BRP Bonifacio gets warm welcome from US in RIMPAC

The frigate BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17), one of the two Filipino warships participating in this year’s “Rim of the Pacific” (RIMPAC) exercise in Hawaii, got a warm reception from their US Navy counterparts during the start of the Force Integration Phase (FIP), Philippine Navy (PN) spokesperson Cmdr. Jonathan Zata said Tuesday.

RIMPAC’s FIP started on July 11 and will end on July 19. Around 50 warships are now taking part in the exercise.

The ships and their crew joined in serialized trainings which include visit, board, search and seizure, gunnery exercise, replenishment-at-sea, combined anti-submarine and anti-air warfare drills.

The Philippine naval contingent for RIMPAC’s FIP consist of the frigate BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF-17) and strategic sealift vessel BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) and an AW-109 naval helicopter with around 700 sailors and marines.

During the replenishment-at-sea exercise, Zata said the BRP Andres Bonifacio was paired with the USNS Brashear (T-AKE-7) which surprised the Filipino ship and crew with the message, “We love Philippines, Good to See You Kababayan” which was attached to the American vessel’s port side.

Also, the captain of the USNS Brashear took time to greet the officers and crew of BRP Andres Bonifacio while the latter were conducting a maneuver. “Magandang hapon, Kapitan Jerry Garrido at mga crew ng BRP Andres Bonifacio,” Zata quoted Garrido as saying.

Also, the crew of the American ship took time to wave and greet their Filipino counterparts.

RIMPAC is the world’s largest joint and combined naval exercise and slated from June 27 to August 2.

“Participating nations will demonstrate the inherent capabilities of their respective naval forces through a wide range of realistic exercises that include human assistance and disaster response, maritime security operations, sea maneuvers and complex warfighting. The exercise not only aims to harness each nation’s naval capabilities but also to bolster cooperation among participating nations to secure the maritime commons against threats,” the PN spokesperson earlier said. PNA