Filipino Native Participates in ‘Marine Exercise Philippines’ Aboard USS Essex

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By MEGAN BROWN, US Navy Office of Community Outreach

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       MILLINGTON, Tennessee – A Malolos, Philippines, native is participating in Marine Exercise (MAREX) Philippines aboard USS Essex, a U.S. Navy Wasp class amphibious assault ship.
Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Abbygaille Panlaqui. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joe Rolfe)
Petty Officer 2nd Class Abbygaille Panlaqui joined the Navy to carry on a family tradition. Today, Panlaqui serves as a U.S. Navy culinary specialist.
       “My dad was in the Navy for 14 years,” said Panlaqui. “He always talked about it and after high school, I decided to join as well.”
       On January 27, 2022, the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps began training with the Armed Forces of the Philippines as part of MAREX 2022 to further the maritime security capabilities of the U.S. and the Philippines.
       Panlaqui is proud to participate.
       “As a Flipino-American sailor, participating in MAREX Philippines brings me pride,” said Panlaqui. “When I left the Philippines, I didn’t think that the next time I went back is participating in a maritime exercise here. Supporting our allied forces and their causes means a great deal to me.”
       “Marex shows the world that we are a formidable Navy and that we are ready to help allied forces at a moment’s notice,” said Panlaqui. “The cultural difference is bridged by the need to protect our countries.”
       According to Panlaqui, the values required to succeed in the military are similar to those found in the Philippines.
       “Filipinos have great work ethic and an even greater attitude,” said Panlaqui. “That is something that has stuck with me all these years.”
       Homeported in San Diego, California, USS Essex is the second ship in the Wasp-class of multipurpose amphibious assault ships and the fifth ship named for Essex County, Massachusetts. Essex was a 1000-ton ironclad river gunboat of the U.S. Army and later U.S. Navy during the American Civil War.
        According to Navy officials, amphibious assault ships are designed to deliver U.S. Marines and their equipment where they are needed to support a variety of missions ranging from amphibious assaults to humanitarian relief efforts. Designed to be versatile, the ship has the option of simultaneously using helicopters, Harrier jets, and Landing Craft Air Cushioned, as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations.
       There are many opportunities for sailors to earn recognition in their command, community and careers while serving in the Navy.
       “My favorite accomplishment would be being named Supply Department Junior Sailor of the Year and advancing to Petty Officer 2nd Class in the same month,” said Panlaqui. “It proves hard work pays off. I’m glad to be at a point where I can mentor my junior sailors to get to where I am today.”
       As a member of the U.S. Navy, Panlaqui, as well as other sailors, know they are a part of a service tradition providing unforgettable experiences through leadership development, world affairs and humanitarian assistance. Their efforts will have a lasting effect around the globe and for generations of sailors who will follow.
       “Being in the Navy means a lot to me because I am serving a purpose that is bigger than myself,” added Panlaqui. “Constantly being away from my family is hard but knowing that I do what I do to protect them brings peace of mind.”  (✓)
Featured image is USS Essex, credit to Wikipedia and photographer.

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