Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, April 17, 2009

Amphibious Training Hits the Shores of Zambales

III Marine Expeditionary Force Public Affairs

The first stages of training for Balikatan 2009 took place on April 14, as Philippine and U.S. Marines hit the shores of San Miguel Beach in San Antonio, Zambales.

The bilateral field training exercise included 60 members of the 28th Marine Company, from Marine Battalion Landing Team 8, Philippine Marine Corps and elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit based out of Okinawa, Japan.

Marine Corps leaders from both countries watched the training unfold as several waves of amphibious assault vehicles emerged from the sea to shore. The AAVs debarked U.S. Navy vessels located several miles off the coast. Altogether, more than 200 troops consolidated ashore to seize and destroy simulated enemy terrorist buildings and capture several known role-playing terrorist leaders.

For Philippine Marine leadership, this was a beneficial event in light of the current international threat posed by terrorist organizations worldwide.

"The trend in today's military tactics is counter-terrorist action," said Philippine Marine Col. Ernesto Ravina, deputy brigade commander of the Philippine Marine Corps' Combat and Service Support Brigade. "For today and the next few weeks, both Philippine and U.S. Forces will have benefited from sharing their real-world experiences."

Those real-world experiences were put to the test here, as one platoon of Philippine Marines and two U.S. Marine platoons from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit began clearing buildings occupied by terrorist role players. Using smoke to screen their approach, both Filipino and U.S. forces kicked in door after door in search of terrorist leaders.

As the smoke cleared, a platoon sergeant sounded the "all-clear" and the regrouping process began. Any captured terrorists were immediately taken to an undisclosed location for questioning. For some U.S. Marines, this initial training event marks a promising experience for the rest of Balikatan '09.

"After working with our Philippine Marine counterparts today, I really look forward to the upcoming weeks' training," said Sgt. Daniel Brown, a platoon leader with the 31st MEU and an El Paso, Tx., native. "I think I have a lot to learn from them in the near future."

Balikatan '09 is in its 25th year of this series of training. This year's activities will focus on the humanitarian and disaster relief aspect and improve interoperability among both countries' forces. Story by Staff Sgt. Marc Ayalin

Private First Class Vilrey Allada, left, listens attentively to United States Marine Sgt. Daniel Brown, platoon sergeant and El Paso, Texas, native assigned to the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit regarding regrouping procedures and how to properly quarantine captured enemy combatants during a mechanized raid April 14, at San Miguel Beach in San Antonio, Zambales, Philippines. The event was part of first stages of training for Balikatan 2009. The bilateral field training exercise included 60 members of the 28th Marine Company from the 28th Marine Company, Marine Battalion Landing Team 8, Philippine Marine Corps and elements of the 31st MEU based out of Okinawa, Japan. Balikatan 2009 is a joint exercise that promotes unity and readiness between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States. The nations' governments are working bilaterally to ensure humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts are efficient and effective. Balikatan is a Tagalog word that means "shoulder-to-shoulder" and characterizes the philosophy and intent behind the activity.

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