By Roy Mabasa
The amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), with embarked 3d Marine Division Marines, today arrived in Manila for a scheduled port visit.
More than 2,500 sailors and marines aboard Bonhomme Richard are visiting Manila to enhance the strong ties between the Philippines and the United States and to experience the Philippine culture.
While in Manila, sailors and marines will have the opportunity to participate in Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) tours, and a community relations project where service members will get the chance to help those affected by the eruption of the Mayon Volcano in Albay province.
Mayon Volcano, which initially erupted in January, continues to be active and has displaced an estimated 90,000 people. Service members will pack food and other supplies for distribution to those affected by the volcano.
Bonhomme Richard’s port visit comes after the ship’s participation in the multinational exercise Cobra Gold in the Kingdom of Thailand.
As the 37th iteration of the exercise, Cobra Gold focused on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Among participating nations were Indonesia, Japan, the Kingdom of Thailand, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Singapore and the United States.
Bonhomme Richard,, part of Amphibious Squadron 11, is operating in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region as part of a regularly scheduled patrol and provides a rapid-response capability in the event of a regional contingency or natural disaster