MANILA, Philippines (NNS) -- The Republic of the Philippines vice president and the U.S. ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines were among the more than 700 military officials and distinguished guests to attend a reception in Manila, Philippines, Sept. 6 on board USS George Washington (CVN 73).
Republic of the Philippines Vice President Jejomar C. Binay and U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines Harry K. Thomas attended the reception, held during a four-day port visit to Manila.
The vice president spoke of the long standing relationship between the Philippines and the United States, characterizing service members from the two nations as "emissaries of peace in the region."
Quoting President John F. Kennedy, Binay praised the service of U.S. Sailors.
"'I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy.' I am sure that the Sailors aboard George Washington feel the same; and you should. You have done a lot of things as Sailors here in the Philippines," said Binay.
The vice president also thanked the crew for their contributions to the people of the Philippines through community relations projects.
This is George Washington's second visit to Manila in two years. The 2009 visit marked the first time an American aircraft carrier had visited Manila in 13 years.
"I am thrilled to welcome the George Washington back to the Philippines for a goodwill visit," said Thomas. "May you bring honor to your ship and your nation."
During the two-hour reception, guests mingled with the ship's crew members and learned about their lives at sea.
"This is my third time on an aircraft carrier," said Gerald Cruz, a junior officer from the Philippine navy. "But it's my first time being on an aircraft carrier in the Philippines. Everything was so well organized."
George Washington is the Navy's only permanently forward-deployed aircraft carrier and operates from Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan.
George Washington is currently underway on its 2010 summer patrol in the Western Pacific and is commanded by Capt. David A. Lausman.
George Washington is the flagship of the George Washington Carrier Strike Group (CSG), which is commanded by Rear Adm. Dan Cloyd. The GW CSG includes Carrier Air Wing 5, Destroyer Squadron 15 and the guided-missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Cowpens (CG 63).
For more news from USS George Washington (CVN 73), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn73/.