MANILA, July 22, 2016 — The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54), arrived in Manila on July 20 for a routine port call that highlights the strong historic, community, and military connections between the Philippines and the United States.
During the visit, service members from Curtis Wilbur will participate in a series of community relations projects and sporting events, while experiencing Filipino culture.
Although some Curtis Wilbur Sailors will be experiencing the Philippines for the first time, some Sailors, such as Senior Chief Gas Turbine System Technician Fitz Dasal, are looking forward to seeing the Philippines again because they are Filipino-American.
“I was born in Bacolod, Philippines, which is south of Manila,” said Dasal. “My wife and children are all U.S. citizens, but they currently live in Bacolod. I’m very excited and grateful to see them tomorrow. I’m thankful that the Navy granted me the opportunity to see my loved ones. The Philippines is a great country and I encourage everyone to get out and experience the culture to the fullest.”
The Philippines is a longstanding treaty ally of the United States and became a major non-NATO ally in 2003. With a partnership spanning more than 70 years, the American and Philippine militaries have worked closely in regional security, counterterrorism, and combating transnational crime.
“Wherever we go in the world, Navy Sailors represent the United States of America,” said Lt. j.g. Ben Sleister, Curtis Wilbur’s assistant damage control officer. “This port visit is an opportunity to experience another culture and act as ambassadors to the Philippines. The importance of our presence here, both at sea and in port, cannot be overstated.”
Curtis Wilbur is on patrol with Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.