By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan Wampler
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln's Commanding Officer Capt. Ron Ravelo spoke during a ceremony held at the Philippine Cultural Center in Virginia Beach, June 12.
Ravelo, the first and only current Filipino-American commanding officer of a Navy aircraft carrier, gave remarks at a celebration commemorating the country's national holiday and to partake in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Ravelo, in attendance with his family, thanked the cultural center for the invitation to observe the traditions and pageantry presented at the ceremony, which included the presentation of a proclamation from the Virginia State Assembly and a parade of Philippine flags.
"Today's ceremony has allowed me to connect with my own Filipino heritage, as well as share this heritage with my wife and son," Ravelo said. "I look forward to returning to the cultural center and interacting with the Filipino community over the course of my two year assignment."
Festivities continued outside as the Cultural Center's color guard raised the United States and Philippine flags as national anthems were played.
Ravelo, members of the Philippine Cultural Center's council, two Virginia State Assembly delegates and Cmdr. Yvette Costales, an intelligence officer with U.S. Fleet Forces Command, then participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the back annex of the center.
Philippine Independence Day is an annual national holiday to commemorate the country's declaration of independence from Spain on June 12, 1898.
Typically, the holiday is observed with community festivals, government-sponsored activities, and educational activities for students.
Lincoln is currently undergoing a refueling and complex overhaul (RCOH) at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News.
Lincoln is the fifth ship of the Nimitz-class to undergo an RCOH, a major life-cycle milestone. Once RCOH is complete, Lincoln will be one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the fleet and will continue to be a vital part of the nation's defense.