Lawrence Harnden and
David J. Ham.
Sailors and Coast Guardsmen took time out of their busy schedule
June 21 during Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2006 to
relive their childhood.
Al Collins, commander of Destroyer Squadron 1 and the CARAT exercise
series task group commander reassures a student awaiting dental care.
During a community service project at Nongjubtao School, Sailors from
USS Tortuga (LSD 46), USS Hopper (DDG 70), USS Crommelin (FFG 37), USS
Salvor (ARS 52) and Coast Guardsmen from U.S. Cost Guard cutter Sherman
(WHEC 720) came together to interact with the school children. Many of
the 40 volunteers said the children reminded them of their own childhood
by playing games like monkey in the middle, musical chairs, duck, duck,
goose and sports as basketball, volleyball and soccer.
But the fun did not stop there. When students and service members alike
were tuckered out, the focus changed to reading and art.
According to Commander Destroyer Squadron One Chaplain Lt. Alfred V.
Pena, the purpose of the community service project was to show American
military personnel like to have a little fun as well.
“These young people saw that military personnel are regular people like
anybody else.” Pena said.
Michael McNamara, a dental officer, inspects a problematic tooth of a
Thai student while Lt. Yotin of the Royal Thai Navy assists and
Faculty could see the children’s joy while spending time with the
service members. Nongjubtao School teacher Sumchi Itlilor said when the
children found out about the visit, they were overjoyed to have the
opportunity afforded to them to spend some quality time with American
Not only were the children and faculty happy with the day’s events, but
the volunteers were happy too. For some this particular community
service project was special and will be a lifetime memory. Seaman Sokdy
Siphongsay from Tortuga said the smiles on the children’s faces were
enough to know that this particular event was worthwhile.
“This creates a better character for oneself knowing you came out here
and helped them out. You can see it on their faces, it’s great!”
Pena stated that he is reminded by doing this particular community
project, that throughout the world, kids are kids.
“When we see how they are living, we become humble for what we have. I
believe we will leave here with a deeper sense of appreciation of who we
are as human beings,” he said.
Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Aaron Prenger of USS
Salvor gives a high-five to a Thai student who shot a goal past the
Sailor during a soccer game at Nongjbtao School.
Storekeeper 2nd Class Erica Ward of USS
Tortuga is chased by a student at Nongjubtao School during a game of
Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Versha L.
Barnett of USS Tortuga teaches the American classic dance the “Hoki
Poki” to Thai students at Nongjubtao School.
Capt. Charles L. Diaz, commanding officer
USCGC Sherman plays basketball with a Thai student during a community
service project at Nongjubtao School.
Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Amanda Gonzales
and Royal Thai Navy Lt. Jutatip explain a minor oral procedure to the
mother of a patient during a Medical and Dental Civic Action Project
(MEDCAP/DENCAP) site in the Bon Nongjubtao province of Thailand.
Raimon Land shows off new condominium
The Australian-Thai Chamber of Commerce (AustCham) meeting was a perfect
opportunity for Raimon Land to showcase the almost completed Northshore
building on Soi 5 in Pattaya to the Australian Ambassador to Thailand,
Bill Patterson and his wife.
Gerry Healey, the Project Director for Raimon Land said that he was
delighted with the way the building had come together in the 22 months
since Raimon Land first began on the project, and was also excited about
their next project, the Northpoint, in Naklua. He felt that the industry
was very strong in Pattaya, with the high end showing no signs of
The President of AustCham Gary Woolacott expressed some reservations in
some areas of industry with the Thai political turmoil, but still felt
that the overall position was strong, and his own company of
‘head-hunters’ was extremely busy with new companies looking for
experienced senior staff.
Others in the real estate market were also up-beat, with Charles Evans
from Evans Marketing (who sounds exactly like his TV advertisements on
Pattaya Mail TV) and his wife Natthakan Wetphitak (Pattaya Property
Finders) both saying that the boom would continue, despite recent
Another enjoying the Amari’s outside catering service that evening was
Ian Scrivener from the interestingly named zedZeroTwo company. Ian
believes he has the answers for the woeful IT and internet problems that
seem to be besetting everyone currently, and when I can get back on to
the ‘net I will look him up on www.zO2.com.au and see what he can do.
Overseeing the entry to the function was the AustCham executive director
Martin Kyle, as usual head and shoulders and half a torso above the
rest. However, he declined an interview, claiming that he was off duty
The numbers that night were increased by the condo owners from
Northshore who joined the party who were happy just to enjoy a social
outing, leaving the Aussies to network amongst themselves, something
that Australians do naturally.
The next AustCham Seaboard Sundowners will be publicized as usual in the
pages of the Pattaya Mail.
Australian Ambassador to Thailand H.E. Bill
Patterson (left) and his wife enjoy the sundowner in Pattaya.
Mr.Michael Goetz, Executive Assistan Manager
of Amari Orchid Resort & Tower with Mr.Ross Burbidge from A.S.C.Auto
Parts Co., Ltd.
Charles Evans, (left) Managing Director of
Evans Marketing Natthakan Wetphitak, Managing Director of Evans in
association with Evans Marketing Ltd. and John Botting, Managing
Director of Real Estate Thailand, enjoy a sundowner.
Paul Wilkinson, General Manager Eastern
Seaboard of Four Wind International Moving Limited., Natt Yudee, Office
Manager of Allied Pickfords and Mr.Ben Yong, Committee member of
Martin Kyle Executive Director of AustCham
Thailand and Dominik Stamm, General Manager of Amari Orchid Resort &
Neil M.Russell, Operations Director Bangkok
of Manpower. And Gary Woollacott, President of AustCham Thailand.
Samantha and Steve Johnson, Managing
Director of Water Technologies Co., Ltd. and James E. Crocker.
John Graham, General Manager – Pattaya of
Raimon Land, Gerry C. Healy, Project Director of Raimon Land, Terry
Schofield, Company Director of North Shore Real Estate (Thailand) Co.,
Ltd. and Silvio Reale, Vice President Building Systems of Siemens.
Peera Chaijith-Boriboon, Business
Development Manager of Boral, Mr.Roger W Yee of Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick
(Thailand) Ltd., Mr.Peter Stirling of Milan Crosse Partners Ltd. and Ben
Brendan Richards, AA Insurance, (left),
Malcolm Scorer, Director of AA Brokerage Co.,Ltd. (2nd right) and
Kamolthep ‘Prince’ Malhotra, (right) GM Pattaya Mail.
Mark Chilcott, and Paul Sinclair from Mobile
Advertising, Steve Thompson, Managing Director of T.M.S., and Michael
James Butler from TBS (Thailand Business Services).