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Puerto Princesa City Opens Arms for Sasebo-based Mine Countermeasures Ships

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070611-06
Release Date: 6/11/2007 2:34:00 PM

By Chief Electrician's Mate (SW) Noel B. Corneja, USS Patriot Public Affairs

PALAWAN, Republic of the Philippines (NNS) -- Two Sasebo-based, Avenger-class mine countermeasures ships received a warm welcomed from the local residents of Puerto Princesa City, Republic of the Philippines, when they visited on June 3-7.

USS Guardian (MCM 5) and USS Patriot (MCM 7) arrived in Puerto Princesa for rest, recreation and provisions after the transit from Singapore, which was full of seamanship, damage control, engineering and mine-warfare training and crew-served weapons familiarizations.

While in port, the Patriot crew also interacted with the local Philippine military forces and community. Two of the highlights were a basketball game against the local Coast Guard station and a visit to a local elementary school. Both helped increase the bonds of friendship between the Philippines and the United States.

“This was just a fantastic visit. In addition to the shopping and food, this is really just a beautiful part of the Philippines,” said Lt. Cmdr. Thomas E. Shultz, commanding officer of Patriot. “The eco-tours available here are one of a kind. The majority of the crew, including myself, really enjoyed the Puerto Princesa Underground River National Park. It’s a U.N. World Heritage Site, and after visiting this majestic area, I can understand why.”

Sailors enjoyed interacting with people they met in the local restaurants and shopping malls.

“Food is great, restaurants are everywhere, from sea foods to roasted pig, not to mention super fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Senior Chief Mineman (SW) Leo E. Butler, Patriot’s senior enlisted advisor. “Everything is cheap but it’s even cheaper if you know how to bargain with the merchants.”

Shultz and Butler made sure their Sailors were reminded of the importance of acting like ambassadors of goodwill in all foreign ports, something the local people appreciated.

“These groups of Sailors are quite different, more behaved and impressively well mannered, very professional young individuals,” said Athena U. Galdones, owner of Seaport Inn at Barangay Bagong Pag-asa.

“The camaraderie of the crew from both ships is impressive, being from two different commands, but still watching out for each other,” said Philippine Chief Coast Guard (Diver) Orly Galdones, a member of the Philippine Coast Guard providing ships' waterborne perimeter security.

Patriot and Guardian are approaching the conclusion of their spring patrol while visiting cities in the Pacific Rim.

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