The U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) and USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) arrived in Manila for a routine port visit while on patrol in U.S. 7th Fleet, Oct. 14.
This port visit is USS Ronald Reagan’s first visit to Manila and the Republic of the Philippines in three years.
“Every visit we make to the Philippines gives us a chance to celebrate our shared values and mutual security interests that form the foundation of our maritime partnership,” said Rear Adm. Michael Donnelly, commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5. “This visit helps us reinforce the close ties we have with the people and government and ensure we continue to face challenges together.”
During the port visit, Ronald Reagan will host ship tours while Sailors will have opportunities to explore Philippine culture, cuisine and history.
“Ronald Reagan’s visit to Manila further strengthens our nation’s partnership with the Philippines and our crew’s connection with the Filipino people,” said Capt. Daryle Cardone, commanding officer of Ronald Reagan. “While on liberty, Reagan Sailors will have the chance to serve the local community, do some sightseeing, visit local stores and restaurants, and to experience all that Manila offers. There is much for the crew to see and do, and we look forward to our visit.”
Ronald Reagan’s Command Religious Ministries Department (CRMD) organized two community relations (COMREL) events. Dozens of volunteers are scheduled to work with the Philippines’ Habitat for Humanity on a new community work site in Valenzuela City and Sailors will also be able to play games and engage with children at the Gentle Hands Orphanage.
“These projects provide a great opportunity to experience a more meaningful connection with the people of the Philippines, as well as leaving a lasting, positive impact on the community here,” said Cmdr. Glenn Orris, command chaplain. “All while supporting our strategic mission as representatives and ambassadors of the United States.”
The command’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) office prepared tours for Sailors that include views of the city, natural landmarks, and cultural exploration opportunities.
Some of the Sailors aboard Ronald Reagan are of Filipino descent, including those who were born and raised in the Philippines before immigrating to the U.S.
“It’s always good to return home to the Philippines,” said Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Nigel Pasague, originally from Butuan City before moving to Cleveland as a teenager. “I look forward to experiencing the land, the culture and especially the food. It gives me a sense of pride to return as a U.S. Navy Sailor. I want to set an example that if I can do it, anyone can do it.”
Ronald Reagan last visited Manila in 2019, prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The ship’s return to the Philippines is a vital aspect of its deployment as it strengthens the bond between the U.S. and the Philippines as maritime partners in the Indo-Pacific.
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 25 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability, and prevent conflict.