The Philippine and U.S. Marine Corps kicked off bilateral Amphibious Landing Exercise 2014 with an opening ceremony at Naval Station Leovigildo Gantioqui, San Antonio, Zambales, Republic of the Philippines, Sept. 18.
PHIBLEX 14 is an annual, bilateral training exercise that enhances security and stability within the region while also helping to prepare for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.
“Our two countries have a long and shared history across the Asia-Pacific region,” said Brig. Gen. Paul J. Kennedy, commanding general of the 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade. “Every year we continue to reinforce this bond with exercises such as PHIBLEX, which are designed to strengthen interoperability, defense, disaster relief and counter-terrorism.”
The exercise contributes to the historically strong ties between the Republic of the Philippines and U.S. and is primarily focused on improving interoperability and readiness of both forces.
“PHIBLEX improves our operations and readiness,” said Rear Adm. Jaime S. Bernardino, vice commander of the Philippine Navy. “This exercise allows us to sustain our relationship as well as enhance our training, especially for [bilateral] operations. PHIBLEX will also greatly contribute to disaster response within the region.”
During the exercise, U.S. Marines, from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 3d MEB and III Marine Expeditionary Force, will partner with Philippine Marines. Together, they will conduct training including a staff planning exercise, field training exercises and humanitarian and civic assistance projects. Field training will include small boat operations, combined-arms training, combat life-saving techniques, jungle survival, marksmanship and combat service support.
“PHIBLEX allows us to maintain readiness for any crisis or contingency that may arise,” said Kennedy. This exercise covers the full range of military operations.
Humanitarian and civic assistance projects, including cooperative health engagement and engineering civic assistance projects, enable Philippine and U.S. forces to break cultural barriers, train together, and improve interoperability while providing services to areas with identified need. “Together, we will renovate schools and conduct community health engagements,” said Kennedy.
Everyone present at the exercise – from the newest privates to senior leaders – will be provided the opportunity to train in the spirit of cooperation and interoperability with their Filipino partners, added Kennedy.
Kennedy also emphasized how the relationships built during past Philippine-U.S. exercises will be enhanced during PHIBLEX.
“Many of the returning Marines and sailors will recognize familiar faces among the Armed Forces of the Philippines service members; which I believe is the most positive thing about this exercise,” said Kennedy. “I am confident that this exercise will provide both forces with the opportunity to build our partnership. As we train together over the weeks, we will continue to emphasize the importance of our continuing relationship and alliance.”