THE United States submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS40) has arrived in Puerto Princesa City in Palawan for a scheduled port visit, the US Embassy in Manila said in a statement on Saturday.
The arrival of the American submarine came amidst an ongoing territorial dispute between the Philippines and China over some islands in the West Philippine Sea being claimed in part or wholly by the Chinese government.
The US Embassy said that the port visit will allow Frank Cable sailors and Military Sealift
Command mariners to enjoy some rest and relaxation and provide an excellent opportunity for them to experience Philippine culture.
Frank Cable’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Drew St. John said these opportunities to enjoy liberty in a country with a close and historic relationship with the United States are important to the mission of the United States Navy and the USS Frank Cable, the statement added.
“This visit is special to my crew, including many who have close personal ties to the Philippines. Our sailors act as diplomats for the United States every day, and through their varied interactions with the local population they strengthen the bonds of friendship and cooperation between our two countries,” according St. John’s statement emailed by the US Embassy to reporters based at the Department of National Defense.
One way the sailors will interact with the local community is through various community service projects, sponsored by the ship’s religious ministries.
“Doing [community service projects]is one of my favorite parts of visiting foreign ports,” Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Caleb Bednarz, a native of Chesapeake, Virginia, said in the statement.
Many sailors will also be able to spend time with their families and friends who are residents of the Philippines.
“It has been truly a blessing going back to my homeland,” Machinery Repairman Fireman Carl Paguirigan, whose family lives about three hours away from Puerto Princesa, said.
“The last time I was here was December 2014 when I spent Christmas with my family. I plan on surprising my mother; she’s dying to know when I’ll be coming back. I cannot wait to taste my mother’s home cooking again,” Paguiringan said.
Frank Cable is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to conduct maintenance and support deployed US naval force submarines and surface vessels in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.