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Off Phuket, one of the warships that accompanied USS Ronald Reagan

Two More US Warships Enjoy Phuket Pleasures

Sunday, October 4, 2009
TWO MORE US warships are now anchored off Phuket, with their crews helping to boost the economy of the island. They are the guided missile destroyers USS Hopper and USS Benfold.

''The sailors are being so well-received and it's just great for the island,'' Denny Bowman, Secretary of the newly formed Navy League of the United States, Southern Seaboard Council, Phuket, Thailand, said today.

Mr Bowman was the victim of an early-morning assault by katoey ladyboys in Patong just before the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its accompanying warships anchored off the island last month.

But that was as bad as it got. The liberty leave for thousands of US military personnel went well and Phuket was rated as the favorite leave destination by vast numbers of sailors.

Tonight about 20 officers and crew from the USS Hopper are being welcomed by the league at Ricky Zens Music Cafe in Kata.

Phuket residents are invited to attend for snacks and drinks for 400 baht. The gathering begins at 5pm.

Warships seem to be becoming a regular feature of the anchorage off Phuket's deep sea port or on the other side of the island, in Patong Bay.

The Australian supply vessel HMAS Sirius anchored for shore leave almost immediately after the Ronald Reagan departed. US forces in the Pacific have now been deployed to help with disaster relief in Indonesia, the Philippines, American Samoa and Guam and neighboring islands.

The commander of American troops in the Pacific region, Admiral Timothy Keating, says US Special Forces troops were on their way to Indonesia for a scheduled exercise when the earthquake shook the city of Padang, killing hundreds and leaving thousands trapped under rubble. They are now joining in relief work.

The USS Hopper has the distiction of being named after Rear Admiral ''Amazing Grace'' Hopper, a pioneering computer scientist and the first woman to reach that high rank in the US Navy.

IIn 2008, the Hopper was involved in an incident with five Iranian Revolutionary Guard gunboats in the Persian Gulf.

The US Navy says the Iranian boats made ''threatening'' moves toward the Hopper and other US vessels, coming as close as 180 metres. The US Navy received a radio transmission saying: ''I am coming to you. You will explode after a few minutes.''

As the US ships prepared to fire, the Iranians abruptly turned away, the US officials said.
Phuket Wins Rave Reviews as Reagan Sets Sail
Latest Phuket went to the top of the ''favorite ports'' list among US sailors on shore leave. Visiting sailors from world's largest warship mostly enjoying one large thrill on land, too.
Phuket Wins Rave Reviews as Reagan Sets Sail

US Warships Anchor! Phuket's All Set to Rumble
Extra Photos Added The USS Ronald Reagan anchors off Phuket with other US warships and a stream of sailors begin heading for the island. It's a bonus for tourism after a lean low season.
US Warships Anchor! Phuket's All Set to Rumble

US Warships Visit Brings Ladyboy Crime Invaders
Phuketwan Exclusive The visit by USS Ronald Reagan and other US warships to Phuket has triggered an invasion by ladyboys, bent on a crime wave. Here's what one of their first victims has to say.
US Warships Visit Brings Ladyboy Crime Invaders


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