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Service Members Promoted at Leyte Gulf Historical Landmark

10 July 2014

From MC2 Karolina A. Oseguera

Five Sailors and one Airman were frocked at the MacArthur Landing Memorial Park in Tacloban, July 10.

TACLOBAN, Philippines - Five Sailors and one Airman were frocked at the MacArthur Landing Memorial Park in Tacloban, July 10.

"This is a major step in leadership," said Capt. Brian Shipman, commander of Pacific Partnership 2014. "Being able to do this at the very place where Gen. MacArthur came ashore to fulfill his promise of leadership is very hard to put into words."

The frocking ceremony took place in the morning in front of the lagoon of the standing liberators. The monument signifies the spot where the American liberation forces of Gen. Douglas MacArthur landed and recaptured the Philippine Archipelago during the Battle of Leyte Gulf.

"It is an amazing feeling to be standing in the very place where this battle happened," said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Wetzel. "We are here on a Japanese ship working alongside the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF) and the Royal Australian Navy in Pacific Partnership. This just goes to show how far we have come."

One of the frockees, Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Nicholas Beck said he feels honored to be able to be frocked at such a great historical landmark as MacArthur Park. After the ceremony was finished, each of the frockees were congratulated and the attendees stayed behind to take photos in front of the monument with the JMSDF JS Kunisaki (LST 4003) in the background.

"These Sailors and the Airman are going to remember this for the rest of their lives," said Shipman. "They are going to tell their kids and grandkids that they got promoted in front of the memorial of one of our greatest military events in history."

Pacific Partnership is in its ninth iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Asia-Pacific region.

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