By Francis Wakefield
The Philippine Navy (PN) and the United States 7th Fleet (US7F) held the Staff to Staff Talks on Monday aboard the 7th Fleet flagship, USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) docked at Pier 15, South Harbor, Manila in further strengthening the ties between the two navies through military exchanges and dialogues.
Philippine Navy Vice Commander, Rear Admiral Rommel Jude G. Ong, co-chaired the activity opposite Rear Admiral Theodore LeClair, the Deputy Commander of the US7F.
The PN delegation, comprised of selected Headquarters Philippine Navy (HPN) staff, met with their US7F counterparts to discuss topics on maritime security challenges, maritime security environment, and respective navies’ offerings and requests on training and education programs, and the future of combined maritime cooperative activities.
“It has been a very fruitful undertaking. The interaction that went into coming up with doable activities for the two navies is a testament of the evolving relationship among key staff of the PN and US7F in proactively addressing mutual maritime interests,” Ong said.
“I am very much privileged to have been part of this milestone with the US7F. Our long standing relationship with the USN made it easier to agree on matters that we both value, sharing a common sense of commitment and passion to serve our respective countries,” the PN’s Staff for Plans, Captain Joe Anthony Orbe shared.
For his part, Vice Admiral Phillip Sawyer, Commander, US7F said, the two nations are long standing allies and the two navies have worked together for generations.
“The discussions between our teams today on USS Blue Ridge were great success, and I’m looking forward to cooperating together throughout the year,” he said.
The staff to staff talks concluded with both heads of the delegation signing the agreed minutes of the meeting paving the way for more proactive maritime cooperative activities.
The PN-US7F Staff to Staff Talks is a periodic engagement between staff from PN and US7F which serves as a forum to discuss future initiatives on broader strategic, organizational, managerial, personnel, training and operational issues of mutual interest or beneficial to both navies.