Meet Fil-Am leading USS Lincoln upgrade project

5:51:00 AM
NEWPORT NEWS,  -- One of the United States Navy's largest aircraft carriers is getting a major systems overhaul under the watchful eye of a history-making Filipino-American captain.

It has been nine months since US Navy Captain Ronald Ravelo took command of USS Abraham Lincoln--a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier named after the former US President.

Commissioned in 1989, USS Lincoln will be remembered for its role in the largest peacetime evacuation in history. When Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991, Lincoln carried 45,000 active military personnel and their families from Zambales to Cebu.

Today, the USS Lincoln is undertaking a 4-year upgrade and overhaul process in Newport News, Virginia.

This massive undertaking is all under Ravelo's command.

"It's pretty daunting, the amount of work that goes into re-outfitting an aircraft carrier after 25 years of service. As you can imagine, it's quite challenging," he said.

Last March, on the second anniversary of its overhaul process, Ravelo addressed more than 2,500 member/ crew.

Ravelo is the first Filipino-American to take the helm of one of the largest US aircraft carriers in the world.

"We only got 10 of these capital ships in the United States Navy so I think just to be honored and had been selected to command it, that in itself is a point of pride," he said.

A son of a retired US Navy officer, Ravelo was born in Okinawa, Japan and raised in San Diego, California. He lived with his grandmother in Makati, Philippines while his father was stationed in Saigon.

"Family is very important, critical part of the Filipino culture and that was probably the one thing that I remembered most dearly about that time in the Philippines," he said.

Ravelo earned his engineering degree from the University of Southern California. He later on earned Master's degrees at the University of Redlands and at the Naval War College.

In 2006, Ravelo was selected to the Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program and completed his tour as executive officer of USS Ronald Reagan.

In 2013, he commanded USS Comstock before he got promoted to commanding officer of USS Lincoln in 2014.

"The Navy is probably one of those few organizations where any sailor, we all come in with the understanding that with a lot of hard work, dedication you can get as far as the sky is the limit," he said.

Capt. Ravelo is a recipient of several awards including the 2007 Commander, Naval Air Forces Navy and Marine Association Outstanding Leadership Award.

"Just remaining hungry, remain dedicated and working really hard that's really what it takes to get to my level and any level," he said.

Under Ravelo's command, the USS Abraham Lincoln is expected to be operationally and combat-ready by 2017.


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