George Washington Sailors Build Relations in Philippines

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Brian H. Abel

QUAZON CITY, Philippines (Oct. 25, 2012) – Sailors assigned to the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) strengthen relations during a community service project (COMSERV) at the Kalayaan Health Clinic in Quazon City, Philippines.

            George Washington Sailors and the Republic of Philippines navy delivered hygiene items, painting walls and teaching children the importance of washing their hands during the COMSERV.

            “We held a working party to bring all the donations into the clinic,” said Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuel) 1st Class Paul Hryhorenko, from Rochester, N.Y. “We introduced ourselves and then looked at what work needed to be done.”

            The children and the medical professionals of the clinic showed genuine happiness with the help and support provided by the volunteers.

            “We met with the clinics personnel, they introduced us to children attending class,” said Hryhorenko. “We taught children how to wash their hands to prevent illness.”

            “The medical workers were very friendly, said Aviation Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Jennifer Piatek, assigned to the “Liberty Bells” of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 115. “They were patting us on the back and grabbing us for photos together.”

            George Washington Sailors had a unique opportunity to interact with the Philippine navy during the COMSERV.

            “The Philippine Sailors were very respectful and professional, said Hryhorenko. “They had a great respect for us and they looked forward to playing basketball with us.”

            The care providers from the clinic showed interest of Sailors returning in the future and the time spent with Philippine nationals gave Sailors an opportunity to leave a lasting impression.

            “This was the reason I do COMSERVs. We had such a wonderful experience, this was one of the best I’ve ever participated in,” said Hryhorenko. “COMSERVs give Sailors a real chance to be good ambassadors to other countries.”

            George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region.

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