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Cake day: November 21st, 2023

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  • The Philippine navy inherited the former U.S. tank-landing ship USS Harnett County in 1976, and ran it deliberately aground at Second Thomas Shoal in 1999. The Sierra Madre is now effectively a shipwreck, but the Philippine military has not decommissioned it. This makes the ship an extension of the government and means any attack on the ship is tantamount to an assault against the Philippines. Manila deploys civilian boats with a fresh batch of marines and 10 tons of food for resupply. In a bid to draw global attention to what Philippine officials have called China’s bullying tactics, they have invited more than a dozen journalists, TV cameramen and photographers to come along on the 30-hour-plus journey from the Philippine mainland.