MANILA, Philippines - The guided missile-destroyer USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) arrived in Manila for a port visit Jan. 29.
While visiting the Philippines' capital city, Wayne E. Meyer plans to host ship tours and conduct a community service project at the village of Batasan Pambansa Hills in Quezon City, a part of metro Manila.
“The United States has a close and long standing relationship with the people and government of the Republic of the Philippines,” said Lt. Cmdr. Peter Hoegel, executive officer of Wayne E. Meyer. “They are one of our most important allies in the Pacific.”
The stop in Manila is the last overseas port visit scheduled for Wayne E. Meyer’s maiden deployment, and leadership aboard sees the visit as an opportunity for engagement as well as a chance for the crew to experience different cultures.
“I see this port visit as an excellent opportunity for engagement,” said Hoegel. “This visit is a hard-earned break for the crew and we are all looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the hospitality of our host nation.”
To aid in the relaxation part of the visit the ship’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) program is offering Sailors a variety of local tours and activities.
“I’m really looking forward to visiting Manila and sightseeing,” said Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 3rd Class Alicia Harry. “I usually do the MWR tours when they are offered. It’s a great opportunity to get out and see what a city has to offer. Manila has a lot of historically interesting places and I’m really excited to get around to see them.”
For a few Sailors stationed aboard Wayne E. Meyer, stopping in Manila means a return home or to family members living there. For Cmdr. Leopoldo Albea Jr., commanding officer of Wayne E. Meyer, stopping in Manila means returning to the country his father, retired Master Chief Mess Management Specialist Leopoldo Albea Sr. left decades ago to join the U.S. Navy. Albea Sr. returned to the Philippines after retiring with more than 28 years of service in the U.S. Navy.
“For me, stopping in the Philippines is like coming full circle,” said Albea. “It was with a deep sense of pride that my father left this country to start a career in the United States Navy, and today I also feel that deep sense of pride as Filipino-American returning in command of USS Wayne E. Meyer.”
In late August, Wayne E. Meyer, and other ships from the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (JCSCSG) were scheduled to visit Manila but cancelled the visit due to weather conditions posed by Typhoon Mina.
“We didn’t get to pull into Manila the last time around and unfortunately this time my father will not be able to join me, but I know he is still proud of my accomplishments,” said Albea. “My father left the Philippines with the goal of joining the Navy, starting a family and building a home. Now I get to return while serving in the same Navy he left to join.”
USS Wayne E. Meyer departed its homeport of San Diego on July 29, and is currently assigned to the JCSCSG. Wayne E. Meyer is deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations conducting maritime security operations and cooperative engagements with regional partners.