- Three U.S. Navy ships will arrive in the Philippines March 22 for routine port calls that highlight the strong historic, community, and military relations between the United States and the Republic of the Philippines.
During their visit, the submarine USS Ohio (SSGN 726), the guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73), and the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40) will dock in Subic, Manila, and Cebu, respectively, for routine maintenance, replenishment of supplies, rest and recreation, and community assistance and outreach activities.
The 505-foot long Decatur was named after Commodore Stephen Decatur, a U.S. naval hero in the U.S.-British War of 1812. It is the fifth ship to bear the name. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer was commissioned in 1998 and carries a crew of more than 300 officers and enlisted Sailors.
Nearly 650 feet long, Frank Cable has a crew of 1,500 and serves as the U.S. 7th Fleet’s mobile repair and support platform. The submarine tender, which visited Subic in September last year, will dock in Cebu this week.
"Any chance we have to engage with our partners in the region is important," said Capt. Pete Hildreth, Frank Cable's commanding officer. "A good, productive relationship between our two countries contributes to regional stability."
For some Sailors, the visit is a homecoming. "I'm definitely going to see my family and maybe visit the mall or the beach; you can even go swimming with whale sharks," said Logistics Specialist Seaman Athena Ramona Espina, a Sailor assigned to the Frank Cable. She grew up in Cebu and visits her family there often. Even though she was born in California, Espina still considers Cebu to be her home.
Ohio is the lead ship of the Ohio-class submarines of the U.S. The 560-foot long submarine, which will dock in Subic, has a crew of 150 officers and enlisted Sailors. It is fourth United States vessel to bear the name of the seventeenth state of the union. The third Ohio (USS Ohio BB-12) was a battleship that was commissioned in 1904, and which sailed to Manila in 1905 where then U.S. Secretary of War William Howard Taft and his party boarded for a “Far Eastern inspection tour.”
"This visit to Subic Bay provides our crew the opportunity to represent the best that America has to offer to the community of Olongapo and the Republic of the Philippines," said Command Master Chief Neil Davenport, Ohio Gold's chief of the boat. "My crew is very excited about the opportunity to interact with the community during several scheduled community service projects in Zambales and at the Ninos Pag-Asa Orphanage. We are happy to be here, and look forward to enjoying some well deserved liberty."
"We are very excited to visit the Subic Bay area," added Capt. Rod Mills, commanding officer for the Ohio Gold crew. "Our visit is one of the many ways that our militaries work together to enhance regional security and to continue the long-standing relationship between the Philippines and the U.S."