By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Devon Dow USS George Washington (CVN 73) Public Affairs
ANGELES CITY, Philippines (NNS) -- USS George Washington's (CVN 73) GW Rugby Football Club helped raise more than $20,000 at the Seventh Fat Boy 10's Invitational, an annual charity event held at Clark Airbase on Challenger Field, Sept. 4.
The Fat Boy 10's Invitational is a weekend-long golf and rugby tournament held in Angeles City, Republic of the Philippines, aiming to raise money for local orphanages. This event also helps develop the sport of rugby in the Philippines.
The invitational was hosted by a participating team based out of Hong Kong, The Pot Bellied Pigs. The Pigs are a social rugby club and charitable organization committed to expanding rugby in Asia.
This year, 14 social rugby clubs from around southeast Asia competed. Children from local orphanages attended the event participating as ball boys and playing their own games during intermissions during the tournament. GW's Rugby Football Club finished top in their division and were presented with a team trophy at the charity dinner held later that evening.
"This has been a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget," said Electrician's Mate 3rd Class Chris Ford, one of GW rugby's team captains. "It's been a great opportunity to come out and support a great cause while playing the sport we love."
The GW Rugby Football Club is comprised of enlisted Sailors and officers who in their personal time, practice, train and when in port, participate in rugby tournaments. The club has played rugby matches in South Korea and Singapore during GW's summer patrol. To make it to the tournament on time, the rugby club was flown off GW a day before the ship arrived in Manila.
"I am very proud the GW had the opportunity to have itself aligned with such an organization and event," said Lt. Cmdr. Sean Ricks. "Doing events like these only helps GW and the Navy as we continue strengthening our partnerships in the pacific."
The president of the Pot Bellied Pigs, Anson Bailey, said he was impressed by the quality of play from the GW rugby club and that their presence in the tournament was a great addition.
"It's very exciting for us to have the boys from the GW here today. They are truly ambassadors who have represented their ship and their country well," he said. "It's the first time we had a U.S. club in the tournament and it is the first time we have had a Navy ship take part in it as well, it's a first for us in many ways and we could not be happier."
During the tournament, the mayor of Angeles City, Edgardo D. Pamintuan, visited to say a few words to the teams and to show his appreciation for the charitable work being done at the event. While there, members of the GW rugby club got the opportunity to meet him and presented him with one of the ship's challenge coins.
"It was an honor and a privilege to see Sailors from the USS George Washington out here at this event today supporting a great cause," he said. "The annual event is surely a great way to help our youth and provides them with opportunities to excel. I hope to see the George Washington club return to take part in this event."
Bailey said with the success of this year's tournament he would love to see the GW rugby club return to participate in the future.
"It would be great to have the team come back every year and get even more involved if possible," he said. "We welcome rugby players from all over the globe and hopefully we will be welcoming the GW gentlemen back for the Eighth Fat Boy 10's Invitational."
GW is currently underway conducting its 2010 summer patrol in the Western Pacific Ocean. The GW Carrier Strike Group includes Carrier Airwing 5, Destroyer Squadron 15, and the guided-missile cruisers USS Shiloh (CG 67) and USS Cowpens (CG 63).