Thursday, August 13, 2009

US aircraft carrier Washington arrives

Manila Bulletin, Wednesday, August 12,2009, page 1


The US aircraft carrier USS
George Washington, with 6,000 crew
members on board, arrived in the
country yesterday for a four·day
goodwill visit which will focus mainly
on humanitarian activities to further
boost the strong community and military
connections between the United
States and the Philippines.
Rear Admiral Kevin Donegan,
commander of Task Force 70 of the
US Navy and head of the delegation,
assured that the carrier's visit to the
country is "nothing political."
Interviewed by reporters following
his call to Philippine Navy Flag
Officer-in-Command Rear Admiral
Ferdinand Golez, Donegan said about
25 percent of USS George Washington's
crew either have relatives or
friends in the Philippines and are very
excited to be in the country.
The aircraft carrier arrived at 8
a.m. yesterday and was met near
Corregidor by a Philippine Navy ship,
which guided the warship to its docking
area in the Manila Bay.
"Our visit is not connected to what
is happening in the world stage. In
2008, we had 130 port calls to the Philippines,
but it is only now in recent
years that an aircraft carrier came,
but we hope to make it an ordinary
event," Donegan said when asked on
whether the visit is connected with
recent developments in the contested
Spratly Islands in the South China
Sea and the political developments
in the country.
During the visit, sailors of the USS
George Washington will participate
in a number of events in Metro Manila.
Led by Capt. David Lausman,
the ship's commander, the carrier's
crew will hold several community·
service projects today as a show of
goodwill and partnership from the
U.S. Navy. They will hold a Facilities
Improvement Project at the Veterans
Memorial Medical Center Quezon
City; lead the "Read Along with Eco-
Defenders" program at the Herme·
negildo Atienza Elementary School in
Baseco, Tondo, Manila; and construct
a New Library at the Nangka High
School in Camacho Road, Barangay
Nangka, Marikina City.

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