SUBIC BAY, Philippines (NNS) - Sailors assigned to the submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS 40), completed a week-long series of community service (COMSERV) projects, July 30.
Cable, in port for repairs, provided tended support to the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Santa Fe (SSN 763). Their duties kept them busy, but many Sailors also dedicated their spare time helping the local communities in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo City, and Subic City.
Command Chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Ronald Rinaldi, who organized many of the COMSERVs, said that these types of projects are seen as an integral part of Navy's mission while in foreign countries, especially in this part of the world.
"COMSERVs exist mostly these days as a part of larger strategy to build partnership and interaction with the people of the nations whose ports we visit," said Rinaldi.
The projects included performing repair work in schools, handing out clothes to local children, organizing a beach clean-up and tree planting effort, and finally, playing soccer with the children in the community.
Sailors also spent time at the International Children's Advocate Orphanage, home to 30 deaf and blind children, painting classrooms and spending time getting to know the children. Frank Cable's medical staff was on hand to conduct medical and dental exams. The children sang and danced to show appreciation and to celebrate all the hard work.
"It is not very often that we have this kind of opportunity," said Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Lea Devera. "I am fortunate enough that I get to serve my fellow Filipinos, while at the same time doing what I do as part of the Health Services Department."
Devera said that she enjoys the sense of fulfillment she gets from helping the community. Like other Frank Cable Sailors from the Philippines, Devera she just wanted to help make an impact in a unique way by acting as a translator, as well as a caregiver.
At Ilwas Elementary School, Frank Cable's medical staff again conducted medical and dental examinations. The medical staff taught the children about proper nutritional health and exercise, which is the current topic for National Nutrition Month in the Philippines.
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Rufino Vegamora, also a Filipino, spoke to the children at the elementary school and led them in group physical training.
"It was a perfect opportunity to focus on its importance, which is basically an everyday norm and culture in the Navy," said Vegamora. "Physical Fitness in the Philippines has suddenly become popular in the past three years, and I'm hoping I can contribute to preventing it from just becoming a trend."
During their stay, 182 Sailors performed over 1,000 hours of community service, while the medical and dental teams treated hundreds of patients. Rinaldi said he was proud of the Sailors and what they accomplished with their service.
"It was an overwhelming and special feeling to be among this elite group of Sailors," said Rinaldi. "Never once did I have a thing to worry about. They understood what needed to be done, and they did it; far exceeding expectations."
Cable performs maintenance and support of submarines and surface vessels deployed in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility.
For more news from USS Frank Cable (AS 40), visit www.navy.mil/local/as40/. For more news from Commander Submarine Group 7, visit www.navy.mil/local/csg7/.