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MANILA, Philippines (NNS) -- The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, USS Benfold (DDG 65), hosted members of the Philippine Navy (RPN) during a subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) and provided tours to U.S. Embassy personnel on Feb. 23 during a regularly scheduled port visit.

The SMEE highlights the continued close ties of the United States and Republic of Philippines' and strong working relationship between the two navies by sharing best practices used in both navies. Benfold's Chief Petty Officers Mess and 25 chiefs, senior chiefs, and master chiefs from the RPN shared information ranging from damage control to the ship's training program.

"Today helped strengthen the bond between the Philippine and United States Navy by sharing practices used by both teams. We had an outstanding discussion and I believe we had a great flow of helpful information, which will ultimately benefit both navies," said Command Master Chief Reynaldo Tiong. "I am very pleased with the Chief Petty Officers Mess through the manner which this important discussion was held."

The United States and the Republic of the Philippines enjoy a close relationship pre-dating World War II. Today, the two countries mutually support each other in combating global terrorism, conducting joint training exercises, disseminating information and intelligence, and preserving freedom and democracy.

"I am glad that our ship had the opportunity to share its ideas with the Philippine Navy. As allies with a strong tie, I feel that this exchange is crucial in forging a close relationship between us, the United States, and the Republic of the Philippines," said Cmdr. Kevin Brand, Benfold's commanding officer.

Benfold also provided comprehensive ship tours to the group and 20 U.S. Embassy personnel.

"Showing off our ship is something I am always proud to do. Being able to explain my job to other people and how it fits into the overall ship's picture, is what makes these tours exciting and rewarding," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Kyle Zimmerman. "Representing the United States Navy while the Philippine Navy and the American Embassy groups were onboard is a unique responsibility and privilege, but is an event Benfold is always ready for."

Benfold is concluding a six months deployment supporting operations in U.S. 5th Fleet, where the ship conducted maritime security operations and provided protection for maritime infrastructure.

Benfold was recently recognized as the 2009 Battle Efficiency Award winner for Destroyer Squadron 7 and is home ported in San Diego, Calif. The destroyer is underway in the 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility for routine operations. U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest of the forward-deployed U.S. Fleets, with approximately 50 ships, 120 aircraft, and 20,000 Sailors and Marines assigned at any given time.

For more news from Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, visit

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