MANILA, Republic of the Philippines – Guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105), arrived in Manila, Republic of the Philippines, today, for the first time after being commissioned in March, 2010 in Seal Beach, Calif.
This scheduled three-day port call in Manila revisits a historical relationship the United States and the Republic of the Philippines have had since 1898.
“Dewey’s crew will always have a connection to the Philippines,” said Cmdr. Russell Evans, executive officer of USS Dewey. “Admiral of the Navy George Dewey led the U.S. Asiatic squadron into Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War and soundly defeated a superior force, suffering only one casualty. After that battle, Spain turned over its guardianship of the Philippines to the United States.”
The Battle of Manila Bay not only proved to be a significant factor in the freedom of an oppressed nation, it also served as a platform for the United States to showcase its muscle to the world.
“The battle was considered to be the birth place of our modern Navy,” said Command Master Chief (SW/SCW) Joe Grgetich. “It was a decisive victory that showed the world, once again, that we were a world power.”
It brings a whole new sense of pride and honor knowing that [Admiral of the Navy] Dewey is considered a hero because of bravery, excellent decision-making and strategic moves, he added.
U.S.-Philippines relations are maintained based upon established security cooperation activities, economic development and mutual democratic principles.
“The Philippines shares many values with the United States,” said Evans. “Both countries have common interests in the region including free trade, international commerce and counter-terrorism. Terrorism has the ability to cross international borders and only through a close relationship built on trust, can both countries coordinate their efforts and share information required to disrupt terrorists. Dewey’s primary mission in the Philippines is to engage and strengthen our relationship with a historical ally and strategic partner.”
Dewey’s crew is comprised of Sailors from around the globe, many of whom were born in regions throughout Southeast Asia.
“Roughly 10 percent of the crew has some Filipino heritage,” said Evans. “Many of them could not visit family for several years due to their operational schedule and the expense of travel. This port call is a great opportunity for them to reconnect with relatives who live in the area.”
“I’m very excited to come back home,” said Ship’s Serviceman 1st Class Stephen Gumabao, S-3 division’s leading petty officer and a Republic of the Philippines native. “There are feelings I can’t even begin to describe. It’s been four years since I’ve been home, and I’m really excited about visiting my cousins, aunts, uncles and childhood friends.”
This historic port visit gives Sailors like Gumabao, Filipino or otherwise, an opportunity to take a break from their daily routines and enjoy the some of the Asia-pacific culture.”
“It is important for the crew to get some well deserved time off,” said Evans. “It is also important for them to gain exposure to different cultures because the Navy’s great strengths in building partnerships come from the knowledge gained from this exposure and being able to put a human face on an issue.”
The port visit will provide Sailors a chance to tour the cities and marketplaces and interact with local and foreign nationals. USS Dewey is on a scheduled deployment to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility to conduct maritime security operations and enhance foreign alliances and partnerships.