MANILA, Philippines – The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), departed Manila following a routine port visit, Nov. 1.
During the visit, Ronald Reagan welcomed Filipino officials and guests onboard for tours, while the crew experienced local culture through command-sponsored tours and community relations (COMREL) projects. The ship’s command religious ministries department and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) team provided numerous opportunities for Sailors to learn about the country from a more personal angle, with seven tours and four COMRELS.
One COMREL event included a visit to the Helping Hands Orphanage, where Sailors spent time with the children there, partaking in various activities such as reading and dancing.
“It was an experience I will never forget and it was very rewarding,” said Air Traffic Controller 2nd Class Jamero Jo. “As an independent facility, it’s amazing that the orphanage is able to support those children. For us to be able to support this organization reminded me why I joined the Navy, to find a purpose bigger than myself and to support those who need it.”
Dozens of Sailors also participated in an MWR tour to the Puning Hot Spring Resort, where they bathed in hot springs, received sand baths and mud body masks.
“This was a good break away from the ship. The hot springs definitely left me feeling prepped and ready to continue this patrol,” said Chief Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Nicholas Henry.
From self-care to caring for others, the port visit created various opportunities for the Sailors of Ronald Reagan to explore a new culture and gain new perspectives in the area of responsibility they are assigned to.
“These events show our allying countries that the Navy cares as much about their people, their country and their cultures as much as we do our mission,” said Lt. Aaron Rousseau, Navy chaplain.
Ronald Reagan departed Yokosuka, Japan for a regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment Sept. 29. 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.