By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

PORT CALL. USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) sets anchors in Manila on Friday (Jan. 5, 2024). USS Carl Vinson is in the Philippines for a port visit, supporting operational readiness and regional partnerships. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Micheal Mensah)

MANILA – A United States carrier strike group led by USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) has arrived in the Philippines for a scheduled port call on Friday following a two-day maritime cooperative activity with the country in the South China Sea.

The Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 is currently deployed to US 7th Fleet area of operations in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

“It is a pleasure for the Carrier Strike Group to visit the Republic of Philippines. The US and the Philippines are steadfast friends, partners in prosperity, and ironclad allies,” said Rear Adm. Carlos Sardiello, commander of CSG-1.

“Our two countries share democratic values, close cultural ties and our alliance has stood strong for over 72 years. As our oldest treaty ally in East Asia, the Philippines has shown their unwavering commitment in helping secure a free, open, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” he added.

Together with the USS Carl Vinson were embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 2, Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59) and Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers USS Kidd (DDG 100) and USS Sterett (DDG 104).

The US Department of Defense said this visit marks an additional demonstration of the US-Philippines alliance and Washington DC’s broader commitment to the region.

During their stay in Manila, sailors from CSG-1 will participate in cultural exchanges and community relations events, among others.

“By understanding and appreciating other cultural backgrounds, we can build stronger relationships, collaborate effectively and find common ground,” said Capt. Matthew Thomas, commanding officer, USS Carl Vinson.

“All of these are critical when it comes to supporting our allies and partners in the region,” he added.

Preceding their arrival, CSG-1 also conducted trilateral maritime exercises with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and Republic of Korea Navy.

Since entering the US 7th Fleet area of operations, the CSG-1 had already participated in the Multi-Large Deck Event and Annual Exercise 2023 in the Philippine Sea to further strengthen regional cooperative efforts.

CSG-1 is a multiplatform team of ships and aircraft capable of carrying out a wide variety of missions around the globe from combat missions to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief response.

Its flagship USS Carl Vinson was the very same ship that carried the body of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to its burial at sea in 2011. (PNA)