USS George Washington Participates in Inaugural Philippine Military Goodwill Games

USS George Washington Participates in Inaugural Philippine Military Goodwill Games

Sailors stationed aboard forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN) 73 participated in the Philippine military’s inaugural Goodwill games during its five-day port visit, Oct. 26.

Sailors were challenged by the Philippine military to play them in one of the Philippines’ favorite pastimes; basketball.

“We were looking forward to play in these goodwill games since we heard that [George Washington] was going to be in our country,” said Philippine Army Master Sgt. Edilberto Oliver Estenes. “It’s our pleasure to play with them, so that we can overcome the differences in our countries as we play together on the court.”

The Filipino team jumped out of the box quick with a demanding 15-point lead in the first quarter. As the U.S. team settled down and got over the jitterbugs from playing in unfamiliar surroundings, they clamped down on defense with back-to-back blocks by Logistics Specialist 1st Class Ozem Ford, from Grand Rapids, Mich., and Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 2nd Class LaQuan Hansley, from Currie, N.C. Despite George Washington Sailors’ best efforts, the Philippine Army shot their way to victory with a barrage of short-jumpers, winning the game 70 to 48.

“It felt good to get out here and play international ball against the Filipino army,” said Hansley. “This game brought us together, which shows how we can come together and play a sport that both countries have in common. I look forward to coming back next year to compete against them again.”

Whenever a United States Navy vessel pulls into a country, the ship tries to set up community service (COMSERV) projects to allow U.S. Sailors the opportunity to interact with members of their host nation.

“This is the first time that we have ever tried to facilitate an event like this,” said Philippine Army Lt. Col Rodrigo L. Osorio. “This may be the first time we played the goodwill games, but this will definitely not be the last time as we try to start a new tradition with visiting U.S. naval ships.”

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

Naval Today Staff,October 30, 2012; Image: US Navy