5 US Warships are now in the Philippines

USS George Washington – Super Carrier

Along with the US USS George Washington the super carrier another 2 warships in Palawan and 2 escorts of the super carrier.

As of October 26, 2012 the following US Warships are now in the Philippines

  1. USS George Washington – Super Carrier
  2. USS McCampbell – Escort for the Super Carrier
  3. USS Cowpens – Escort for the Super Carrier
  4. USS John McCain
  5. USS Mustin

USS McCampbell (DDG-85) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy - Escort for USS George Washington

USS Cowpens  is a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser currently in service with the United States Navy - Escort for USS George Washington

USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) is an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer in the United States Navy- in Palawan Wescom

The USS Mustin (DDG-89) is an Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer in the United States Navy - in Palawan Wescom

Two U.S. Warships in Palawan

Two more US warships have docked in Palawan, the island province that has territorial jurisdiction over some of the Philippines-claimed islands in the disputed West Philippine Sea.

US authorities identified the ships as the USS John McCain and the USS Mustin.

An official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) -Western Command (Wescom) confirmed that the two US naval vessels arrived Monday two days ahead of the arrival of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington at the Manila Bay.

The USS George Washington, the US Navy's only forward-deployed carrier, is accompanied by guided missile destroyer USS McCampbell and USS Cowpens, a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser. Both McCampbell and Cowpens are now docked at pier 15 in the Manila South Harbor.

Asked about the presence of the two US ships in Palawan, Lt. Col. Neil Estrella, the Wescom spokesman, said that just like USS George Washington, USS McCain and USS Mustin are in the country also for a five-day regular port call.

"They are here for port calls. Foreign naval ships regularly visit us as part of fellowship and to enhance friendship between allied nations," said Estrella.

The docking of the US warships in Palawan came at the same time Chinese Navy vessels were spotted in the West Philippine Sea.

Estrella said USS McCain and USS Mustin, currently in Puerto Princesa City, are also part of the USS George Washington carrier strike group.

On Thursday, USS George Washington commanding officer Capt. Gregory Fenton said, "I would characterize this port visit as a routine port visit, as a breaker from our normal operations which we conduct."

Fenton said they are "very sensitive to the areas that are under dispute" such that they "do make a very conscious effort to stay away from those areas."

"I believe that we are firmly committed to helping support the nations that are involved in those disputes. But ideally, we'd like to see them sort out those disputes via diplomatic channels," he added.

He stressed, however, that their presence in the area would help safeguard freedom of navigation.

"One of the reasons we deploy throughout the region is so we can carry forth the banner of freedom of navigation. It is very important to us, given the trade that travels throughout the region on the seas," said Fenton.

The USS George Washington's visit to the country will allow the ship's crew to take a break from the arduous operational tempo that comes with forward-deployed life.

Its sailors will also have the opportunity to interact with the locals via several community service projects set up by the ship. Projects include interacting with school children, teaching basic first-aid at a local hospital facility, and general cleaning and landscaping.

"My Sailors willingly volunteer their time because they genuinely want to help their fellow man," said Fenton.

"This is a constant in each of our port visits and this fact is not lost on a lot of people; these men and women have a significant impact on the many lives they help. At the end of the day, we all walk away feeling like we've made a difference in someone's life, and that is truly the most rewarding feeling that anybody can have," he said.

The George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interests of the U.S. and its partners and allies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Manila Bulletin

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