SUBIC BAY, Philippines (NNS) -- Sailors aboard amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) and embarked Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Subic Bay, Philippines, Oct. 5.
The port visit is an opportunity for Sailors to experience the Filipino culture and to offload Marines from the 31st MEU for the upcoming amphibious landing exercise (PHIBLEX), an annual bilateral exercise designed to improve interoperability, increase readiness and develop professional and personal relationships between United States and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
"PHIBLEX is important because it helps promote defense and country relations between the U.S. and the Philippines," said Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Gudgin, the future operations planner for Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11. "The two countries have a long history and this is one way to maintain friendship and country-to-country interactions."
The exercise is scheduled to last 10 days and will be conducted at sea and ashore in the Republic of the Philippines. The focus this year is on several humanitarian assistance and infrastructure projects along with tactical field training.
While in Subic Bay, Sailors will have the opportunity experience the local culture and to take part in various tours offered by Morale, Welfare and Recreation including shopping trips, golf, historical tours and safari, ocean and tree-top adventures.
"Foreign port tours are a good opportunity for the crew to not only to get off the ship and have a little bit of fun but also to see the culture of the country we're visiting," said Amy Jo Jenkins, the afloat recreation specialist aboard Bonhomme Richard. "It's a good opportunity for them to go and see what life there is like and what the culture is like."
Bonhomme Richard, commanded by Capt. Daniel Dusek, is the lead ship of the only forward-deployed amphibious ready group and is currently operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Responsibility.
For more news from Commander, Amphibious Squadron 11, visit www.navy.mil/local/cpr11/.