Ronald Ravelo: First Fil-Am to take helm of US aircraft carrier
MANILA, Philippines – For the first time in the history of the United States Navy, a Filipino-American service member will take the helm of a carrier.
Captain Ronald Ravelo, a son of a retired US Navy chief from the Philippines, became the commander of the USS Abraham Lincoln on Thursday, August 7, the independent military news portal Stars and Stripes reported.
Although he expressed pride he will lead about 2,500 service members, Ravelo noted he does not "feel like I'm anymore special than any other officer."
Before he read his orders as the new commander of the Lincoln, Ravelo took a "selfie" photo to the delight of the audience that included young sailors who can relate with the social media craze.
The guest speaker, Rear Admiral Troy Shoemaker, pointed out that Ravelo's father, Ben, was proud of him.
Ben Ravelo, who was with the Philippine Navy, left the Philippines to serve in a country whose language he did not even know.
Ravelo replaced his brother-in-law, Captain Karl Thomas – another unprecedented change of command for the US Navy, according to the Stars and Stripes. The wife of Thomas, Jennifer, is the sister of Ravelo.
Shoemaker, according to the Stars and Stripes, joked, "With the two principals related by marriage, this is a first for me and probably our Navy, which makes today's ceremony even more special and allowed the families to plan a twofer, a change of command and a summer family reunion."
Thomas said of Ravelo: "I'm extremely proud of my relief. I know him pretty darn well."
Thomas will steer another carrier, the USS Carl Vinson, which is set to be deployed from San Diego within the month of August.
The Lincoln, which is undergoing maintenance at the Newport News Shipbuilding, is expected to set sail again in 2017.
"This crew will give you 110%. They are hungry to return the Abraham Lincoln to sea and to her mission," Thomas assured his successor.
The new commander said, "There is plenty of work still to be done." – Rappler.com
(Editor's Note: In a previous headline, we said Ravelo was the first Fil-Am named commander of a US Navy ship. He was the first Fil-Am named commander of an aircraft carrier. We regret the error and apologize for any confusion.)