Mass Communication Specialist3rd Class Cosmo Walrath, USS Bonhomme Richard Public Affairs
MANILA, Philippines–The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), with embarked 3d Marine Division Marines, arrived in Manila, Philippines, for a scheduled port visit, Mar. 4.
More than 2,500 Sailorsand Marines aboard Bonhomme Richard are visiting Manila to enhance the strong ties between the Philippines and the U.S., and to experience the Philippine culture.
“The Sailors and Marines aboard Bonhomme Richardhave worked hard over the past few weeks conducting exercises and underway operations,” said Capt. Larry McCullen, commanding officer of Bonhomme Richard. “Following exercise Cobra Gold, we’ve continued our shipboard training and patrol,and now we have the opportunity to experience liberty in Manila. I’m grateful for the chance to share the amazing culture of the Philippines with the crew during this port call.”
While in Manila, Sailors and Marines will have the opportunity to participate inMorale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) tours, and a community relations project where service members will get the chance to help those affected by the eruption ofthe Mayon Volcano in the province of Albay.
Mayon Volcano, whichinitially erupted inJanuary, continues to be active and has displacedan estimated 90,000 people. Service members will pack food and other supplies for distribution to those affected by the volcano.
“We chose this COMREL because it responds to a current natural disaster thatis affecting thousands of Filipinos,” said Lt. David Hammond, Bonhomme Richard’s assistant commandchaplain. “Although we’re unable to have personal interaction withthe evacuees, we know that our work will reach them. We're grateful for the invitation to playa small role in pitching in to help provide for others during a time ofneed.”
Bonhomme Richard’s port visit comes after the ship’s participation in the multinational exercise Cobra Gold in the Kingdom of Thailand.
As the 37th iteration of the exercise, Cobra Gold focused on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Among participating nations were Indonesia, Japan, the Kingdom of Thailand, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and the United States.
Bonhomme Richard, part of Amphibious Squadron 11, is operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region as part of a regularly scheduled patrol and provides a rapid-response capability in the event of a regional contingency or natural disaster.
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