Armed Forces of the Philippines airmen learned convoy operations from U.S. Marines in a class on Antonio Bautista Air Base, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Republic of the Philippines April 16, 2012.
This course is just one of the many bilateral training opportunities that the both nations’ service members will take part in here during Exercise Balikatan 2012, which officially began April 16, 2012.
The class educated the Philippine airmen on convoy operations and techniques, and was taught by U.S. Marine Capt. Max Foti and U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Jorge A. Gonzalezmancha from Motor Transport Company (Motor-T Company), Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Wing Support Group 17, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
The Philippine airmen increased their knowledge of convoy operations which could prove to be useful in future endeavors.
“I learned a lot, like maintaining good distance and checkpoints,” said Airmen 1st Class Israel N. Navor, a vehicle operator and mechanic with 5715th Motor Vehicle Squadron (MVS), Philippine Air Force (PAF). “This helps me as a driver.”
The class covered many topics that train the airmen how to effectively and safely carry-out a convoy, especially in a dangerous area, said Capt. Max Foti, the Motor-T Company commander for MWSS-172.
“I learned about good distances between vehicles, checkpoints, the importance of communication and how to position gunners,” said Sgt. Robert A. De Silva, an armorer with 5714th Supply Squadron, PAF.
Halfway through the class, Foti and Gonzalezmancha directed the airmen to come up with a mock route and use the knowledge they had gained so far. Gonzalezmancha is the truck master with Motor-T Co.
“We realized they didn’t have advanced knowledge in convoy operations, but they definitely proved to retain most everything we taught them,” said Foti. “They did a great job making a route and designating positions for the convoy.”
Even with a language barrier, the Marines and Philippine airmen were able to comprehend one another and even spent part of the class laughing with each other.
“[The] convoy seminar is very important, especially [since] we are involved with vehicles,” said AFP Staff Sgt. Simeon B. Bañares, a vehicle operator and mechanic with 5715th MVS, PAF. “I liked the explanation from Capt. Foti. It was very clear. I learned a lot, especially the techniques on how to communicate and proper distance.”
BK12, in its 28th iteration, is a bilateral, joint exercise conducted annually between the Republic of the Philippines and U.S. military members.