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NEWS | Feb. 9, 2024

Philippines, US partner in Maritime Cooperative Activity in South China Sea

By Lt.j.g. Rebecca Moore, Commander, Destroyer Squadron 7 Public Affairs

The U.S. Navy and the Philippine Navy (PN) conducted the third iteration of the Maritime Cooperative Activity (MCA) in the South China Sea, reaffirming both nations’ commitment to bolstering regional security and stability, Feb. 9.

Participating ships included Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), embarked with a MH-60S Sea Hawk from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23 from the U.S.; and the Philippine Navy’s BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PS-15) and AW109 Helicopter (NH434).

The MCA displays the enduring partnership between the two militaries and advances combined capabilities in the evolving maritime domain through routine goodwill activities at sea.

During the activity, the allied forces sailed together and participated in advanced planning and maritime communication operations to enhance interoperability.

“We welcome any opportunity to conduct maritime activities with our allies. Sailing and operating together demonstrates our commitment to improving our interoperability and continued coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” said Capt. Sean Lewis, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 commodore.

The U.S. Navy regularly conducts events to strengthen ties among allied and partner nations. MCA enhances combined readiness and capabilities in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

Gabrielle Giffords is on a rotational deployment to the Indo-Pacific, conducting operations, exercises and port visits throughout the region and working hull-to-hull with allied and partner navies to provide maritime security and stability, key pillars of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

DESRON 7 serves as the primary tactical and operational commander of littoral combat ships rotationally deployed to Singapore, Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7’s Sea Combat Commander and builds partnerships through training exercises and military-to-military engagements.

U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.