By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Byron C. Linder, USS Carl Vinson Public Affairs
USS CARL VINSON, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 welcomed aboard the president of the Republic of Philippines May 14.
Benigno Aquino III, the president of the Republic of Philippines, arrived on board Carl Vinson as the ship was transiting to Manila Bay, Philippines, for a scheduled port visit.
Aquino greeted Carl Vinson Sailors as he toured the bridge, flight deck control and pri-fly areas. More than 100 Filipino Sailors gathered in Carl Vinson's Hangar Bay 2 to meet Aquino and take a group photo with the president.
"It is very exciting to visit the Carl Vinson," said Aquino. "We are very proud, and because of what you do here, we have peace and stability to make progress in our country."
Following Aquino's remarks, the Sailors surrounded him to shake his hand and take personal photos.
Senior Chief Personnel Specialist (SW/AW) Raymond Gloria, born in the Philippines, explained the importance of Aquino's visit to the ship.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet the president. His family is well-known, and they have made a lot of changes," said Gloria. "Most of the people out here have left their homeland for one reason or another. Being recognized by the president of their homeland of birth or nationality, they know they're welcome."
Logistics Specialist 3rd Class Jourdan Borcena, from San Diego, will be making his second trip to the Philippines, where he plans to meet his parents.
"I didn't expect the president. I thought there would just be some military personnel, and I was pretty surprised. It brings a lot of morale since there's such a large number of Filipinos on board," said Borcena.
"It's an honor to have the president visit our Sailors. My father was in the Navy, and he took me as a young boy to visit the Philippines. It's great to come back," said Capt. Bruce Lindsey, Carl Vinson's commanding officer. "The strength of the ship are the Sailors, and whether Philippine or U.S., Sailors are one and the same."
Carrier Strike Group 1, consisting of Carl Vinson, guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill (CG 52) and Destroyer Squadron 1's guided-missile destroyer USS Gridley (DDG 104) and guided-missile cruiser USS Shiloh (CG 67), are transiting to Manila Bay, Philippines, as part of a western Pacific deployment.