By Francis Wakefield
The Philippine Navy’s BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF17) and BRP Davao Del Sur (LD602) sailed out to sea to join more than 50 other participating warships and aircraft in the conduct of the At Sea Phase of the ongoing Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2018 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
In a statement, the Philippine Navy said Filipino sailors began the first day of the At Sea Phase with serialized training which included visit, board, search and seizure (VBSS); gunnery exercise (GUNNEX); replenishment at sea; and combined anti-submarine and anti-air warfare exercises.
It was during the Replenishment At Sea (RAS) serial with United States Navy Ship (USNS) Brashears that the caption “We Love Philippines, Good to See You Kababayan” was seen by crew from FF17 written in a white background attached to the port (left) side of the USNS.
“While we were conducting the RASAP, Brashear’s captain announced the following: “Magandang hapon Kapitan Jerry Garrido at mga crew ng BRP ANDRES BONIFACIO”,” Garrido said.
“The announcement was a surprise for us, and we noticed some crew waving hands while standing with their greetings written on paper,” narrated the FF17’s skipper.
Meanwhile, elements from the Philippine Marine Corps contingent proceeded to Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) and commenced the air assault operations and fire and maneuver exercises.
The Navy’s participation in the world’s largest international maritime exercise validates the various tactical procedures for combined maritime and marines operations of the two cutting edges of the Philippine Navy: the Philippine Fleet and the Philippine Marine Corps.
The exercise will be held until August 2, 2018, and marks the first time that the Philippine Navy sent a contingent to a naval exercise of such magnitude which allows Philippine sailors and marines to exchange best practices with and learn from the best navies in the world.