The USS Blue Ridge visited the Philippines sometime last year as part of a three-country goodwill tour (known as Project Kaibigan) to deliver – through a partnership with the Armed Forces of the Phils – donated goods such as clothes, toys, food & medical supplies, provide free health clinics for citizens in poor or remote communities; and conduct engineering projects to construct and improve schools and public buildings. Their first stop: GEN. SANTOS CITY.These are some of the pictures I took of that visit which I am sharing to the public for the first time.
Philippine Military personnel in formation to welcome the sailors of the USS Blue Ridge & US 7th Fleet staff including embarked Marines, as well as Seabees from the Naval Mobile Construction Batallion (NCMB)3 who are in town to complete construction on a new school bldg dedicated to Changco Elementary School in Barangay Bawing.
Blue Ridge Commanding Officer Capt. Jeff Bartkoski at the podium. Behind him are the members of the 22-member US 7th Fleet Band which plays & sings a diverse range of American music from pop to R&B, and country to rock-and-roll. This band operates from Yokosuka, Japan.
City Mayor Pedro Acharon, Jr. welcoming formally the USS Blue Ridge to his city.
The tents where guests and civilians including some navy personnel witnessed the welcome ceremonies. This is also the recreation area of the visiting Americans, containing billiards and other table games. Behind these are smaller tents allocated to US-branded fastfoods like McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Shakey’s & Dunkin’ Donuts. There was also a mini-spa for those needing a Pinoy massage or “hilot“.
The strong winds made it harder for these dancers from the Mindanao State University High School to control their “pasandalans” (native colorful rectangular flags) during their Welcome Muslim Dance but they managed to give it their best.
The Welcome Brigade from the City Mayor’s Office of Gensan.