MANILA, Philippines - The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), departed Manila following a routine port visit, Oct, 18.
While in port, Ronald Reagan welcomed dozens of Filipino officials and guests including the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson.
“As America’s only forward-deployed carrier strike group, we take pride in the associations we have throughout the region,” said Rear Adm. Buzz Donnelly, Commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5. “Port visits like this are key opportunities for us, not only to demonstrate America’s unquestionable resolve to our allies and partners in the region, but also for building those relationships that are founded in trust in our credible combat capabilities, as well as the shared values that we have between our peoples.”
Opportunities to participate in cultural events organized by the ship’s Command Religious Ministries Department and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) team also kept the crew busy. From visiting an orphanage and providing support to the local Habitat for Humanity, to exploring the city and experiencing Philippine culture first-hand, the Sailors made good use of their time in Manila.
“It was really important to me to visit the Gentle Hands Orphanage, because that is where I grew up,” said Airman Catherine Blick. “It is where I learned how to love. It is where I got to experience what a family looks like. I haven’t felt like I have been home in a really long time. If I only had one day of liberty, the orphanage is where I would go.”
For some of Ronald Reagan’s crew, the visit was an opportunity to see loved ones who reside in the Manila area.
“The last time I got to see my family was before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019,“ said Culinary Specialist 1st Class Patty Blas. “It was strange, because this is the first time that I saw them, and it was during deployment. I got to surprise them and we spent the entire last day of liberty together.”
Ronald Reagan’s visit to Manila is just one of many ways both nations demonstrate their partnership and dedication toward a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“Ronald Reagan’s visit to Manila is very important,” said Capt. Daryle Cardone, Ronald Reagan commanding officer. “Strategically and operationally it further strengthens our nation’s partnership with the Republic of the Philippines and personally, it deepens our crew’s connection with the Filipino people and their culture.”
Ronald Reagan departed Yokosuka, Japan for a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment Sept. 12. The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region. As the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.