LAEM CHABANG, Thailand -- The expeditionary fast transport ship USNS Fall River (T-EPF-4) completed a 28-day voyage repair availability in Laem Chabang, Thailand, Feb. 13.
The visit provided an opportunity for Fall River to complete critical maintenance, allowing the ship to continue theater security cooperation efforts in enhancing relationships with partner nations throughout the region.
"The ability to conduct voyage repairs in Laem Chabang represents the strong relationship we have with the nation and people of Thailand," said Capt. Lex Walker, commodore of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7. "By conducting maintenance away from the ship's homeport, the U.S. Navy is afforded greater operational flexibility to remain forward deployed and provide naval presence in cooperation with our regional partners."
As Thailand's largest port, Laem Chabang is capable of accommodating nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and submarines.
The U.S. Navy continues to work closely with the Royal Thai Navy through annual bilateral and multilateral exercises including the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise series conducted since 1995. Other exercises include the multilateral Southeast Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) exercise involving more than a dozen partner nations.
"The U.S. Navy values the close partnership with the Royal Thai Navy, and we look forward to even greater and more sophisticated exercises this year," said Walker.
Most recently, the 37th iteration of the annual multilateral Cobra Gold exercise kicked off Feb. 13 in Thailand. The 10-day exercise has grown into the one of the region's largest multinational exercise focused on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness.
"It is incredible to experience the unwavering commitment of regional navies to cooperatively work together towards the unified goal of security, stability and prosperity," said Walker.
Fall River is one of three expeditionary fast transport ships in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to continue its mission of providing rapid intra-theater transport of troops and military equipment.
As U.S. 7th Fleet's executive agent for theater security cooperation in South and Southeast Asia, Commander, Task Force 73 and DESRON 7 conduct advanced planning, organize resources and directly support the execution of maritime exercises and engagements, such as Pacific Partnership, the bilateral CARAT series, the Naval Engagement Activity (NEA) with Vietnam and multilateral SEACAT. Task Force 73 and DESRON 7 also tactically control and coordinate maintenance for rotationally deployed littoral combat ships.